Flip flopping slack packers (38.6m)

As indicated in the title above, I’m going to start including my total mileage from Springer in parentheses; I’ll keep up this trend for the duration of my time on the AT.

Due to the poor weather today — and not wishing to take another zero — we (Scootini, Olive Oyl, Karen, and I) decided to take a shuttle to Hogpen Gap which is 6.9m north from Neel Gap and at least get some miles in. None of us fancied sleeping outside tonight due to weather system “Virgil” dumping snow and heavy winds in the area, so we decided to hike this section essentially backwards (known as flip flopping) and finish back at the cabin.

As we didn’t need to carry most of our overnight gear (shelter, sleeping bags, cooking gear and most of our food), we took minimal gear in our packs, and this is typically known as “slack packing”. Slack packing means you can hike faster and longer, and today it meant we could get some mileage in instead of taking a complete zero.

Tonight and tomorrow is meant to be pretty brassic (1-9°F highs) so we’re going to get dropped off at Hogpen Gap at around 8:30am, and we are hoping to hit Unicoi Gap at mile marker 52.9, which is 14.3m north. We’ll get picked up from Unicoi and dropped off back at the cabin tomorrow night.

The weather for the rest of the week looks better so we’re hoping to get out of Neel Gap for good very soon.


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