It has been a very long rainy, snowy, extremely windy, cold & most of all BLESSED DAY!!! I actually was able to hike portions of the day without rain! I look forward to more days without rain in the near future. I was able to get in 18 miles today to Hogpen Gap with some breaks in the weather. As I hiked through Neel Gap the wind was fierce. The wind there was gusting up towards 40 mph and as I climbed the mountain to Bull Gap I am sure it was approaching 55-60 mph gusts! Neel Gap has a wonderful outfitter store where I stopped in to weigh my pack once again. It weighed 36 pounds including food and water. I feel like when spring approaches I can get it down to around 29 or 30 pounds when I can get rid of some of my winter gear. Neels Gap is also the only place on the trail where the trail goes through a building. I took a few more pictures today just so you could see the condition of parts of the trail that I’m hiking. There were a lot of sections of the trail today that were solid rock, which made for some slippery and tricky hiking with all the rain. I am hoping that the rocks will not be iced over tomorrow with temperatures in the mid to low twenties when I start out tomorrow. I actually had a brief moment where I had my first view!
I have had so many wonderful encouraging messages sent to me along the trail. One that REALLY stuck with me today was from my friend Paul Young which read: Mustard Seed – Saw this quote today and thought of you … “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” ~ Edmund Hillary
Good night from the Appalachian Trail & stay warm!