Tenting near US19 [mile 391.6]
It was chilly in the pine forest, but I’m happy to report that my shoes didn’t freeze. There’s still plenty of time, of course.
Once again, I pitched my tent on a slope. This time it was just north-south; my head was higher. But it was like sleeping on a sliding board. I kept waking up all mushed down in the bottom of the tent. Once, I kid you not, I actually slid all the way out of my down pants while I was sleeping. Or rather, they slid down and escaped me.
So all I wanted tonight was a flat place to pitch. And here I am! Thank you, trail! But the day was so much better than just that. I feel like saying, Wait! There’s more! just like a TV pitchman.
The day started with an uphill climb to the top of a grassy bald. It was cold and windy up there, but the trail was a gravel path. On the way up I met a dayhiker who remembered me from that lodge in Fontana. Man, how far away does that feel? He asked about the Postman, and I had to break the sad news to him. Postman, if you ever get around to reading this, that guy from Fontana was asking about you.
And balds were the story of the day. Little Hump was massive; the climb went up and up and up. The sun was high, and the balds are treeless (hence the name). I felt like a cow patty baking under the sun. A moving, sweating, cursing cow patty.
From the top, the next bald was visible: Big Hump, and it was enormous, and the trail was just visible zigzagging up it like a piece of dental floss. I have to climb that? I thought in despair—but of course I did. On the AT, just look around and pick out the highest, most miserable mountain. That’s always where the trail goes. 🙂
But I lived! On the way down, I met three NOBO thrus who were slackpacking SOBO for the day and giving out trail magic! I got some Pringles—just what I needed. Thanks, Pathfinder, OB, and Headbones!
The down on the other side was actually awful. Miles of tumbled rocks. Felt like home. I had hamburger feet by the time I found this campsite, but so what? I got my miles (more or less). Another day closer to Damascus, and if everybody else resupplies between here and there, I’ll have made up a day. Woohoo!
Oh, I almost forgot. One of the high points of the day was stopping at Overmountain Shelter. It was a barn converted to a shelter, and the views were tremendous. It even had a potty—something that’s become rare of late.
And that’s the day! I think that except for Mt Rogers in Virginia and some other isolated peaks, the big elevations and constant climbs are finished for a while. I hope so!
Rain tomorrow afternoon.
Oh, and it seems that I’m out of North Carolina for the last time. Just a few days of Tennessee, then it’s on to Virginia!