Monday, May 7, 2012


Woke up yesterdays still lightly raining after some sideways rain all night. No real plans for mileage gods were ever established, but I had a good idea of what I wanted to do.
Immediately after getting on the trail, the ROAN mountain climb began. The first shelter of the day was 7 miles up the trail. All uphill. On the way up I ran into Bat, Orange Lightening, and Yappy, as well as newly acquainted Hawkeye.
Got to the shelter and got out of my rain soaked shirt while I ate an early lunch. As I was eating (at the Roan high Knob shelter; both the highest shelter on the trail and the first one with a closed door but usable attic style loft) in stumbles the ill prepared Hakeye proclaiming that he is hypothermic and can't move his fingers. Quickly helped him into his only dry {thin} jacket and opened up his pack looking for food to help him warm up.
I should have recognized the signs he was giving on the ascent; the fatigue, confusion, and cold, mixed with the wet day we were having presented a prime opportunity for hypothermia to strike.
Once that crisis was averted, continued my hike down the other side of Roan into some chilly but clear weather on the other side. Across a road I went, where the weekenders were out in full force.
Stopped for a quick snack at Stan Murray shelter, but knowing that Overmountain shelter was just 2 miles away helped me move on quickly. The trail led up over a viewless summit and back down to a crosstrail where I saw a plaque.
It explained how during the Revolutionary War soldiers used this pass to avoid going over certain hills, and the farmers who owned this land would allow troops to stay there. Now, the renovated barn is used as a shelter for hikers. It was cool to look at, but I didn't want to stay there, even though this one had an attic as well.
After Overmountain shelter came a bald. A rather large, open unprotected area, on the very top of a mountain with views encompassing me. Well...almost. My luck with balds and the weather is shit. And not only did it rain, it rained sideways with winds up to 40mph. Did I mention that the bald was nearly 2 miles long? I laughed as I knew it was the last day North Carolina had to mess with me.
The find crossing of the NC-TN border came as I was headed towards the site of the now demolished Apple House shelter. I pulled in with every intention to camp there. But then I heard about the steakhouse. The "King of the road" restaurant just 0.5 miles up the road that was coming up in 0.5 miles. Half hour till a steak dinner? I think so. I drank some water and got moving. I knew what I wanted and I was going to get it. The signs were blurry at first- far away. But then I drew nearer and saw it. The stick in my spokes. The kryptonite to my eating Powers. The sign that said"We'l reopen thur April 5".
I sat in their parking lot, defeated. Pissed, that they hadn't warned us on their signs on the trail, as I rolled and ate a consolation peanut butter wrap.
Checked the guidebook and saw a dinner listed another 1.3 miles up the road
 "Fuck it, I'm going" I said as I resolved to eat something worthwhile soon.
While waling I threw out the hitchhikers thumb hoping someone would pick me up. Passing a house two dogs came running to me barking and their owner comes to get them asks where I'm trying to get to. WhenI say "just to the dinner" she offers me a ride, and on the way there extends an invitation to sleep in her shop next to her house.
After my double cheeseburger, I walked over to the Beer store and got $10 worth of snacks and one 16oz PBR to have as lunches for the next 2 days. Shoved all of it in the top of my pack and began my short walk back to my new favorite stranger's house.
Made it back, showered and slept FAR better than I expected to that night. What a treat. Truly great.
When I left this morning I left a thankyou note on her computer, with the address of my blog on it, so I hope she sees this.
Walking backto the trail I bumped into Orange Lightening who said T.C. may still be at the hostel, so I quickly walked the 0.3 mles to the house at the bottom of the hill. Sure enough his tent was outside, but talking to the (?) revealed that he had slack packed today instead. I checked the hiker box and found some hot chocolate and chewy bars whiich was nice. Then I got on my way.
Only went 9 miles today, easy terrain, but didn't want to do the 27 miles to (?) hostel in one day so here I am after walking all day with Bat and Bugger (who both kept going) at the Mountaineer Falls shelter (3 stories with a bear totem in the "master suite" upstairs loft) with Flagstaff and 2 older, but very fun, nice section hikers (one of whom is snoring right now) who gave us their extra food  like oatmeal, chewy bars, and even a home made, dehydrated chicken pad tai. Looking forward to cooking that.
Getting up early to try and get to (?) before the shuttle to Hampton leaves so I can get some real resupplydone there.

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