Day 3: Slaughter Creek Campsite to Chattahoochee Gap, 19.6 miles
Day 4: Chattahoochee Gap to a vista on Powell Mountain, 18.9 miles
We survived the thunderstorms that raged overnight, keeping relatively dry. It was the heaviest most sustained rain I’ve ever experienced in a tent. The next morning we thought the trail would be really muddy, but surprisingly it wasn’t. This area has had a drought last summer, which had carried over a bit into this season- the ground is thirsty! We hiked the remaining 8/10th of a mile to the top of Blood Mountain. There are supposed to be grand views of the surrounding areas on top, but the low hanging clouds blocked our view. We got to see a neat shelter though!
It was cooler than the previous days, in the 50s, which we quite enjoyed! It made for quick hiking, and we made into Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap. I cobbled together a late breakfast (if Vanilla Coke, an egg salad sandwich, and chips can count as breakfast- I think it does). We then continued down and up for seven miles before breaking at Hogpen Gap for lunch. Along the way we saw so many hikers, way more than we’d seen the previous days. It seems like the storm clumped everyone together. After lunch people dissipated some, and the trail was quieter. We started looking for a place to camp, but had trouble finding flat ground. A few miles later we were thankful to find a small spot to camp in next to another couple at Chattahoochee Gap.
We woke up with the wind, which only increased as we tried to have breakfast and break-down camp. By the time we were ready to start hiking we were thoroughly chilled, but warmed up quickly enough. The day had several good climbs, the most notable being up and over Tray Mountain. We chatted with a few hikers, and thought that we may actually camp near a shelter where hikers tend to congregate; however the camping was starting to fill-up, and we decided to walk another mile and up another hill towards a quieter spot. We were rewarded with a spot all to ourselves, and could see the glowing jewel sunset through the trees. While it is spring, the buds haven’t come out yet in the mountains.