Friday, May 26, 2017
Start: Neel Gap/US 19/Mountain Crossings hostel
End: Justus Creek
I went to bed pretty early last night since I was so tired. I was up by 6:30am and on trail by 7:30am. I focused on relaxing and taking my time today, taking plenty of breaks. I started out by climbing from the Gap (3125′) up to Blood Mountain (4457′), which is the highest point in Georgia. I’ve been told it was a good thing I was climbing it today, as it will be very busy the rest of this holiday weekend. From there, I descended to Lance Creek (2865′), passing by Gaddis Mountain (3402′) on the way. I then climbed Big Cedar Mountain (3737′) and Preaching Rock (3593′) and descended to Woody Gap (3198′). I passed by Ramrock Mountain (3222′), Gooch Gap (2824′), Gooch Mountain shelter (2789′), and then down to Justus Creek (2589′). I arrived around 3:30pm.
I debated where I should tent for quite a while, as I filtered my evening’s water. In the end, I decided to be a bad kid and not camp at one of the “designated campsites.” The campground area is 7 tent pads all right next to each other with maybe 6 feet between tents, the tent pads are on a hill and all slant, and with no privacy whatsoever. I had made the decision that I wanted peace and quiet for my night tonight, so I camped by the creek at one of the many, many spots people have used before me. It follows Leave No Trace in most regards – I might be a hair too close to the water but I’m not concerned. I’m going to try sleeping the night without my tent’s rainfly. It’s supposed to be a glorious night and I rarely get that opportunity. So we shall see how it goes. I was done with dinner and all packed in for bed by 6pm, so it’s going to be an early night.
I have 14.4 miles left for this hike and expect to be at Springer by 3pm. I’m excited about tomorrow in many ways – I’m ready to go home to New England; I’m ready to see my partner and friends again; and I’m ready to see Springer (and I rather expect it’ll be anti-climactic, rather like Clingmans Dome).