Currently hiking with three other folks, Ben, Alan and Adele. On Wednesday we needed to put in a big day from Stover Creek Shelter to Neels Gap as camping in the middle requires a bear canister which only one of us had. It would be a 16 mile day with our first 4000 foot climb of the trip. I’m happy to say we all passed arriving at Neels Gap ahead of schedule.
All the hostel rooms at Mountain Crossing were taken by the time we arrived so we needed to head into Blairsville 16 miles away. A hotel room was not a bad idea given the thunder storms that were forecast.
We took the dual approach of calling shuttles and hitching when a Honda Accord stopped to give us a ride. The driver was Jearold “Cotton.” He picked us up and dropped us in town and since had to come back this way in the morning offered to give us a ride back to the trail in the morning. Our first experience of trail magic, and what a great experience it was. He showed us some of the prose he’d written about hiking and life in general. Great stuff! As often the case don’t judge a book by its cover.
We all showered and had a great dinner. Then we went to sleep, only to be awoken by the storms that this time we were lucky enough to dodge. Breakfast at Hole In The Wall a ride back to the trail and we were on our way! The big day, the company, and meeting “Cotton” made for a great start! Sent from my iPhone

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