Highest Elevation – 4457, Blood Mountain
Lowest Elevation – 2865 Lance Creek
Mileage – 12.42
On Wednesday, we didn’t sleep too late, probably until 6:30. We got up and got going pretty quickly. We were hiking pretty fast again and passed many people who left before us that morning. A couple people even told us that we were good hikers. Our goal was to make it to Mountain Crossing at Neel Gap for lunch so that we could have pizza! It was a hot humid day and there was only a slight breeze.
The day consisted of lots of steep climbs. We would climb the biggest mountain of our trip, Blood Mountain. We hiked pretty quickly the entire way to Blood Mountain, and then needed to slow down a bit. I even took a rest part of the way up Blood Mountain. We camp upon the shelter privy first, and it’s always nice to take advantage of an actual toilet even if it does smell bad. Next we passed the Blood Mountain Shelter. It was built by the CCC and was made all of stone. It was the nicest shelter we had passed on our trip. Next we came to some really neat scenic views. It was really cool to be up that high and see so far. There was no forgetting that we were on top of a mountain, some of the trail was going down the rock and the blazes weren’t on trees, they were painted on the rock.
Someone had said the day before that the side of Blood Mountain that we would go up was easier to go up than the other side. As were were going down the other side, it became obvious that this was true. The other side felt more like going straight down and was very difficult. It took a lot longer to go down than it did to go up. I took a picture of the altitude change from endomondo, and you can see the highest point, which is Blood Mountain, and then the differences between the two sides. It seemed to take forever to get down Blood Mountain, but finally it started to get a little less steep, and then we started to hear the road. This meant we were getting close to Neels Gap and Mountain Crossing.
My first stop at Neel Gap was in the porta potty. Yes, maybe too much information, but when you spend that much time in the woods, a semi real toilet is a real convenience! Mountain Crossings is an outfitter and part of the trail goes through the breeze way. Go to their website and check out the google map where you can look inside the store! There’s a book about written by a man who used to own Mountain Crossings, Just Passin’ Thru. This book was how I first learned about Mountain Crossings, so it was neat to be there in person. We ordered a pizza, unfortunately they only had cheese pizza left, but I wasn’t going to pass up pizza! I also bought a few items and wandered around the store. The pizza and pop I had for lunch was delicious! After a hot hike up and down that huge mountain, it was nice to have a break. I saw a guy who had a German Shepherd, so I went over and asked if I could pet the dog. I missed Penny, so it was nice to pet another dog. Many of the other people we had passed were showing up at the store. Some people were done and others had longer hikes to do yet.
We left after a few pictures of the breeze way with a bit more energy than we had upon arrival. There still wasn’t a breeze and I got hot pretty quickly. Soon we camp upon Bull Gap, where we had plan to camp at for the night. It was only 2:00, and I told Jared that we needed to keep going. We couldn’t stop now with a ton of day left. I would have nothing to do until 9 when I went to bed. We continued on 3 more miles and stopped at Baggs Creek Gap. We were the first ones there, and thought we would be the only ones there until later in the evening when a woman from Canada decided to stop there.
We had a camp fire that night and had a decent amount of time to relax. It was our last night on the trail, and I was feeling a little sad that it was almost over.