Miles hiked today: 6.6
Miles hiked total: 69.6
Miles to go: 2115.7
Today got off to a rather challenging and slightly hilarious start. The wind that was supposed to die down over night…didn’t. When we woke up, everything was frozen. There was frost on our tent and the ground, and the trees were covered in ice. I went to get our food bags from the tree and the rope was frozen to the tree branch and I couldn’t get our food down (one more reason why I really, really hate bear bagging). Thankfully the sun was shining so I let the rope defrost for a bit and got busy breaking down the rest of camp. Chrissy was the one who eventually got our food down. The rope was still frozen a half hour later but she found a way to finagle the bags down.
The sun thankfully made an appearance today but it was still incredibly chilly in the morning. I hiked with most of my layers on for the first mile or two before warming up enough to strip some things off. One nice thing about the frost, though, was that the trail was no longer muddy, making it much safer to walk on. Also, the trees were covered in ice which made them shine and reflect the sunlight. It was beautiful to walk through. However, the ice eventually began to thaw and the wind whipped the ice off the branches and pelted us with it.
We ran into our friend Greg on the trail for a bit, and later the Muffin Man (Sam) who hiked the rest of the day with us to Dicks Creek Gap. We also passed Toasted Toad again and he gave Chrissy her trail name: Mountain Song! I guess while I was hanging our food last night, Chrissy was singing in the tent and Toasted Toad heard her and thought she had the voice of an angel.
As we hiked down to the Gap, the weather really improved and I was eventually hiking in a tank top. It was so nice to not only see the sun, but to finally be able to feel it too. We also saw some great views of the surrounding mountains today. We had a steep mile-long climb up to Kelly Knob where we were rewarded with great views and we also climbed Powell Mountain today.
I had to pick a mail drop up, so I called Gary, the owner of the Blueberry Patch Hostel, for a shuttle while we were on Powell Mountain, and he was waiting for us when we got to the Gap. We’re staying at the hostel tonight with a woman named Meagan whom we’ve been hiking with a lot, and a couple other guys (very creepy, make-me-very-uncomfortable guys)
Gary and Lennie run the hostel and do a really great job. The hostel is next to their house, and it’s got a kitchen, and heat, and outlets, and a really nice bathroom. They also have donkeys and goats out back that we visited with for a bit. Gary and Lennie drove us into town on their way to church, and we were able to grab a couple items from the pharmacy (one being a compression brace for Chrissy’s knee – we’re hoping it’ll help!) before heading over to Daniel’s (a restaurant) for dinner. They have an all-you-can-eat buffet and salad bar. I took full advantage of the salad bar and also ordered myself a baked potato off the menu.
We have a series of sunny days in the forecast (oh hot damn, finally!) and I believe it’s supposed to rain again this weekend (ugh), but we’re just going to take it one day at a time and try to enjoy every moment of it as best we can (so far, it really hasn’t been too difficult – we’re both having a great time!).
Tomorrow, we cross into North Carolina!!