March 21st (out of order)

Got up a 6 am, somewhat cold but wanted to get going as had some summits to cross and the camp area would likely get overwhelmed because the state rangers are requiring bear canisters (heavy bear resistant) in the next two shelters before Neels Gap (my first resupply). Got out at 740 AM.

Trail today similar to the previous days, reasonably narrow, rock and root strewn, and drop offs at 25 degrees plus. Must watch trail, must watch feet. Frequently get trailing foot caught briefly on something, using poles to steady myself. The day is mostly sunny and warm, and most hikers are shedding layers to stay cool.

At Woody Gap, "Georgia Jim" is offering water at this fairly elaborate trail head. It has a place to put trash (which we all carry). has bathrooms, but to my disappointment no running water for a quick cleanup. Drink a couple waters and get something to eat along with the others here, including Achin, Muriel, John (soon to be Pope) and Blaine.

Back up the trail for some serious ups, with a spectacular views at the top of Big Cedar Mountain, and then some nice down hills. Arrive at Lance Creek campground with about 12 here, but by 6 pm closer to 30. No real good place to hang food away from bears. We got a little bit of luck late, two guys showed up with their dog, so hopefully that will help.

All us newer hikers are finding we have too much food. My five day pack is about half full still, and getting more food (3 days) tomorrow by a mail drop. Going to probably just get rid of some in the hikers box.

Tomorrow hike to Neel Gap, my first resupply. One of the hikers, Trudger from Peru, suggested we might split a cabin if the hostel is full for the night. We'll see. First have to get over Blood Mountain, the tallest yet at 4,461 ft.

Realize I have a lot to think about during this hike, but am fully focused on learning how to hike. There are so many aspects to learn, from eating, doing repeated elevations, setting up the tent correctly, trying to stay somewhat clean, etc.

Rain expected Sunday and snow on Tuesday. 


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