The last five days have been fantastic! We’ve been taking it easy, enjoying the trail and taking good care of our bodies with daily stretching and yoga. Joe, Paul and I have hiked 40 miles and have picked up over 77 pounds of trash off the Appalachian Trail.
We picked up the most trash the first two days. Many of the things we've found include bottles, cans, and wrappers. Much of the weight we removed came from hikers who started the trail unprepared which lead to leaving piles of stuff in campsites or in bags off the trail. Seeing and Picking up trash along the trail hasn't dulled our spirits at all. I speak for the rest of the group when I say that we've never had so much fun out backpacking. Our hiking pace has been very relaxed and we never miss an opportunity to relax in a mountain stream or stare at beautiful mountains at scenic outcroppings.
The trail is pretty busy which has lead to a lot of great conversations. Along a thru hike many hikers receive a trail name. Trails names are usually given to a hiker based on a person’s personality or from something they’ve done while on the trail. We call Joe “Goose” because he has taken on more of a navigator role one this trip. Goose was the gunner and navigator from the movie Top Gun. Paul’s trail name is “Spice”; we call him this because he came with a comprehensive spice kit that is amazing. He also admitted to being quite stinky/spicy at times. My trail name is “Cap”. Goose and Spice started calling me this because they said I was the mastermind/captain of this adventure. I'm also the only one in my group who wears a standard ball cap.
We are currently at Neels Gap just north of the Blood Mountain Wilderness. We pooled money together with two other hikers to get a cabin for the evening. For around 12 bucks a person we are getting an opportunity to shower, re-supply food, and work on this blog post. We are loving the outdoors but are very appreciative of the chance to spend a night indoors. The plan for the next week is to hike north to Franklin, N.C. where we will re-supply for the next leg of this journey. Thanks everyone for the support and encouragement. See you on the trail!