Here is a quick photo of Hog Pen Gap, which is located on the Appalachian Trail. Just a short distance south of this point is the Walasi-Yi Center at Neel’s Gap where the trail crosses the mountains. In fact, the center’s breezeway contains the familiar white blaze that marks the AT. The trail actually runs through the structure. It’s the only building that actually sits on the trail. It’s here that thru hikers stop, repack, and unload items they realize they won’t use. I’ve written this before but I have found out new information.
The Mountain Crossings Center at Walasi-yi was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936 and completed in 1937. It was originally an inn and restaurant for the brave souls, who ventured this far into the wilderness. This is the oldest part of the AT. A hundred years before the trail was constructed, the Cherokee Indians had a path in this area. It was a major trade route and settlers often wrote about Frogtown Gap, the original name for Neel’s Gap.
The remains of the original Cherokee town are below the Walasi-yi Center. This portion of the AT climbs 800 feet in a mile and a half to the breath-taking vista on Hogpen Mountain.
I love visiting Neel’s Gap any time of the year. I always take the dogs but we did not go far this year along the AT. I’ll write more about that on the next post.
Isn’t this a cool looking structure and it’s located flat on the AT.
It always amazes me how many shoes are left behind at Neel’s Gap. Hikers who don’t have the right gear to hike the trail usually know it by the time they reach this point and shed the things that just don’t work. In the case of “shoes,” hikers leave their old ones behind (some toss them up in the generous oak that borders the center) and purchase new ones at the Mountain Crossings Walasi-Yi Center.