United States
Mossy Cove

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    • Day 7

      Day 5

      February 27, 2023 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 63 °F

      Bull Gap tenting spot to Low Gap Shelter.
      10.4 miles today, 43.1 miles total.

      After yesterday’s tougher day summiting Blood Mountain (tough uphill and then tough downhill to Neel Gap) and then late day climb to Bull Gap to sleep, today’s route was more rolling and ridge running. A wonderful change of pace.
      Got my bear bag down from the tree, filtered some water from the campsite spring, and headed off into the misty morning. The clouds burned off a bit by late am which added some pep to the step.
      Saw some of my hiking pals during the day including Big T (BigTontheAT YouTube channel, a 60 yr old builder from MS with 2 young grandkids: he can really hike and is such an awesome guy), Karaoke (a 60’ish year old gal from Fairbanks Alaska whose lifestyle is based in hiking), and Cat & Adam (Driftless Adventures on YouTube, 2 early 30’ish artists from Wisconsin who are very personable and fun to hike with).
      Ended up tenting at Low Gap Shelter at 5pm with Karaoke & Alabama Chowder who is a young gun with a energetic personality. They were in the Shelter, me in my tent. Perfect weather for sleeping (50 degrees), with warmer temps to follow in the next few days. Can’t believe I’m lugging all of this cold weather gear in my 34 lb pack and haven’t had to use any of it yet! But the Smokies and winter weather are just down the road!
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    • Day 8

      Day 6

      February 28, 2023 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 72 °F

      Low Gap Shelter to Cheese Factory site.

      13.4 miles today. 56.5 total miles.

      Today was a tough, hot and interesting day.
      Filtered my water mere feet from my tent at 8:30 am and began the steady 8 mile climb out of Low Gap Shelter to the summit of Blue Mountain (4,000 ft). 75 degrees by late morning.
      Then a 1,000 ft drop in elevation in just 1.2 miles off the back side of Blue to Unicoi Gap, a fairly major road that hikers quite often use to meet shuttle drivers to take them to various hotel and/or hostel options in the towns of Helen or Hiawassee 10-12 miles down the road.
      This is where me, Big T, Richard and 7 other hikers (one from New Zealand) found our first trail magic!!
      Smoky Bear was parked there in his old SUV offering up sodas, fruit, pkgs of ramen, bags of chips, etc. . Was a wonderful sight.
      He was rough around the edges but his heart was certainly in the right place.
      He said he had thru hiked 20 years before, and his trail name is Smoky Bear as he smokes a pack a day, and his wife says he snores like a bear. He is a true character.
      After a 30 min break in the Gap, we set off straight uphill to the top of Rocky Mtn (1k ft elevation in 1.4 miles), followed by a 1,000 ft rocky descent crossing Tray Mountain dirt road to Indian Grave Gap.
      Was getting late in the day with nowhere to camp there, so trudged as fast as I could 1 mile uphill to the old Cheese Factory site to get my tent set up before darkness.
      Karaoke, Dan, Thumper and her husband Rabbit, and 3 other folks were just in front of me.
      I got the last flat tent site, quickly fixed dinner by the glow of my headlamp, then threw my bear bag (bag with all my food and other items that could attract a bear) securely up into the branches and got to work catching some Zzz’s by 9:30 pm as tomorrow will be a long, hot and arduous day.
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    • Day 9

      Day 7

      March 1, 2023 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 72 °F

      Cheese Factory site to Dick’s Creek Gap road.

      12.7 miles today, 69.2 total miles.

      Everyone was up and at ‘em and on trail by 7:30 am. All were excited to get to Dick’s Creek Gap road crossing by the end of the day, which meant a zero day tomorrow in Hiawassee, GA to wait out the upcoming thunderstorms. Relaxing hotel room, McDonalds, Starbucks, and Ingles grocery store to re-supply. Yum. Yum. Yum.

      But first, on the hottest (78) and most humid day yet, there was scaling 4,500 ft Tray mountain at 8:30 am.
      Adding insult to injury were 3 different water stops today that were all 0.2 off the trail (so 0.4 round trip each, distance that “doesn’t count”). Down a hill 1/5 a mile, lugging 3 lbs of water back up to your backpack.

      The piece de resistance was the final summit of the day, the trek up Kelly Knob. The steepest rise of the AT thus far. Where’s the sensitivity? No thought to at least add some switchbacks?? 🙁😳

      This hit us early afternoon after we were physically and mentally spent. There was then the 4.5 mile ridge run mostly downhill to Dick’s Creek Gap and our shuttle rides into Hiawassee.

      There is a well known phrase that “the trail provides”. Almost every day, usually when you need it most, there is a moment or a situation that occurs that helps you physically, mentally and/or emotionally. On that downhill toward town, when I was feeling my lowest, I quickly came up on a husband and wife who’s story I had seen/been following on YouTube. Their YouTube site and trail name is “The 592 Movement”. Their combined weight is 592 pounds. The husband’s name is Buddy. In a vial attached to the front of his backpack was some of his father’s ashes. His Dad had always dreamed of hiking the AT, but never got the chance. They were bringing his spirit along, and at the same time, trying to become healthier and have an adventure of a lifetime. They aren’t fast hikers, and it certainly can’t be easy for them, but they were probably the most happy twosome I have seen out there on the trail. When I stopped with them at that last water source of the day (as we were all gassed and out of water), Felicia gave me one of their 592 Movement stickers that she carries and told me to think of them when the trail gets tough. Their goal: get to the end of the AT (Mount Katahdin in Maine) in 7.5 months, a collective 225 lbs lighter, and to bring Buddy’s dad to his happy place.
      Sometimes, true perspective isn’t all that difficult to find. ❤️
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Mossy Cove

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