Lodged between two hills, Hansel and Gretel* are spending the night at Low Gap. Hansel assured me it was an "awesome shelter" because it is really long and spread out and there is a creek that runs down the middle of it. There are plenty of fallen trees which make for terrific sitting logs. Plus, there are about 30 other tents set up there! They had some difficulty finding a really flat spot since the camp is on a slope between the two hills, but they will likely get a good night's sleep after 4 solid days of hiking.
Last night the sibs spent the night in style at Neels Gap. They actually rented a cabin with 3 other guys, Whoop!, Bat (our legally blind friend from the other evening), and Badger. It was only $60 for all five of them and once they all were settled in, they feasted on frozen pizza and plenty of pasta that Badger was trying to get rid of! So far Gretel has been able to stick to her vegetarian diet.
A lesson was learned the next morning, though fortunately not at the expense of Hansel and Gretel's food. A bear incident occurred during the night and some fellow hikers had their packs rummaged through. Thus, the importance of bear bags and hanging packs high in trees has been emphasized. Luckily, Hansel and Gretel's food was all safely stored in their deluxe $60 cabin.
The other reason Neels Gap was a great stop, is because it was a place of purging. Hansel and Gretel dumped a full 10 pounds of weight which means Hansel is now carrying a 40 lb pack and Gretel is carting 35 lbs.
There is some sad news to report. Bat sprained his ankle pretty badly two days ago. It didn't take long for some pretty purples and blues to shine through and he has decided to leave the trail for a while. There was talk of meeting up again in North Carolina. In the mean time, we will send Bat some healing thoughts and wish him a speedy recovery!
If we flip back in time one more night, the shelter on the top of Blood Mountain was quite lovely. Hansel seemed to think it might be the first shelter ever built on the Appalachian Trail. At the very least, it's a rather old stone structure.
So that is the news from the most recent report. Pictures have been posted on Flickr and will continue to be posted. Here is the link but it will also be available on the right side of the page under "Links we think are important."
Until next time, happy trails!
*Hansel and Gretel= Jarrod and Becca's new trail names for those of you who have not yet read the previous post.