Today feels like it has in itself been a week.  

Last night’s solitary camping led to deep sleep, that us until Ryan woke up and called his dad at 4:30 in the morning.  I awoke to him taking about owls hooting, thinking he was talking in his sleep.  

At 8am, we called Blood Mountain Cabins and reserved the last cabin they had available, then we packed up camp again.  We are getting better at packing up.  The mornings are still cool.  The sunrise was beautiful.

We stepped off with our breakfast in our pocket, hoping to arrive at Neel’s Gap shortly after lunch.

We made the arduous trek up Blood Mountain, and met up with some of our hiking pals.

Pictures cannot capture the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis.  To reach these summits however means that our muscles feel as though they might spontaneously combust!

The descent on this particular mountain was far more challenging than the ascent!  Our knees were screaming by the time we meet the flattened trail again.  

Ryan and I had our first ‘moment’ of disagreement.  Until now, we have hiked in rhythm.  Striding ahead and waiting. Waiting and striding ahead.  There was a moment when I had seen Riley take a shortcut… But didn’t see the rest of the group.  As I hiked on, I picked up my pace hoping to see the group together again.  The father I hiked, the faster I went, but didn’t see anyone.  I started to worry that maybe Riley had gone off the path.  Little did I know he was with the group.  When I finally meet up with Ryan, I was in panic mode.  My thoughts had run away into the fear rhelm.  We had to take a moment and come back together, not only physically but mentally.  In the past this could have covered the rest of the day with a tension that could be cut with a knife, but we have been learning to listen better… To hear eachother through the fear and anxiety.  Within moments we had resolved the conflict and made a plan to communicate better while hiking.  It’s growth for us.

Arriving at Neel’s Gap, we quickly made our way into Mountain Crossings to collect the boxes that had been mailed ahead.  When they asked our name, we said Owen… The whole staff turned and looked and said… “THE RYAN OWEN?”  We learned that we have set a record for most packages mailed to this location for one hiker.  Little did they know it was actually for eight of us!

We devoured the homemade chocolate chip cookies that had been sent to us in a care package from our friends, the Fishers.  We shared all of the treats with nearby hikers!!! Everyone was happy to taste a morsal of homemade goodness!

We trucked down to Blood Mountain Cabins with all of our boxes, checked into our cabin, and the showers commenced!  The showers did not disappoint!  

After getting cleaned up, we called Ms Jane.  She met us at Neel’s Gap and took us for Pizza.  We  managed to consume FIVE large pizzas.  Then we stopped at Walmart to gather a few supplies.

As soon as we returned to our cabin, some of the Warrior Expeditions crew brought down breakfast for the morning.  Apparently, some folks from a local church brought them a whole mess of food… And they had enough to share!

We hung out with our new friends for awhile.  Justin and Wella Jay, are two of them!!! They are super awesome warriors from Alaska.  Check out their website at

It has been a great day!  Tomorrow, we plan to sleep in a bit, and let our bodies rest. BTW… Did I mention that the lovely folks here at Blood Mountain Cabins even did our laundry?  Doesn’t get any better!!!  Sweet dreams, and  Happy Trails!

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