All those in tents last night had a rough time in heavy rains. We had a dry but rough night in the shelter with heavily snoring companions – don’t think we will do shelters easily, our tent so much better.
Walked a short 7km to Neel’s Gap, the first major re-supply point. In reading memoirs of those having hiked the AT (and I have read quite a few – def more than 5) they all talk about going off trail into towns (to re-supply, having a meal, doing laundry, sleeping in a bed). I have always been a bit intrigued by the apparent ease with which this is done, hitch hiking into town and back. The hitch hiking part seems to have been replaced by paid-for-shuttle services, which works well but can become a significant expense. Anyway, we went into town (shared a shuttle with 2 interesting Iowa guys), mailed some non-essentials to a friend (this will make our packs lighter!), stocked up on food for next few days, had a beer and burger (bumped into our Iowa friends again, we got a round of drinks and cheers-ed: they said they have seen it on TV but never done it in real life!) and shuttled back to Neel’s Gap, where we were lucky enough to have booked one of 13 mountain cabins. They do your laundry for free – so we had a bath and a bag full of clean hiking gear and all set to put in a big day tomorrow
The tree outside the outdoor store – a custom of those making it all the way to Maine to come back and hung their final pair of shoes: