Mile 30.7 Neels Gap on Easter


I’ve made it to Neel’s Gap at mile 31.7 of the trail. I heard that early this morning there was a lady in a bunny ears hat walking down the trail handing out Easter candy to hikers. Mike and I did not see her because we were camped a mile off of the trail at Winfield Scott Recreation Area.

We started at Springer Mountain around 2:30 on Thursday. The ride up to the mountain was 1.5 hours of cliff-edge cruising with a local appalachian shuttle driver we knew just how fast to take each corner.

I ran into a couple gear problems early in the hike. My water bladder spilled into the tent which required a thorough recovery effort. The next morning with the cold weather the water filter was frozen shut. When it warmed up later I got it working again.

We’ve met about 20 other thru-hikers so far and are started to cross the same people on a regular basis. At Horse Gap a military trailer with a potable water spigot was out for a military exercise from their nearby establishment. We were able to get fresh water there just before they came to hitch the water trailer up to a truck and take it away.

Yesterday Mike and I took a remote route away from the trail called Jarrard Gap Road. We did this to avoid the bear area around Blood Mountain where you are required to use a bear-proof canister if you’re camping there. Down Jarrard Gap Road we found camping and a restaurant called the 180 Diner. After three days on camp food the diner was heavenly. Cheap prices and great food. Not so much a greasy spoon type place but more of a country-style restaurant which just opened up three years ago. It is ran by Tom and Jen Ingram.

Ok, I’m pretty tired and don’t want to spend a lot of time on the computer so I’m going to sign off now. I’ve been keeping a voice recorder journal as well – so I’ll be able to backfill more details at a later time.

About douglasdouma

I am a husband to beautiful wife, an ordained minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church - Hanover Presbytery, and founder of Sola - Appalachian Christian Retreat ( In addition to blogging at this site I am the author of The Presbyterian Philosopher - The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark (Wipf&Stock, 2017) and compiling editor of Clark and His Correspondents: Selected Letters of Gordon H. Clark (Trinity Foundation, 2017). I have a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering (University of Michigan), a master's in business administration (Wake Forest University) and a master of divinity (Sangre de Cristo Seminary). I'm an avid hiker, having completed a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian trail in 2013 and the first 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016.
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3 Responses to Mile 30.7 Neels Gap on Easter

  1. Seamus says:

    Good call with avoiding the trail going through Blood Mountain, but did you wonder if they made the name so to cause you to take the other trail; Like the Vikings did with Iceland and Greenland?

  2. sal paradise says:

    awesome! way to go Doug!

    blueblazing already, huh?

    hopefully the ice didn’t crack your filter if you have a porcelain one. but glad not to hear an entry of “had to shake the ice out of our tents when we woke up.”

    on to the NOC!

    how are the knees holding up on the initial stretch? I take you not mentioning them as a good sign.

  3. Nate says:

    I didn’t even think about shaving or a haircut while you are out there……are you going without either for the entire trip? It will be an epic ‘Duck Dynasty’ level beard by the end! AWESOME! Have a blast bro and be safe.

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