8 May 2010
Yin: Last night was peaceful. Probably the best night of sleep so far on the trail. Today consisted of a lot of "leap-frogging" as we passed many hikers and a few of them passed us only to be passed by us again! We are making excellent time, and it seems our bodies are acclimating well to the environment we have submersed ourselves in. About mid-day today as I was looking at the map during lunch, I noticed a tiny short-cut on the trail that Yang and I could use to put time in our favor. This short-cut worked more in our advantage than I could have hoped. We were walking along this road when a guy in a truck offered to take us into town where we had a nice sit-down lunch #2. Then , the cashier told us of a shuttle to Neels Gap which was about two days away yet! We took the shuttle to buy time, not to mention skip Blood Mountain, and were in Neels Gap by supper. Neels is your typical hostel set up and we enjoyed good trail conversation with the other hikers staying there that night. Everyone there thought Yang and I were nuts for carrying a months worth of food with us. Seems to be a growing trend out here.
Yang: Got out of Hawk Mountain shelter pretty early today. We had two options; Blood Mountain (it's as bad as it sounds) or Suchess. We chose the latter and decided to hitch-hike into town. Town consisted of a T.W.O. (two wheels only) biker hotel, a gas station, and a high school. No hostel, no restaurant. We were told of a shuttle service that could take us to Neels Gap. Neels had everything a weary hiker needs. We got to take a shower and sleep in a real bed (bunk style). Did dishes in a sink and even did a load of laundry. At one point the nice folks who run the store/hostel went into town and brought back pizza for everyone. At the hostel are Renee(crazy hippie chick), The Grock(cool through-hiker hippie guy), Josh & Jason(saw them a couple days ago), and a few older gentlemen, one of whom is named David. All in all a pretty good group. Time now for sleep. P.S. - Made friends with one of the hostel's cats.