This article originally appeared on The Trek, which you can read here.
Although it rained again last night it wasn’t raining when I got up: happy camper. The worst of the damage was the mud that caked onto my tent footprint. No big deal; I washed it off in the creek when I filtered water in the morning. I took my first break a couple miles down the trail at Jarrad Gap but found Slaughter creek to be a good water source and I filled up there with enough to get me to Flatrock Gap. I ended up having enough water for the rest of the day.
I climbed Blood Mountain today and for being notoriously tall, the tallest on the Georgia section, it was NOT the worst climb so far. Many hikers agreed with me that Sassafras was harder. That being said, the views at the top were breathtaking and well worth it! I stopped and had lunch to savor the experience. Caboose (Molly) was there so we chatted during lunch and hiked down Blood Mountain together.
When we got to Neels Gap, her crew from Virginia was there and settled in but Mountains Crossings said the beds were full! To say that this was a major heart-breaker is an understatement. I was looking forward to a shower and bunk. Just as we were finding out this bad news, two ladies came up and said they noticed us coming out of the woods. They voluntarily gave up their beds/shower for us. They wouldn’t even let us pay! Apparently they had a car and all they really wanted was to shower and then leave. The staff was moved by their generosity and let them use the showers, so everyone ended up happy. That was the most pure, heart warming trail magic.
The same ladies even gave Kringle, one of the guys from the Virginia group, a shuttle to and from a gas station and he came back packing beer for whomever wanted it. I abstained but did enjoy a frozen pizza, which the store cooks for you, and topped the night off with a snickers bar and a Powerade. We hung out on the deck of Mountain Crossings which was sporting a misty view of the mountains.