Just heard from Zak. He called from Hiawassee. Last year he went from Springer to Fontana in 10 days. Everyone told him to take it slow and enjoy his time, and he has really taken that to heart!
Day 1 - Stover Creek Shelter area
Day 2 - Gooch Mtn Shelter area. Ended up staying there all day of day three due to rain and high winds, and did a night hike to Woods Hole .
Day 4 - he hit Neels Gap, hung around with several people most of the day then hiked another 4 miles and hung his hammock a little off the trail.
Day 5 and 6 - Low Gap. Decided to sit out the rain. Guy there named Hillbilly and they decided to laugh at all the ones that came through and took off in the rain. He said there were some miserable wet and cold hikers, but they didn't sit out the rain and snow. Must have somewhere they need to be!
Truly enjoying every minute of the trail. In just a weeks time he has totally changed his view on this hike. Instead of "Katahdin or Bust", it's now stay in the woods for as long as possible! HYOH Zak, and enjoy the adventure.
His gear is holding up fine. The only problem he has had was his food bags. Using DWR and his oatmeal turned to mush! Bought some Sil bags at Neel's Gap and that problem solved.
He's going to keep some low miles for a few more days and see if Cannibal catches up with him. I think the bet is only good if the hammock on the ground is witnessed!