Appalachain Trail: Mile 31.4; 5/8/17; 18:12

I sit at a bench with fellow thru-hikers using the wifi at Mountain Crossing at Neels Gap. Awesome place. I was able to get some much needed (and maybe not so much needed) gear (more about this in a moment), some fair advice, and some hot coffee.

The summitting of Blood Mountain was great fun. Not nearly as difficult as I was made to believe. The descent was more rocky than the ascent. All and all it was a great hike.
Now let’s get back to the topic of gear.

This is what I set out with:

I realized after actually hitting the trail that, though I opt not to filter most of the time, the filtering of water is a nice option to have. For some reason I am not an Aquamira/tablet/drops kind of person. I prefer to physically filter. So I went back to the Sawyer Squeeze. I was pleased with it last year. All that was available this time was the mini, so we will see how that goes. Also…I bought a stove!!! An MSR Pocket Rocket. I went stoveless for the latter half of the PCT last year. Sure it was fine. But this is a positively thrilling luxury. Hot coffee and warm Idahoans, here I come! I also purchased a new raincoat. A basic no frills Marmot, and a rain skirt. And…”sleep socks”. Oh, how I love to day dream about my perfectly safe and dry, zip-locked, stuffed in the bottom of my sleeping bag, sleeping-only socks. That feeling of slipping them on after a long days hike is absolute bliss.

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