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March 4 2023, Woody Gap to Neels Gap: Lucky made a large breakfast for all the hikers first thing in the morning. Endless hot cups of coffee and scrambled eggs smothered in cheese. I helped wash dishes and whispered, “Hey, is it okay if you save me a couple of slices of bread so I can make some french toast instead?” He was all for it and told me he would even hook me up with the Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. I felt so satisfied getting my fix for french toast. Before we left, he gifted me some mountain house meals and fuel for the upcoming section.
Above the Clouds Hostel was one of those places where I would hitch back to no matter where I was on trail. The energy there felt so loving and the owner truly just wanted the hikers to have a space to lounge around, eat, and spend time with their community. I even got to trade my artwork for a night’s stay! It always brought joy to my heart when I could give through the manifestation of art.
Pink gave me a shark tooth that he found—told me to carry it on the rest of the trail as a good luck token. Lucky dropped us off at Woody Gap to continue our hike up north. I hugged him and whispered, “Thank you for the french toast.” We said our goodbyes (for now) to Lucky. As we started walking, Pink and I got an energy rush from being back on trail and started running up the steep hill, our packs bouncing upon our backs. We bursted out in laughter and eventually started gasping for air.
We sang on the trail which was fun because other hikers in the distance would join us. “Oh baby youuuuu, you got what I neeeeed…. And you say he’s just a friend, and you say he’s just a friend… OH BABY YOUUU!!!” We also ran into a bunch of our hiker friends who were slack-packing SOBO back to the hostel. We high-fived them and continued onward.
During break, Pink asked if I had a boob job and I said no. He asked to see so I flipped up my shirt to show him my tits. He said “great tits” so I said, “Thanks, I’ll let my Mom and Dad know that you think they did a great job.”
Three girls got lost so we helped walk them back to their junction. Then, some day hikers asked to take a photo of us because they were in awe of us thru-hiking.
I bathed in the energy of the wooded sanctuary that surrounded me. Light rays shone through the branches, the air was chilled. It reminded me of the feeling of climbing mountains at high elevation—refreshing.
The view on top of Blood Mountain was spectacular. Mountains ridges on the horizon were bathed in a blue hue and I thought to myself, Ah, this is why they must be called the Blue Ridge Mountains. I felt really grateful that we decided to summit today instead of the day prior. Sometimes, it is very much worth it to wait out the rain.
We had a fun time cruising down the mountain. For no apparent reason, we decided to sprint down the mountain, rock hopping and skipping across thick vines. It felt fun feeling our trail legs making their way in. I felt strong and cruisy. Each thru-hike felt like it got easier and easier to take on.
Pink and I talked about relationships and if we had “types” of people that we were into. The conclusion was that we didn’t have a type, but that we had preferences. I said to him, “I’m not really into people with blonde hair and blue eyes—“ and right at that moment, there happened to be a day hiker that was sitting on a rock with her partner. They both started laughing because they had blonde hair and blue eyes. I apologized and continued to Pink, “See, it’s just preferences. I know that some guys aren’t into girls with hairy legs and I’ve come to accept that. Just gotta roll with the punches.” Pink didn’t have the same preferences as me… he seemed to just be into “bad bitches” because they knew how to ride his dick the best.
Coming into Neels Gap, there was a tree with hiker shoes decorating the branches. I could see why so many people quit by that point. If I did the AT as my first thru-hike, I definitely would’ve felt intimidated. Shit wasn’t easy.
We arrived to the Mountain Crossings Store and didn’t make it in time for a pizza, but we got to see our friends!! We all hugged as if we hadn’t seen one another in years, but really it was only a few hours. We hung out at the picnic tables and ate food. My friend gave me a slice of pizza and then, a few young boys—one of which was a previous thru-hiker—offered us some trail magic!
The rest of our tramily came through and camped with us on a slanted hill. Pink’s friend, Wheelbarrow, came through to visit. Pink introduced me to him by saying, “You find him cute, don’t you? I feel like you find him cute.” I smiled to Wheelbarrow, “Yeah, you most definitely are cute.” I loved those moments where I allowed myself the freedom to just say what was on my mind. I could feel my flirtatious self was ready to come out and play.
Before we went to bed, Wheelbarrow gave me a massage gun used for releasing muscle tension. I put it on the lowest setting, placed it on the side of my butt and said, “Woah! This thing is 5x more powerful than my vibrator!” He laughed out loud, “Dual purpose.”