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.