This day started at 3 a.m. when Norman said “uh guys, we’ve got bears!” they shook the trees our bear lines were on and my cheap ass Walmart bag snapped right at the buckle and fell into the mouths of three hungry, relentless bears. These bears were not afraid of us and ate all my food. They continued to circle us until daylight, leaving Bob and I up tending the fire and trying to scare them off when they’d come close. They were big and didn’t want to leave! Thankfully, I had a ride down to Helen for groceries and some trail magic before I left to make it easier! After coming back, there were a ton of tough climbs and relentless sun and humidity. After 7 more miles I was toast. It was a short day and I was dehydrated, sunburned, and exhausted. Hoping for a better day 4!
After a rough day 3, day 4 absolutely rocked! I got a lot of sleep last night, which I really needed. I was sad that my friend Bob didn’t make it to camp, but decided to press on even though I was lonely. I left camp at 8:30 and made it to Blue Mountain Shelter at 11:30. After refilling my water, I ran into Zip Code, Ice Pack, and Fisher. We talked about the rain headed our way and tried to decide a game plan. Around 12:30, the rain had gotten a little heavier and we pushed down to Unicoi Gap. Ice Pack wanted to hike on, but Fisher, Zip Code, and I decided to get into town. On the ride down, we got poured on! It rained all afternoon, but we had hot showers an clean clothes! After texting and calling everyone, I was worn out. Had another great day! Tomorrow promises to be tough with a 1.4-mile, 1046 foot elevation gain right out of the gap. Promises of cheeseburgers at Tray Mountain will push me through though!
Staying with Seth and Norman, emailed Seth about TWLOHA. Met up with Bob at Jarrard Gap, pushed it all the way past Bull Head Gap by accident. Almost 20 miles! Tough day and going to do short tomorrow, maybe 7-10? Neel Gap was awesome. They had pizzas, cokes, and AquaMira since I ran out yesterday. Another great night with a great fire! Looking forward to whatever tomorrow brings :)
Met lots of people today. The first 8 miles were easy until Hightower Gap! Then we had to climb Mt Sassafras. I learned from Graham Cracker (thru 2002) that “Sassafras will kick your ass” is a popular saying. I agree. Ended up staying at 14.4 miles, a campsite with nice tent pads. Stayed with Andy (baby scrooge), Bob, an Allegra and Jake. Hoping to see Bob most of the day tomorrow. Seems super normal. Trying to go to mile 28, but might need a bear canister? Hoping not, otherwise it will be a super short 10-mile day :( military helicopters started at 9ish and haven’t stopped for nearly an hour. Hoping they quiet down soon! Lots of bloodroot and purple trillium here. Also saw some bleeding heart! A great 1st day on the AT.