Day 4 was the day we planned to conquer Blood Mountain. We started at Woody Gap with an 8.2 mile uphill hike in front of us. We knew this was the ultimate test and uncertainty still loomed from Day 1. We then hiked back down another 2.3 miles or so down to the bottom at Neels Gap. Day 4 was also the first day of Home Depot volunteers showing support. Four associates from Home Depot’s corporate offices (Pratish, Dusty, Shawn, and Kim) showed up to join the hike. All four associates contributed in a huge way because all four walked in Carden's shoes, piggybacking her for both long and short distances. On the way to Blood Mountain, almost most everyone carried Carden including Shawn who is only 5’4 tall. This was a sign of her impeccable strength that she showed.
We had a triumphant victory at the top of the Blood Mountain and incredible views as well.
Spencer, Dusty, Clay, and Pratish had nice runs up the mountain, but it was Marshall's final push that was truly remarkable. Spencer, Marshall, and Pratish then had very nice runs on the way down, while Kim got her first run in and VA finished up the day with a very long harness carry.
Upon finishing the hike, we ended at the legendary Neels Gap, which has a building and a tree full of used boots put up there by former hikers passing through. Clay, Carden, Spencer, and Marshall stayed in the hiker hostel available there, got a hot shower, and then met and hung out with some fellow hikers. Virginia and Dad (Kurt) went home for the evening.
Sitting by the campfire that night, Spencer recalled, “by far my greatest high of the day was watching Marshall's final leg up Blood Mountain. He went such an incredible distance with Carden, up such a steep terrain, and it was such a triumphant victory, best view in Georgia that I've ever seen.”
While at the campfire, the low point of the day was the minor issues with the transitions between people. The trail leaders realized they needed to do a better job communicating at the start of the day and giving guidelines on how things work with the harness, transition, set down, etc. to the new volunteers. Additionally, it was a very taxing day physically for Carden, traveling 11.3 total miles from Woody to Neels.
Tomorrow, we will have 8 Home Depot associates hike alongside us which will be incredible support. While the trip feels longer on the body, the end is becoming near and near.
Day 4 hikers: Spencer, Marshall, Carden, Clay, Virginia, Dad, Shawn, Dusty, Kim, and Pratish
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