Day 47, April 30th

Been lazy with updating my blog. I will do some bullet points for the next couple entries.

-Stayed at Iron Mountain Shelter.

-Met a crazy person while taking a break and filling water. We called the ATC so they could notify the authorities.

Did 14.3 miles today.

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Day 46, April 29th

10 miles day today. But it was an awesome 10 mile day.

Left the Black Bear Resort around 10:30am. Great place and hope they keep doing a great job for all the hikers.

Beautiful day today. Sunny and warm. Glad we waited because 3 miles down the trail was an awesome waterfall. Laurel falls is beautiful!

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We hung out at the falls for about 20 minutes. Took pictures and rehydrated for the climb up Pond Flats. Just another 1600 foot climb in 2 miles. Normal day on the AT.

The climb wasn’t too bad and we made it over the top and had some lunch. We only had another 3-4 miles to go before the campsite so we took our time.

We arrived at US Route 321 at around 4:30pm. Wautaga Lake was across the road so we checked it out. It was a really nice park with a swimming area.

We took a long break and just hung out in the sun watching the ducks and geese. Gus chased sticks that we threw in the water and got soaked. It was Gus’s first time in a lake. He loved it. Think I created a monster. He didn’t want to get out.

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Once we got to the campsite Monk went to do some investigating of the surrounding area. He found a rope swing. Solo, Monk, and I had some fun and took turns swinging into the lake. The water was freezing but it was worth it.

After the rope swing we were soaked and cold so we went and gathered fire wood. Built a nice campfire and warmed up and dried our clothes.

The campsite has an amazing view of the mountains we just went over. Amazing in the setting sun. It’s a great day to be alive.

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Day 45, April 28th

Zero day at the Black Bear Resort near Hampton, TN.

-Happy Birthday Gentrye!!!

-Slept in until 10:30am.

-Poured all day. Glad me and Gus and the S.C. Goatherd are warm and dry!

-The owners gutter’s fell off their house and Me, Monk, Solo, and Grinch helped them take it down. We earned a free Guinness!

-Watched 4 movies in the Bear Den. Shawshank, Signs, Planet of the Apes, and As Good As It Gets.

-Ate a bunch of food. Not surprising.

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Day 44, April 27th

Stayed in the Mountaineer Shelter last night with Gus. Was very warm. We were all packed in like sardines.

Played and learned Euchre with Monk, Solo, and Coach before bed. Me and Coach got our butts kicked. First time for both me and Coach so it was expected.

We got up around 8:30am and got on the trail around 9:20am. We had a 15.6 mile day today to get to the Black Bear Resort. Weather is supposed to be rainy and cold tomorrow so we all decided to hit the hostel and see what happens.

We ate lunch by Hardcore Falls. Pretty nice. I ate an awesome sharp cheddar cheese and pepperoni on a tortilla. Plus a bunch of other snacks. I eat so much and I still am always hungry. This hiking is the best diet plan ever.

My knee is feeling great in the new brace I have. Hurt a little in the morning but other than that smooth sailing.

We were lucky in that we made it to Moreland Gap Shelter just as it started raining. We got hydrated and put on our rain gear and headed back out. Just another 6 miles to get to the road crossing and another 0.4 miles to the Black Bear Resort.

It rained the rest of the way to the hostel. Not too bad but glad to be out of the rain. Me, Coach, Monk, and Solo rented a cabin to stay the night.

We got shuttled into town by the owners and stopped at Browns Hardware and Dollar General to resupply into Damascus, VA. We also stopped at Subway and McDonalds to grab some food. I got a foot long sub and then a Big Mac with fries. Ate half the sub and the Big Mac and fries. Also ate two cookies. Stuffed. I haven’t ever eaten that much food in one sitting.

When we got back to the hostel we enjoyed some beer and watched Spaceballs and Out Cold in the Bear Den. The Bear Den is a room where they have a TV and computer for the hikers to use. Had a great time.

Decided we are taking a zero day tomorrow to stay out of the heavy storms coming through. We are becoming fair weather hikers. But we have all decided that once we hit Damascus, VA we are going to start doing higher mileage. I am itching to get more miles under my belt.

Talk with you all later.

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Day 43, April 26th

Lost the first version of this. Very frustrated at the moment and will update this some other time. Going to read now. Be back later.

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Day 42, April 25th

Zero day because Coach got the Noro.

-The breakfast at Mountain Harbour was amazing as described. Tons of food. I have pics!

-Gus played with Robert. The hostel owners dog. And also barked at horses and goats.

-Beat Solo and Monk at Scrabble at the Happy Cafe. Ate an egg salad bagel sandwich. Also we bought a dozen donuts. I got 2 raspberry filled for my self. Awesome.

-Bought an awesome knee brace. Pain is way less. Lets hope this trend continues.

-Resupplied for the next two days into Hampton, TN. Bought a lot more snacks since my hunger has been out of control.

-Watched Men In Black and hung out at the hostel before bed.

-Ordered a Kindle Paperwhite 3G and had it sent to the post office in Damascus, VA. About 5-6 days north.

-David was really nice and paid for our breakfast and also our stay. We did work for stay and got the second night for free also. We all spread mulch and cleaned up downed branches from the tenting area. Love this place.

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Day 41, April 24th

Did 15.8 miles today and completed our 2nd state. On to Tennessee.

Woke up at the Roan High Knob Shelter and was ready to go around 8:50am. Had a really nice climb up into the Roan Highlands. We were hiking on grassy balds all day.

We actually stopped to eat lunch and take a break at Overmountain Shelter. An old barn converted into a shelter. It was really awesome and beautiful. Felt like we had gone back in time. Wish my phone had battery to take pics, but there are no outlets on trees.

After lunch we had some pretty tough climbs up to some higher balds. It was awesome and really windy. Can’t describe how it feels to hike through that kind of terrain. Just makes me feel free and very happy to be doing what I am.

On the way up the last bald my right knee started to have really sharp pains. Coach took a look and figured I may have strained it. I think from overuse. But who knows. Knee pain is still a trend to my hike.

Fought through the pain and made it the last 4-5 miles to TN Route 19E. We are staying at the Mountain Harbour Hostel. We have been waiting for this since we left Erwin, TN. A guy named David that Coach met promised to buy us all breakfast. We have heard it is amazing.

The hostel is awesome. We were suppose to tent but the owners had already setup an 8 person tent. We have named it the mansion. I took a hot shower and watched All Dogs Go To Heaven.

Went to bed around 9:00pm and read until midnight. Ordering my Kindle before we leave in the morning.

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Day 40, April 23rd

Woke up late from the Apple Orchard around 8:30am. Left the camp around 10:30am. Sat around the fire for breakfast and took it easy.

Me, Monk, Coach, and Solo took a really long lunch at Clyde Smith Shelter. We met Artemus Gordon. He was taking a zero to rest his ankles or knees. We laid out in the sun and just enjoyed the afternoon.

Had a pretty easy climb up to Little Rock Knob. Had some nice views. Took some pics and moved on. Was dreading the climb up Roan Mountain because it was the end of the day.

Once we got on Roan Mountain I was surprised at all the switchbacks. It made the climb really easy. Can’t tell you how long it takes climbing a mountain by all switchbacks. Kind of annoys me. The trail was recently rerouted too.

We got to the Roan Mountain Shelter around 7:00pm. It is the highest shelter on the AT at 6194 feet. Supposedly it was supposed to be cold there but we found a nice spot in the attic. Nice and warm and out if the wind. First time me and Gus have slept in a shelter together.

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Day 39, April 22nd

Started the day at Indian Grave Gap. It was cold this morning. A lot colder than it had been recently. Must have been in the 30s while eating breakfast and packing up. The wind made it worse.

I read a lot last night and fell asleep around 10:00pm. I am thinking about getting a Kindle so I don’t waste the battery in my iPhone.

Started hiking around 9:15am and it turned into a beautiful day. The first mountain we climbed was called Beauty Spot. It had an exceptional view and an open grassy summit.

Me, Solo, and Coach got out of the wind after taking pictures and waited for Monk. He turned up about 10 minutes later and we moved on.

The next mountain we climbed was named Unaka. It was a 1000 foot climb. I felt great going up. The summit was covered in a spruce grove. Something we have not seen since the Smoky mountains. We stopped and ate lunch in the sun and enjoyed the scenery.

On the way down Unaka my right knee began to bother me. I didn’t slow down and just pushed on. I guess knee pain will be a trend of my thru-hike. Hopefully as I get stronger it will go away.

The rest of my group stopped at Cherry Gap Shelter and filled up their water bottles. I was waiting until we got to camp. We hung out there for about 20 minutes.

Another 4.1 miles later and I am sitting in my tent at the Apple Orchard. A really cool open field with semi flat ground. Mellow Jonny showed back up and gave me a PBR. Much needed.

Tons of thru-hikers here tonight. Tent city. Headstand, Two Packs, Candy Pants, Goat Man, Etcha-Sketch, Jungle Juice, and Michelle. Also my group: Han Solo, Coach, Monk, Mellow Jonny, and myself (Sticks).

Only a 13 mile day. We are taking it easy because Monk is getting off the trail to visit friends once we get to Roan Mountain, TN to visit friends. After that me, Solo, and Coach are going to start doing higher mileage again. Hopefully get to Damascus, VA in 10 days or so.

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Day 38, April 21st

Short day today. Only about 8-9 miles. Needed after yesterday’s long haul.

Woke up at the cabin around 8:00am. Took a hot shower and got ready for the day.

Weighed my pack with 4 days if food for me and Gus and it came to 28.7 lbs. pretty damn good. I was the lightest of the 4 I am hiking with. 🙂

Got on the trail around 10:30-11:00am. Once we started hiking my right knee was bothering me and I took it slow. I guess that’s what happens the day after a longer hike. Hopefully it feels better tomorrow.

Made it to Curley Maple Gap Shelter around 1:00pm. Are lunch and lounged around in the sun for 2 hours. Awesome break.

Left there around 3:00pm and we all decided to hike another 4.1 miles to Indian Grave Gap to spend the night.

Nice easy day. Little colder tonight. Supposed to be in the 30s. We all got in our tents around 7:00pm. I’m glad to be warm and out of the wind.

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