It was an early up for me and I felt refreshed. So much so that I cooked a full breakfast of oatmeal and cocoa. It had taken me forever to get my food up into a tree the night before. There was barely a branch in sight to toss the line over. What took twenty minutes to get up took seconds to retrieve and I was soon cooking. Beth was up and cooking soon next door and we got to know each other a bit.
On the other side of me Greenville T-shirt Guy was now sitting on a log wrapped in his sleeping bag and every item of clothing her could find. Steve the service dog was in hiding.
As I was cooking Logan came into view. He had camped a mile and a half back. Breakfast had allowed about a dozen folks to pass me. Everyone was talking outfitter so I knew I needed to get going if I wanted a bunk. Rain was on its way
As advertised Blood Mountain was a climb. They could have just as easily called it Massacre or Holcaust Mountain but once on top of the peak the climb proved worthwhile.
I had forgotten that it was a Saturday and I found myself with many day hikers who had climbed Blood from the other side. All had questions. Once again I ran into Logan for a moment as well as Beth, No Name, and Wandering Man.
I moved on. There was a promise of food ahead and a warm bed. I’ve been averaging 10-12 hours of sleep each night. That wasn’t a problem… it was fatigue. The climb down was wicked and twice I lost the trail on the wide expanse of rock and had to climb back up.
By 12:30 I walked into the Neels Gap Outfitter. Step one: reserved a bunk. Step two: bought a root beer. Step three: went through a shake down. Three hours later I had a new pack, ground pad and sleeping bag.
We got rid of all unnecessary items. Basically he said you are going to stink so get rid of everything except toothpaste and needed meds. Out went the deodorant and soap. The water shoes, extra lights, stuff bags etc.
By the time we got done I had dropped from 38.5 pounds to 24. I was a new man plus I had microwaved a frozen cheeseburger. Life was good .
I called the Dali Lama Of hikers (Martha zRoberts) and she and Melvin drove up and got my pack. We also went out to dinner. The best BBQ meal ever along with some really bad music. I didn’t care. He couldn’t sing but he smiled a lot. Martha had brought some home cooked food and I had set it on the counter in the hostel and ran for my life as 12 hikers descended on it like the buzzards who live nearby my home.
So once again Martha came through. She had been in Travelers Rest but took the time to help. Wow.
It was time to sleep in a bunk. Yay! But it was miserable. Hot beyond belief. By morning I was without clothing or sleeping bag on a top bunk. Some things you wait for are not all you hoped that they would be.