3-5-6 to 3-7-16 Neel’s Gap to Low Gap to Unicoi Gap, injured ankle causes Zero Day

Mar 5


At Neel’s we (the Trail Family we’d sorta formed) hit Mountain Crossings and stayed overnight in a nice cabin at Vogel State Park. It was a great and somewhat mildly raucous family-feeling night as I spoke a little last time I posted.

Sort of frustrating and annoying beforehand as at Mountain Crossings one mentioned getting a cabin for all of us and later mentioned 3 miles away but as I was waiting to finish my bounce box stuff there and check out they all disappeared without anyone telling me where we were actually to be.

So I spent a good 30-45 minutes trying to locate the group, not having any more info, no one’s phone number, none of the local shuttle people had seen them, Vogel had no on-location staff that could tell me if a group had come in, nothing.

It was pure luck that one of the friends of MC’s that was there finally heard me trying to find out and it was her husband who gave them all a ride, so she knew and drove me down to the cabin.

So I got there after almost an hour of wanting to punch somebody and then was just relieved and happy once I walked in the door and got settled in for the night, then had the pleasant time of a shower and chatting and sitting on the floor listening that I ended last post on.

After lovely night and awesome back rub, got booty, too.


Next morning we all got picked up by the young lady and that brought us down there and there were too many of us and our stuff to fit so we ended up with a bunch of us squeezed into one like back in high school.  It was an awesome end to the cabin night for me…  I think the count was 9 people in a 4 seat sedan.  I sat facing half-backwards on the top of the person in the passenger seat laying my head sideways on his shoulder to try and keep my neck from cricking as part of the day’s beginning.



Got hiking after unloading a bunch of things into the hiker box and bouncing the rest to Top of Georgia Hostel.

Was a great day, chilly or hot depending on where you were in the shadows or sunshine, top or bottom, of a peak.  Going along great first couple of miles and then WHAM my right ankle rolled under me hard and I went down onto all fours with it staying hurting enough that I stayed down a few moments to feel if the pain meant something serious.

It felt out as a nasty twist but walkable after a couple more moments of caution.  Fortunately/unfortunately a set of guys were resting at a view nearby and saw; one came running up asking if I was okay and if I needed help and I let him know it was a sprain and painful but I was okay.  Sweet thought of him.

Folks on the trail tend to try and help each other, are handy and friendly.

Babied the ankle the rest of the day and it felt just fine after a while.  Found myself caught leapfrogging with gals from my group.  The sun got really nice and it was a lot of tapping downhill in the fun way of growing up in that sorta land of rock and roots.

By end of day the ankle started being a problem and I also drank myself dry from the last real water source before Low Gap.  A couple of miles of slow pain, a long while without water anymore, and by hitting Low Gap I hated everyone and everything. Just ugly and not actually hateful, just miserable is all.

Walking into shelter area I eyed the tenting areas coming in and headed to main area for water and let folks known I’d arrived but really just wanted to sit, get water, get away until I was human again.


A few pics of my ankle then:


My normal left ankle.

2016-03-05 17.59.25


My hurt right ankle.

2016-03-05 17.59.25


Comparison from front.

2016-03-05 18.00.32


Father of two Israelis who I like and respect a lot jumped over and helped me off my pack, apparently I was clearly showing how I was doing.  I took some time and then got the water and went up and established my tent and cooked some food.

Had dehydrated split pea soup and Ramen. God my dehydrated soups I made have been delicious and easy to make.

I could barely really walk with the swelling that started but was enough to get down later and enjoy gab at the fire for a while til it got too chilly.

Bad/dark humor jokes were the run of the night and the folks found from my two friends that Israelis tell the best Holocaust jokes… Enough so that some folks clearly got uncomfortable hahaha.  Funny also was when they would try to think of more and complain/comment that no, that one didn’t translate well…

On the lighter jokes mixed in I had the urge to share my muffin and penguin jokes but held back since I know well my poor abilities in humor. I choose rather carefully when and where to break them out lol.

By night my ankle was barely walkable but I was able to go slowly up the hill and grit my teeth and keep my mouth shut, if I recall correctly.


Mar 6


Next morning couldnt get get by food bag almost as my ankle was 3X it’s normal size and I actually *was* at a 7 on the pain scale and couldn’t get there and back without calling out a few times from hurting steps.

No way I could reasonably get out to next pickup spot (for survival, yes, to function and not do very serious pain and/or more damage to ankle, no) and the gals from my Trail Family had tented nearby and talked to me a little of my problem.  On their way out they double checked I had Mama’s number to get in contact if I needed emergency help out.


Pics of my ankle this next day that caused the Zero Day decision:


2016-03-06 09.58.41

2016-03-06 09.58.51

2016-03-06 09.59.21


Group of family of guys zeroing above me overheard and father came down and told me to yell up if I needed anything, that he had a bad back and understood what it was like.

Later that day I did end up yelling up that I’d appreciate it if the next time they went down if they’d grab me some water.  One of the teens came down right away to grab my bag.  I repeated that I just meant when they were already going a dn he replied he wasn’t doing anything. Lol.  I thanked him and he brought me my three liters full like a sweetheart.

The days was an amazing one to spend as a zero somewhere. The sun got warm enough I sat outside and read for a while and just enjoyed nature with my book.  I later opened and flipped up the sun side of my tarp so thst I was in the open air and sun while I sat and laid down in my tent. I rested, wrapped, rotated gently, etc. my ankle throughout the day. Also took the opportunity to do some of the floor stretches I hadn’t had time for during moving days or in front of people.

[yt4wp-video video_id=”MzXPL1J03Jc”]


By next morning ankle was down to 1.5x size and I was able to do next 9.7 miles to Unicoi Gap to get picked up by Top of GA.

2016-03-06 10.30.04


Oh, and just a fun little snap of my knees to show the ongoing shift of my Bruise pattern lol.

2016-03-06 10.28.53



Mar 7


Got to Unicoi Gap and picked up by the Top of Georgia for baby in my ankle some more. Pics to show how it had gone down a good amount and a clearer lighted view of the knees.

2016-03-07 18.56.13

2016-03-07 18.56.52

2016-03-07 18.57.09

2016-03-07 18.57.35



A Groovy part of TOG hostel is when you want to have your laundry done you get a basket and scrubs, plus a towel to use for your shower.

This combo makes it so you can shower, put on clean scrubs, place allll of your dirty clothing and not have to wear your semi-healthy Town Clothes or such, give them the basket of dirty clothes and later they return it clean on your bunk.

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