Hello, North Carolina!
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After an awful night's sleep, not so great weather overnight, and the promise of more lousy weather tomorrow, instead of going to Top of Georgia, and continuing on to the next shelter, I instead decided to take a "nero" (near-zero miles) day, and walked to Dicks Creek Gap, and got a shuttle into Hiawassee to stay at the Budget Inn here.
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I was uncertain how far I was going to push today. After dinner yesterday, I only had one more dinner left before needing to resupply. Foxtrot and Kemosabe graciously gave me some of their extra dehydrated meals, which gave me more options (in terms of confidence, anyway) of what to do the next two days. Tentative plan is to either push for Dicks Creek Gap and stay at Top of Georgia B&B, or go to one of the two shelters between Blue Mountain and there, and take a short day Sunday and only go as far as Dicks Gap.
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The severe weather we were expecting last night never showed up. From what we could tell, the storm split into two, and Whitley Gap happened to be right in the middle, so we got a little bit of rain that stopped around 7 or 8, and maybe a short follow-up around 2:30 am, but otherwise, it was a very nice moonlight foggy night.
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Got a late start today. Got a shower (and then back into the same dirty clothes, but feel much better anyway). Got some Shoe Goo to try to fix my shoes. (The right shoe started to delaminate at the front after repeatedly jamming it into rocks on the Blood Mountain ascent yesterday.) I also broke one of my poles yesterday (the top part pulled out of the lock attaching it to the middle movable piece), and was resigned to having to treat it delicately until I could get near an REI for an exchange (or buy new poles and ship these home), but one of the staff at Mountain Crossings overheard me talking to another hiker about it, and found some superglue to temporarily repair it. That seemed to have done the trick, though, and I left Neel Gap around 11:30 (and about five minutes up the trail was almost regretting not getting lunch).
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