Day #4: Lightening the Load


Day #4: Lance Creek Campsite —> Neel Gap

7.4 miles Total= 31.7 miles

The Wanderer signing in from Walasiyi Inn in Neel Gap.

Whew! What a day. I crawled out of my tent around 7:30 this morning unable to lay any longer. I am stiff more than sore and have had a headache all day long. I’m not sleeping well in the campgrounds. Partly due to the noise of so many other hikers. Partly due to cramping.

I spent a while stretching before making morning coffee and downing my last two begals. Then, I set off for Blood Mountain. Ooohhhh. Blood Mountain. It was a good hike. Crowded at the top.

I reached my first “trail town.” Neel Gap isn’t much of a town. There is two hostels and an outfitter here. The place is famous for the amount of hikers that quit here. The dropout rate is something like 30% here. Pretty crazy.

Silent Bob of Mountain Crossing outfitters, gave my pack a shakedown. He had me empty EVERYTHING from my pack onto the floor and organize it into piles: sleep, cook, clothes. He then began picking my packlist to pieces.

The first items to go were stuff sacks. My sleeping bag and potset now go directly into the pack. My toiletry bag lost it’s soap. “Clean up in towns,” he said. “What about nora virus?!” “Stay out of shelters,” he said. “Well, ok then!” I didn’t carry soap on my bike tour either. Not sure why I was carrying it on my back…

In all, we shed about 2 pounds from my bag. I stripped it of it’s brain and sent home my journal and pen. I carry a small notebook in my back pocket. It will have to do. Silent Bob also made me send home my dish rag and my buff. My one bandana will serve for multiple purposes from towel, to dishrag, to washcloth, to sweat rag. Gross? I’ll get over it. My bag is noticeably lighter now.

Tonight, I’m camping behind the hostel. Their nice enough to allow me use of the hostels power and wifi. Thanks! I’m sitting outside at a picnic table now in the cool night air. It’s suppose to rain soon. My next stop is in two days. I’ll hitch a ride into Haiwassee for resupply.

Sitting around the Lance Creek Campsite uploading photos from my computer with MoonBoots, Canada, Bambi, and Shaggy. The two girls are filming for a documentary about women on the trail. for more information.
Moonboots laying in camp lost in a book.
Tents glowing in the dark. The red lights are SOO much better. They don’t stick out like the white lights do.
Cotton is hiking the trail with Tippy Toes. They’re taking their time slowing working their way to Maine.
The top of Blood Mountain and a curious dog. lots of dogs out on the trail.
Old Yeller taking in the view atop Blood Mountain.
The Blood Mountain shelter atop the mountain.
What is the difference between a hockey player and a female thru-hiker? After three periods, the hockey player takes a shower. You read all sorts of things in trail registers.
This guy is hiking down Blood Mountain backwards. I want to call him “Backwards” but someone else named him “Moonwalker.” Moonwalker is definetly the better name.
Traffic jam coming down the mountain.
Old Yeller has the coolest walking stick. “Take me to Maine” on the side. The AT symbol on the top.
My first trail town in sight!!!
Crossing the road to Mountain Crossing. I can not wait to mail some things home!!!


Hello kitty kat!
An old backpack inside Mountain Crossing.
Packs and boots line the walls an ceilings.
And shoes fill the trees. It’s said these are the boots of those who quit. More likely, it’s the litter of tourists.
Silent Bob shakes down my pack. Thanks man! Goodluck on your PCT thru-hike. And sorry about the blurry photo… needed food.
There he is in action! Gonna take me some time to figure out this new pack setup. Much less stuff though. Gonna be good.
Tonights camp behind the hostel. Certainly not a prime location but I’ve had worse. Much worse.
My first trail magic! Thanks to the lovely ladies and gentleman from the Antioch Southern Baptist Church for the wonderful meal! I ate three of four of these sandwiches even after my first and second dinner. First dinner was oatmeal. I was still hungry so I made tuna mac right after.
Mountain Crossings.

That’s all for tonight. Time for me to SLEEP! I am so very very tired. Goodnight from the trail!



5 thoughts on “Day #4: Lightening the Load

  1. Enjoyed talking to you on the trail today. Looking forward to reading about your adventures on the AT. Great photos.

    • A few reasons solohiker. For one they are heavier than you think. Dry sacks and compression sacks are a few ounces each. Between them and extra ziplocks, I probably lost half a pound. Same with loosing the brain (pack lid). That was 2-3 ounces. Stuffing my sleeping bag into the garbage bag pack liner fills the bottom of the bag for a better fit. It also doesn’t compress the down as much preserving it’s loft. Another reason, it’s more efficient. In the morning, I shove my sleeping bag, bag liner, and extra clothes into the garbage bag. Roll the top, then insert my food bag, pot, and electronics bag and I’m good to go.

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