3/14/18 – Day 5

Neel Gap to Low Gap Shelter – 11.5 miles

Very cold and windy to start. When I got to the opposite side of a mountain, the wind would be blocked and vice versa. Could not decide what clothes to keep on or take off. Got a spot in the shelter! Someone made a fire and I played my p-bone for the other hikers there – Stick Man, Just Shawn, Buckeye, Smiles, Penguin, Wrongfully Charged, Snicker Bear, Honey Badger, Theo, Laptop.

The wind was intense this morning. The main thing I remember about this day while hiking was how quickly the wind changed. There were multiple times when I would go over a ridge and down the other side of a mountain and the wind suddenly stopped only to put me back in the wind going over the next ridge. Even without the wind it was so cold. I am from South Carolina and have never been a fan of cold weather. At some point on the trail, I found out that the beginning to the 2018 hiking season was colder than it has been in past years.

At the shelter, I was happy to find extra space so that I did not have to set up my tent. I was one of the first hikers to stop at Low Gap Shelter and I had a lot of extra time to spare before dark so I spent a lot of time talking with other hikers who ended up hiking on and snacking on my food supply. By dark, we had a fire going and I had my pBone out to play for the other hikers. Since finishing the trail, I have been sent a few pictures and videos of me playing my pBone that afternoon.

When I wrote in my journal that night, I wanted to remember the people I spent the night with at that shelter which is why I have a list of names at the end:

Stick Man – carried sticks with him that he used to start the campfire that night

Just Shawn – did not seem to want a trail name

Buckeye – hiked over 1,000 miles with him in my trail family later on in the trail and the more I learned about him, the more confused I was to who he was. He will forever be a mystery.

Smiles/Penguin – 2 friends from Pennsylvannia who I am happy to have spent a few days hiking with

Wrongfully Charged – He told me the story of his trail name and I really wish I could remember it. He was an older man compared to the rest of us that night, but we all still bond as thru hikers

Snicker Bear – An amazing, energetic, talented singer, and new found snickers lover who I am so happy to have spent part of my hike with.

Honey Badger – An equally awesome person that, “don’t care” and I was also able to spend a few days with.

Theo – An 18 year old taking a gap year and hiking the AT with a can of beans. Don’t remember why he kept the beans with him, but I do know that he eventually got the trail name Beans from that.

Laptop – A guy from the Netherlands that I had been keeping pace with on the AT for most of it so far. He carried a laptop with him to help him contact home.

Photo credit goes to Smiles. Playing the trombone and sitting on the ground is hard…also had to keep dodging the smoke from the fire, but overall a great time spent at this campsite.

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