So we made it to Neels Gap. Our tent, while light, held water like a camel. So we switched out to a Big Agnes UL. Did I mention it rains every day? Well it does. We stayed with a guy named Turbo at the Blood Mt. Cabins to dry out. The next day we hiked on. Then it began raining. And kept raining. At Dick’s Creek Gap our gear, and bodies, were soaked again.
We stayed at the Budget Inn in Hiawassee. Bailey, who was freshly dubbed Dr. Pepper, called the place Murder Motel (Norman Bates would love it). After drying out and resupplying we went back into the woods. It was cold, but at least the rain stopped.
Days later we were sleeping on the ground, under the table, at the Muskrat Creek shelter. It was raining. It started sleeting the next morning. Made it to Standing Indian and hid from the stuff which falls from the sky, infinitely.
The next day we camped at Betty Creek. Good decision? We passed a bear cub howling for his momma. Just in case she was in the area we hung our food bags. The problem was we were in a rhododendron forest. Like any savvy hiker I found a sketchy tree that had fallen and rested against another equally sketchy tree, and tossed the line. In the morning our food was still there. Guess what else was happening? Rain?
Over Albert Mountain, and 15 miles later, we ended up at a new hostel run by Colin Gooder. Black Bear, a nice lady from Maine, and Gilligan, a former Marine with a service dog, joined us. BB cooked dinner.
So today, and tomorrow, we are treating Bailey’s blisters in Franklin, NC. Should be at the NOC in a few days, and then into the Smokeys.
Bailey has taken a number of pictures, including a suspected bear den. Did I mention it rains? Oh my trail name…
Martha Stewart. It sucks. I shouldn’t have told Bailey to fold his clothes or brush his teeth within ear shot of everybody at the shelter. Lesson learned.