Day 5 Neels Gap to Low Gap Shelter

Day 5
I didn’t sleep that well due to the sound of the air con so dozed for most of the night. The lights flicked on at 7.30 so I slumped out of bed.
The weather didn’t look good as I peered out of the window, In fact it was chucking it down and it was windy.
I packed up and then made tea using the microwave.
Can’t beat a cuppa, the next stop was the shop for a breakfast roll. Its crap but oh so
tasty.
OKAY I am out of here. I hoisted up my pack and entered the element I was just wearing a vest and my rain jacket, as I didn’t want get too hot.
I crossed through the archway to the trail and headed up.
I had my cap on under my rain jacket but I couldn’t see where I was going due to the peak so had to remove the hood. I marched on , the rain not bothering me .
I was doing well as I climbed until the wind came.
Omg it cut right through me, I think I have made a mistake by not wearing another layer. I pushed on worrying about my body temperature . and trying to avoid the wind .
I was soon caught by the hikers I was chatting to yesterday, Beth & Dan and one other. I followed them for a while ,leapfrogging each other for most of the morning.
It was 11 miles to the next shelter a bit optimistic but that was my target, And I was trying to do it nonstop. Well it was pointless stopping in this weather !
I pushed on and on through the fog and rain. At last the wind died, Thank God.
The trail was typically poor littered with rocks and roots all trying to bring you down and so I was unable to get much of a pace. The trail then turned to more slabs of granite. I haven’t yet got the confidence in my feet that they would stick on this surface . If I was a goat, I would be okay .
I plodded away, listening to my watch ping the hours away
Then I came to Tennessee Gap. Oh, my fucking God …it was steep, Bloody steep I limped up losing site of my friends . I just kept on climbing and climbing surely it must stop.
At last I’m heading down but it’s gnarly and I scared or turning an ankle. so, I’m going slow . How much further?
I’m going nonstop, as there is no point stopping for a break in the rain .
Come on snail, I pushed on and another climb . I am sure that there were fantastic views but all I could see was rain and fog.
Suddenly the rain stopped and the forest became very calm and quiet and then the birds began to sing making me smile .
I marched on passing a few tents, then I passed a discarded tarp that looked brand new !!.
I was making good time but was tired until the rain returned. Bugger, I pushed on and on I must be getting near.
At last a sign for camp, I set off down the side trail hoping that I had read it right.
Hikers whooped me in as I arrived at the shelter. It looked quite full .This shelter had room for 12 people and there were12 of us sheltering from the rain. But 4 were moving on. (mad people)
I found myself a corner and unpacked my gear for the shelter and then changed into dry warm clothes , ah that’s much better, although it still took about another hour until the feeling returned to my fingers. I cooked tea and drank hot chocolate. Dan and Beth decided to camp , as they felt that they slept better.
Big mike was here he looked frozen as he hadn’t any real proper hiking gear. His rain jacket was a cheapo from Walmart and it was crap. Mike was a lovely person but very Naive and ill-prepared . He attempted to cook dinner and I had to look away as he made a complete hash of it .
once we were all done, we lay out our pads and bags, but before bed it was time to hang my food bag. At this shelter there were Bear cables which make hanging so much easier.
Its only just gone six but it’s time for bed .
mike lay beside me and due to the por quality of his kit he spent most of the night shivering !!
Night all

Start  42.6
Finish 58.3
Miles 15.7

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