We had a great start to the day when Karen drove us up to Springer Mountain so that we had only .9 miles to hike to the top for our pictures, log book signing, hike start, and lunch. It rained a lot today and dripped from the trees the rest of the time.
We got started at 14:20 at mile marker 0. We hiked back down to the parking lot and then headed out on our second mile. We made good time at about 20 minute miles. A lot of the next eight miles was along creeks lined with Rhododendron, which Bennett likes.
At 17:39 we ascended to the top of Hawk Mountain and the shelter there. This is a popular first day stop, since there were about fifteen other thru hikers there, including a homeless-looking bearded guy with a dog. I convinced Bennett that he really could be a thru hiker. Then the girl in the jeans shorts showed up.
We camped away from everyone, just to get our pattern figured out. Dinner was pasta under Bennett’s hammock tarp. She accidentally melted a hole in the leg if her Frog Togs with a hot pot, so wee’ll fix it with duct tape in the morning. We turned in at 20:45 after getting Bennett’s hammock under the tarp shelter. Food is up on the bear cables, and our packs are covered and strapped up high to trees.
Our second rainy day. We covered eight miles from Hawk Mtn shelter to Gooch Mtn shelter. We are staying in the shelter tonight and drying a few things. It is getting colder, but that may be more due to being damp.
Tomorrow we’ll do another eight miles, just short of Jarrard Gap, since you have to have a bear box for your food if you stay on the five miles between Jarrard and Neal’s Gap. We hope to stay in the hostel tomorrow night.