Day 35 (April 27th): Indian Grave Gap to Clyde Smith Shelter

Miles hiked today: 17.8
Miles hiked total: 368.1
Miles to go: 1817.2

Today was a hot one! It got up into the 80s today. I love the sun, but it definitely does take a lot out of me!

At the beginning of the day, I had an incident with a bunch of thorn bushes. This seems to happen to me a lot, actually. Every time I have to pee, I try to step off the trail and find a place in the woods to go. However, it seems like thorns grow all over the place down in these here parts and I’m constantly walking through dense thorn bushes, despite my best efforts to avoid them. This morning, I was climbing up what I thought was a grassy bald when the urge to pee struck, so I dropped my pack and walked off the trail to go. However, what looked like long grass actually ended up being long grass with thorns. Lots and lots of thorns. By the time I peed and caught up with Stylez and Wing It, the blood from my cuts was dripping down my legs and I had to take a few seconds to clean myself up with some alcohol wipes Stylez gave me. Oops! (and ouch!)

At the top of Beauty Spot Gap, a couple of people were out for a weekend hike and offered to carry our trash out for us. Awesome trail magic! Trash can take up a surprisingly large amount of space in my pack and it was nice to be rid of it!

After saying goodbye to the day hikers, we got to climb up the beautiful Unaka Mountain, which is covered in a dense spruce forest. It felt so nice to enter the shade. The temperature dropped significantly, and that’s where the three of us stopped for lunch.

A little later in the day we stopped at Cherry Gap Shelter to get more water, and the Kallin Family and Lotus were there. We rested with them until a scary incident happened that prompted us to get out of there as quickly as possible: Robin Hood, the 9-year-old, went to pet a dog belonging to section hikers and the dog nipped at him. The owner of the dog then brought the dog behind the shelter and we all listened as he beat and yelled at his dog. It was terrible. The man kept swearing and saying that his dog has never done that before and that he should put a bullet through his head. Eventually Wing It spoke up and said, “I think the dog’s got the picture”, and Stylez and I practically ran from the shelter in an attempt to put as much space between that man and ourselves as possible. It was just awful. The dog definitely didn’t deserve that kind of treatment, and Robin Hood and the Kallin family felt terrible.

At Iron Mountain Gap, we found trail magic, and the Kallin Family, Lotus, Stylez, Wing It, and I took another break and rested in the shade. We left the gap at 3:00, hiked six more miles, and made it to the shelter by 5:30. We were expecting to see Blacksmith here, but he’s apparently Pink Blazing Cowboy, one of the German girls, again, so he hiked past the shelter in an effort to catch up with her. He evidently learned nothing from his talk with Wing It.

Also, good news – my parents are definitely coming down to Virginia to visit me during Trail Days! I can’t wait!

TTFN

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