Martin Steel

Days 5 to 7: Neels Gap to Unicoi Gap

Day 5: Neels Gap to Hogpen Gap

  • 7.5 miles
  • 20,000 steps
  • 230 floors

After a second night at Neels Gap, again with a lucky cabin - this time thanks to Ryan - with 2 other British guys, Rob and Ali (Eucalyptus farmers from Devon). With a much rested knee it was time to hit the trail again.

The next shelter was only 5 miles a bit short for a day so we carried on and after 7.5 miles we stumbled across a couple of guys at a campsite. One a completely loopy local who was drinking beer non-stop and entertaining the rest of us, and the other an aspiring hiker who’d spent about $100 at Walmart for his entire hiking kit. We’d also bumped in to group Americans during the day, Cade, Keba, Scattershot and another guy.

Ali and I at Hogpen Gap

Day 6: Former Rocky Knob Shelter

  • 11 miles
  • 25,500 steps
  • 210 floors

The 7 of us who’d camped together the previous night carried on hiking together aiming for about 8 miles, but all we could find were exposed campsites with howling gales so we carried on, eventually finding a campsite after about 11 miles.

Day 7: Unicoi Gap for Hiawassee

  • 3.5 miles
  • 8,500 steps
  • 71 floors

The weather forecast for tonight was thunderstorms so a night in town was in order giving us a nice easy day. Only 3.5 miles although there wasn’t even a single flat metre. Luckily at Unicoi Gap a group had set up some Trail Magic. I had one of the best burgers ever, along with Sprite, cake and crisps 😋. Then a shuttle in to town and a soak in the Holiday Inn Express hot tub - it’s a hard life.

Trail Magic at Unicoi Gap from Miss Janet and friends