Saturday, April 16, 2016

Southbound on the Appalchian Trail 2015 : North Carolina (part 1) 1000th Post!

North Carolina/ Tennessee border

Roan High Top Shelter: Highest Shelter on the AT at 6194 ft. We also spent an entire day there waiting out a storm.

Looking towards the Smokies

Interesting geology: View towards Tennessee

Hot Springs, NC/French Broad river

A little reminder of the season getting late

Waited out another heavy rain storm here with H2Camo, Moosie, and a case of PBR

H2Camo's guide book. The thing was indestructable

Last apples of the season

Sunset on Max Patch

Morning on Max Patch

Moosie on Max Patch

Moosie and H2Camo speaking to trail legend Baltimore Jack
This is the 1000th post since I started this blog back in 2009! Hopefully another 1000 still to come!

Moosie, H2Camo and I reached North Carolina on November 8, 2015. For me, it felt good to be home yet again, as I lived in Asheville NC for a couple years before moving to California. It was nice to see the NC mountains again. Camo and I reached the border around the same time another southbounder named Rocky arrived. I've mentioned him in previous posts, and I believe this was the last time we would see him. Weather was getting a bit nastier, colder and wetter. The pictures pretty much sum it up, I remember walking through a lot of greys and blues during this time.

The trail experience was increasingly enjoyable, thanks to the company of H2Camo and Moosie. We continued our relaxed approach as we moved south. We made fires in the evening when we could, and when it rained too hard, we set up shelter for the day. We were in no rush. There were two memorable rain storms. One occurred when we were at the Roan High Top shelter, the highest shelter on the AT at 6,194 ft. Heavy rain and wind came through the night we sheltered there and continued all day following. As a result, we were the only hikers to stay put. There were several southbounders who had caught up to us trying to finish by Thanksgiving. We had given up on that idea, so we felt no need to hike through freezing, heavy rain. It was tough to stay put all day, but man did it feel good to hike out of there after the rain had stopped. The other storm occurred after we resupplied in Hot Springs. Locals warned us of heavy rains and wind coming that night. We decided to hike to the next shelter with a case of PBR and wait out the storm. It was a great night as we had the shelter to ourselves, lots of laughs, good tunes, and dry gear.

A couple highlights were resupplying in the town of Erwin Tennessee and staying at Uncle Johnny's hostel. Some town visits are simply relaxing and fun. The caretaker of the hostel gave Moosie, Camo, and I our own room for a discounted price. We gorged ourselves with food, drink, and watched Saturday Night Live re-runs. Another highlight was hiking over Max Patch, a grassy bald with stunning views. The plan was to camp on the summit the night we arrived, but it was so cold and windy that we decided to camp just below the summit under the tree line. We were treated to a nice sunset and an early morning hike over the top the following the day, with clear views to boot.

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