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View Full Version : Food at Neels Gap/Mountain Crossings



NickDezern
02-21-2013, 19:43
I searched for awhile but couldnt find much info on the food selection/prices at Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap. Any info would be much appreciated!

SCRUB HIKER
02-21-2013, 19:52
Everyone on this site complains about the prices, but whatever. You can do a full resupply there. My grand total was about $15 when I resupplied there in 2011. Baltimore Jack was there and hooked up me, and possibly lots of other people, with some free food (Idahoan potato packets, gravy and olive oil).

Neels Gap is the type of place that I never knew anyone complained about until I got on WhiteBlaze after my hike and suddenly the consensus was that they are evil opportunists and price-gougers. Not my experience IRL at all.

Biggie Master
02-21-2013, 20:07
Can't speak to the selection or the prices these days, but you can't beat the convenience of a resupply and a HOT shower right there on your route! I have been a happy customer on several occasions. To me it's worth supporting their business just to keep these options available.

Teacher & Snacktime
02-21-2013, 20:08
There's a Forum thread somewhere that talks about the prices at Neels Gap at length. The consensus was that the prices are equivalent to a convenience store, which makes sense given it's size. The real thing to be concerned with is variety apparently, as they can sell out in Mar/Apr when the wave of Thruhikers comes through. I have no actual experience here mind, I'm just regurgitating the info I read.


I personally would hang around and make enough purchases there to enable me to meet the owner Winton Porter. I just finished his book "Just Passin' Thru" and I absolutely loved it. I'm hoping when I get there next spring there'll be a copy for sale and I can get him to sign it.

Chris10
02-21-2013, 20:08
If you spend the night there, is there any place to get a bite to eat?

Northern Lights
02-21-2013, 20:15
If you spend the night there, is there any place to get a bite to eat?

If you spend the night there, Pirate cooks dinner. He had sloppy joes on the go when I was there. I was invited to a cabin for dinner so I can't say how good the food was but I hear Pirate is quite the cook.

ETA: I don't know that the meal is part of the fee for staying and showering there, but there is a donation jar so donate accordingly. I found Pirate very hospitable and I enjoyed the wine he offered me.

Chris10
02-21-2013, 20:55
Donations for a good meal and company is not a problem! Thanks!

Teacher & Snacktime
02-21-2013, 21:45
If you spend the night there, Pirate cooks dinner. He had sloppy joes on the go when I was there. I was invited to a cabin for dinner so I can't say how good the food was but I hear Pirate is quite the cook.

ETA: I don't know that the meal is part of the fee for staying and showering there, but there is a donation jar so donate accordingly. I found Pirate very hospitable and I enjoyed the wine he offered me.

According to "the book", the meal is free and up to Pirate's discretion whether or not to cook. The donation goes to replenishing his larder.

Old Boots
02-21-2013, 21:48
I don't understand the problem with Mountain Crossing. They are helpful, friendly and hospitable. A small donation and Pirate gives you wonderful meal. 30 miles on the At, and you can't wait to get there.

wornoutboots
02-21-2013, 21:55
They have some frozen pizzas you can cook & small items like that to fill up on if you're hiking on & not stopping. I wouldn't worry too much about a resupply there, grab a few things & stay if you like, then pack light out of there. Helen is 2 days away & then Hiawassee is another day or 2 after that. I bounced into all of those towns & right back out after a quick hitch & walked very light from Neels to the NOC.

Coosa
02-21-2013, 22:08
Send yourself a resupply box, well marked, and I think it costs like a buck or two for them holding it.

You can always spend the night at Goose Creek Cabins and get their ride into town to eat and shop. Call and they'll pick you up at Mountain Crossings and shuttle you back the next morning.

I used to live in Blairsville and IMHO Winton and the people at Mountain Crossings have always been courteous and helpful to everyone. I would suggest that those who complain are the either blowing something out of proportion or are angry at themselves for buying heavy gear and deciding to spend money to replace it with lighter gear at Mountain Crossings.

YMMV, Coosa

achilles
02-22-2013, 06:16
The hiker box should provide for most of your resupply there. Make the most of the dumped gear while it lasts.

yellowsirocco
02-22-2013, 08:24
My beef with Mountain Crossings is they only carry newbie thru hiker type food. I like more interesting foods like fresh bread. I don't do Liptons or Ramens, just a few potatos, and no freeze dried stuff. I do realize that most of their market is wanting crap food and hasn't branched out to real foods yet.

10-K
02-22-2013, 09:01
It costs money to resupply (the hiking part is free though....) and Mountain Crossings is not even close to the most expensive resupply options you'll see - particularly if you make it to Harper's Ferry.

Almost There
02-22-2013, 09:31
They're an outfitter, and you want them to carry fresh food three days into a hike??? I would never expect to do grocery shopping at an outfitter. People who hike the AT are priveledged compared to the other long trails. Geesh.

bigcranky
02-22-2013, 09:32
You can always spend the night at Goose Creek Cabins and get their ride into town to eat and shop.

I was wondering if Goose Creek was still open. We stayed there ten years ago in a downpour, and thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife and I are hiking the GA section again in April, and I was hoping to stay there. Thanks for the info.

max patch
02-22-2013, 09:33
Its not like you're leaving Mountain Crossings for the wilderness. If ya like the food they have buy enough to last 40 miles and head into Hiawassee. Don't like what they have buy enough to last 20 miles and head into Hiawassee.

flemdawg1
02-22-2013, 11:52
Quote from a previos Mtn Crossings thread: "Prices are around 20% higher for hiker food than you'd pay at a normal grocery or Walmart, with some things being extravagantly high (I paid $7 for a small tube of toothpaste). Also they can and do run out of some items during peak hiker season, I arrived on April 4th and they were out of pita bread and tortillas (I bought the $7 toothpaste, a knorr side, a spam pack, and a pack of bagles, and went 2 days more to Helen where they have an expensive small grocery store and a Dollar General (go there first)).".

For the quote above, I was accused of "complaining". I simply gave what I thought was an accurate non-opinionated report of what I observed when I visited. Baltimore Jack disputed my purchase of $7 toothpaste. But the reality is they were out of other brands of toothpaste and some food items on perhaps the busiest hiker weekend of the year for them. (I think Mtn Squid counted around 150 hikers at Springer Mtn on April 1). And the only brand I could find in the store was Kiss My Face Aloe Vera Whitening, I'd forgotten my toothpaste 3 days prior and paid "stupid tax" so I wouldn't have to go without for 2 more days. (Is it possible that I missed the $1 tube of Colgate? Yes, and if I'd been a abit more patient at 7:30 or 8 Am whenever they'd just opened I'm sure a nice employee would helped me find it, if I'd asked.) MC is a fine store with excellent employees, but they are not Holy shrine with monks. They provide a extremely convenient shop for hikers, and they make a profit. Nothing wrong with that either. I was happy to do business with them and will do it again if/when I rehike that section.

FWIW, Betty's Country Store in Helen, was just as or more expensive.

wornoutboots
02-22-2013, 12:01
FWIW, Betty's Country Store in Helen, was just as or more expensive.


I agree Betty's is a luxury store, with many vegetarian options & the freshest produce so you do pay more, but its a great option for anyone looking at resupplying with "Healthy foods". If not, there is a Dollar Store (as mentioned before) in Helen as well. I love Helen, to me it would be a "must" stop, not everyday you can walk through a replica of a Swiss Alpine Village. & when I hike, I always bounce in & out of the small towns as part of my hike. I also enjoyed Mountain Crossings, I ate a Pizza, a few other items, grabbed a few items for my feedbag, rested for an hour or 2 then headed out. It's all about HYOH so Enjoy!

yellowsirocco
02-22-2013, 12:05
They're an outfitter, and you want them to carry fresh food three days into a hike??? I would never expect to do grocery shopping at an outfitter. People who hike the AT are priveledged compared to the other long trails. Geesh.

Son, reread what I said above. I dislike their selection, but understand why they carry what they carry.

Neel's Gap does enough volume to carry fresh bread during thru hiker season, but hikers are stupid and fixated dehydrated junk. I was sitting at a notch this summer having part of my baguette and a group came up and they just couldn't believe someone had bread in the woods. It is like they never thought about eating anything other than crap hiker food.

max patch
02-22-2013, 12:05
and went 2 days more to Helen where they have an expensive small grocery store and a Dollar General (go there first)).".



Haven't needed a Handbook for a couple years so don't know if this has been changed, but for some reason the Handbooks send you to Helen from Unicoi and Hiawassee from Dicks Creek Gap. Just as easy (actually easier now that Ron Haven gives free shuttles) to get to Hiawassee from Unicoi. Hiawassee has better hiker services than Helen. Maybe the authors want to spread the hiker wealth around. :)

10-K
02-22-2013, 12:10
I don't get this thread. Who needs a resupply 30 miles into a hike from MC with Hiawasse just up the trail?

At best MC is good for a luxury stop. Am I missing something ?

Rasty
02-22-2013, 12:13
I don't get this thread. Who needs a resupply 30 miles into a hike from MC with Hiawasse just up the trail?

At best MC is good for a luxury stop. Am I missing something ?

Fourth or Fifth day for a lot of hikers if adding the approach trail?

Lone Wolf
02-22-2013, 12:14
I don't get this thread. Who needs a resupply 30 miles into a hike from MC with Hiawasse just up the trail?

At best MC is good for a luxury stop. Am I missing something ?

i agree and SO many re-outfit there as well as buy food. they make a killin'

Lone Wolf
02-22-2013, 12:14
i agree and SO many re-outfit there as well as buy food. they make a killin'

SOBO is the way to go

wornoutboots
02-22-2013, 12:20
I think it's because more & more hikers start out doing low low miles at the beginning say @ 5 a day? For me, I passed through MC, went into Helen, stayed at Super 8, swam in their heated pool ;) , ate at "the Hayloft", hit the dollar store then hitched out the next day & hiked into Hiawassee for dinner that night. I know roughing it Eh' but hey it was pouring when I hit the road crossing so I stuck my thumb out & the 1st car stopped & gave me a lift :)

max patch
02-22-2013, 12:37
I don't get this thread. Who needs a resupply 30 miles into a hike from MC with Hiawasse just up the trail?

At best MC is good for a luxury stop. Am I missing something ?

If you want to carry 5 or 6 days a food from Springer instead of 3 then don't buy from Mountain Crossings. No brainer since you walk right thru the store.

10-K
02-22-2013, 12:45
If you want to carry 5 or 6 days a food from Springer instead of 3 then don't buy from Mountain Crossings. No brainer since you walk right thru the store.

I think if you need 6 days worth of food to go 30 miles you should not say a word about the cost of food at Mountain Crossings....

Not trying to sound like a smart ass but you should know going in that your hike is going to cost more if you're only hiking 5-6 miles a day.

Two Speed
02-22-2013, 12:46
Who needs a resupply 30 miles into a hike from MC with Hiawasse just up the trail?I suspect there's a pretty fair overlap between the group that "needs" a resupply in MTX and those that get stressed out about not being able to camp between Jarrard Gap and MTX w/o a bear canister.

flemdawg1
02-22-2013, 12:47
Hiawassee has better hiker services than Helen. Maybe the authors want to spread the hiker wealth around. :)

I would argue that Helen has more lodging (but no hostel) and restaurants choices. And is laid out more conveniently for a walking tourist.

And I like beer and German food.

Nothing wrong with either place.

max patch
02-22-2013, 13:08
If you want to carry 5 or 6 days a food from Springer instead of 3 then don't buy from Mountain Crossings. No brainer since you walk right thru the store.


I think if you need 6 days worth of food to go 30 miles you should not say a word about the cost of food at Mountain Crossings....

Not trying to sound like a smart ass but you should know going in that your hike is going to cost more if you're only hiking 5-6 miles a day.

Not what I said.

3 days to get to Mountain Crossings. Then 2 or 3 days to get to Unicoi or Dicks Creek.

10-K
02-22-2013, 13:15
Not what I said.

3 days to get to Mountain Crossings. Then 2 or 3 days to get to Unicoi or Dicks Creek.

Gotcha, sorry.

Ewker
02-22-2013, 13:21
If you want to carry 5 or 6 days a food from Springer instead of 3 then don't buy from Mountain Crossings. No brainer since you walk right thru the store.


That is what I did. I didn't see any reason to resupply after 30 miles. The person I hiked with carried enough food to get to MC but 2 weeks before we left she sent her resupply to them. It never made it so she had to buy food and other things.

Almost There
02-22-2013, 14:56
Son, reread what I said above. I dislike their selection, but understand why they carry what they carry.

Neel's Gap does enough volume to carry fresh bread during thru hiker season, but hikers are stupid and fixated dehydrated junk. I was sitting at a notch this summer having part of my baguette and a group came up and they just couldn't believe someone had bread in the woods. It is like they never thought about eating anything other than crap hiker food.

No, I got what you said, and was referencing your bread comment. They're not a grocery, and most of the year they don't carry any food at all. To set up an account to sell fresh bread is ridiculous, they're 10 plus miles from the closest town. It's not like Hot Springs where they sit in the middle of a town. If you want bread then get them to hitch you into town, and buy it at the grocery store.

They carry what they do because of the shelf life, and because it sells.

I prefer fresh as well, and so when I hike through there, I have enough food to get me further up the trail, or as stated, I have paid for a shuttle into town, had a good dinner, and gotten food at the grocery store (a Food Lion I believe).

Almost There
02-22-2013, 15:00
SOBO is the way to go

The older I get the more I agree with this idea if I ever thru the AT. Having hiked the Wilderness in June of 2008, there were about 5-10 of us that kept crossing each other's paths. We could shelter just about every night, and there was no crowd...and this was at the beginning of the hike...but if most started at Katahdin, Wolf, then most would quit the first day.:banana

10-K
02-22-2013, 15:06
The older I get the more I agree with this idea if I ever thru the AT. Having hiked the Wilderness in June of 2008, there were about 5-10 of us that kept crossing each other's paths. We could shelter just about every night, and there was no crowd...and this was at the beginning of the hike...but if most started at Katahdin, Wolf, then most would quit the first day.:banana

I remember reading the shelter logs as I got close to Baxter State Park and how many SOBOs commented on how hard the trail was starting to get - they had no idea what was just ahead of them. :)

Were I to start a thru it would definitely be a SOBO or a May 1 start from Springer.

RockDoc
02-22-2013, 15:15
I think you should be able to make Hiawasee on your initial packing, if you are putting in full hiking days (2mphx8 hrs=16 miles). Come on, it's an easy trail.
The people doing 5 mpd must be spending about 20+ hrs/day just dawdling.

max patch
02-22-2013, 15:20
I think you should be able to make Hiawasee on your initial packing, if you are putting in full hiking days (2mphx8 hrs=16 miles). Come on, it's an easy trail.
The people doing 5 mpd must be spending about 20+ hrs/day just dawdling.

Of course you can. Just no sense in carrying an extra 5 pounds of food plus or minus when you can resupply at a store that is not 1 step out of the way.

ChinMusic
02-22-2013, 15:21
I am gladly planning on a resupply at MC. Just saving me from carrying an extra few days of food from the start is well worth the tiny increase in food price.

Why would someone choose to carry more food from the start when MC is right there?

Sly
02-22-2013, 15:31
Son, reread what I said above. I dislike their selection, but understand why they carry what they carry.

Neel's Gap does enough volume to carry fresh bread during thru hiker season, but hikers are stupid and fixated dehydrated junk. I was sitting at a notch this summer having part of my baguette and a group came up and they just couldn't believe someone had bread in the woods. It is like they never thought about eating anything other than crap hiker food.

Does a bread truck do the route or do you expect MX to drive to Blairsville and pay retail prices?

Sly
02-22-2013, 15:34
Haven't needed a Handbook for a couple years so don't know if this has been changed, but for some reason the Handbooks send you to Helen from Unicoi and Hiawassee from Dicks Creek Gap. Just as easy (actually easier now that Ron Haven gives free shuttles) to get to Hiawassee from Unicoi. Hiawassee has better hiker services than Helen. Maybe the authors want to spread the hiker wealth around. :)

I answered your complaint in another thread, and added the option, so maybe you need to buy a 2013 Companion!?

jbsbestfan
02-22-2013, 16:02
I agree with Chin.......if I can shave a few pounds at the cost of a few extra dollars, I am all in. I don't believe there is a wrong or right way though. If you want to pay for convenience, do it. If you want to take more time from hiking and go to a town to save a few bucks, do it. Have been amazed on many occasions by people who would walk 5 miles to save 5 bucks.
I felt like MC's supply was what I would have expected from a business perspective. I dont imagine fresh bread or veggies or fruit would work other than maybe late march or april. Wouldnt be enough takers.

max patch
02-22-2013, 16:06
I answered your complaint in another thread, and added the option, so maybe you need to buy a 2013 Companion!?

You're right, I do need to get a new Companion and I will.

ChinMusic
02-22-2013, 17:23
I wish someone hadn't mentioned fresh bread. Now I will be thinking about it at the 30-mile mark.

Sly
02-22-2013, 17:39
You're right, I do need to get a new Companion and I will.

Thanks. Any other suggestions will be happy to try and oblige.

Sly
02-22-2013, 17:42
I wish someone hadn't mentioned fresh bread. Now I will be thinking about it at the 30-mile mark.

Subway on wheels.

10-K
02-22-2013, 17:45
Chin, Have your wife overnight you a maildrop with fresh bread the day before you get there!

10-K
02-22-2013, 17:47
Savvy hikers who read whiteblaze now know they can send a mail drop to mountain crossings with all the goodies they need.

Up to and including fresh bread and produce.

:)

atmilkman
02-22-2013, 17:52
I am gladly planning on a resupply at MC. Just saving me from carrying an extra few days of food from the start is well worth the tiny increase in food price.

Why would someone choose to carry more food from the start when MC is right there?
Ditto.


I wish someone hadn't mentioned fresh bread. Now I will be thinking about it at the 30-mile mark.
Double ditto.

flemdawg1
02-24-2013, 17:01
Oops. Found the aforementioned $7 toothpaste tube in my bathroom drawer today.

Actual price $2.79. My bad.

Jack Tarlin
02-27-2013, 23:44
Funny thread, especially the comment about the "reality" is that Mountain Crossings occasionally runs out of things on really busy weekends. Yes. I acknowledge this. That is indeed reality, as it is in any other retail establishment during really busy times. Stores run out of things sometimes, especially little stores. I wasn't aware that this "reality" was some kind of secret.

For those keeping track of such things: The most popular toothpaste presently in stock (as of this afternoon) was listed at $1.79. It also comes with a toothbrush, so this seems pretty reasonable to me. And as has been previously mentioned, anyone unhappy or uncertain about what is available here at Mountain Crossings is welcome to send a parcel ahead of time, and the staff will happily hold it for you. Or one can hitch or walk to Wal-Mart where prices are lower and they tend to stock things in larger quantities. It's only around 20 miles away. In any case, we try and make people happy here and we help them as much as we can. I'd like to think that our efforts in this direction generally succeed.

Rasty
02-28-2013, 09:51
Funny thread, especially the comment about the "reality" is that Mountain Crossings occasionally runs out of things on really busy weekends. Yes. I acknowledge this. That is indeed reality, as it is in any other retail establishment during really busy times. Stores run out of things sometimes, especially little stores. I wasn't aware that this "reality" was some kind of secret.

For those keeping track of such things: The most popular toothpaste presently in stock (as of this afternoon) was listed at $1.79. It also comes with a toothbrush, so this seems pretty reasonable to me. And as has been previously mentioned, anyone unhappy or uncertain about what is available here at Mountain Crossings is welcome to send a parcel ahead of time, and the staff will happily hold it for you. Or one can hitch or walk to Wal-Mart where prices are lower and they tend to stock things in larger quantities. It's only around 20 miles away. In any case, we try and make people happy here and we help them as much as we can. I'd like to think that our efforts in this direction generally succeed.

$1.78 has a better sound to it!

I feel your pain with the pricing for a small store. Your options for purchasing groceries are very limited due to minimum orders with distributors. Too many expect wal-mart pricing everywhere without any consideration that you can't purchase at wal-mart costs.

Chris10
03-01-2013, 19:23
The thing is, if the place closed up shop, people would be complaining, and wishing it would reopen. Personally, I'll be glad to stop in, and hopefully spend the night when I pass through this year.

Altarboy
03-02-2013, 22:23
Gear prices are in line.My brother bought a hammock and some suspension stuff.We ate at the hostel-pork chops by Pirate. Great night. My resupply filled up my pack with too much food. My brother and I sent home some clothes, crocks, and even some food we didn't want to carry. I didn't see their food prices.

hobby
03-02-2013, 23:23
having been a small business owner---I appreciate this fine establishment run by Winton, Pirate, and the rest of his staff. Always helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. Their supplies are more than adequate for resupply and fairly priced for the convenience. They know what hikers need, and stock accordingly. I live about 1 hour from MCX and purchase most of my large gear items there. It is closer for me to go to REI, Dicks, etc but for the quality of equipment and service, I make the drive to MCX. Quality equipment cost some money, but you cant always get the excellent service that they provide. There could not be a better place for hikers, many that are inexperienced, hurting, and in need of help, than MCX.



Funny thread, especially the comment about the "reality" is that Mountain Crossings occasionally runs out of things on really busy weekends. Yes. I acknowledge this. That is indeed reality, as it is in any other retail establishment during really busy times. Stores run out of things sometimes, especially little stores. I wasn't aware that this "reality" was some kind of secret.

For those keeping track of such things: The most popular toothpaste presently in stock (as of this afternoon) was listed at $1.79. It also comes with a toothbrush, so this seems pretty reasonable to me. And as has been previously mentioned, anyone unhappy or uncertain about what is available here at Mountain Crossings is welcome to send a parcel ahead of time, and the staff will happily hold it for you. Or one can hitch or walk to Wal-Mart where prices are lower and they tend to stock things in larger quantities. It's only around 20 miles away. In any case, we try and make people happy here and we help them as much as we can. I'd like to think that our efforts in this direction generally succeed.