Day 40: The Mountain Harbour Hostel indeed has the best breakfast and has been the most hospitable. They even had goats! Today was sunny and warm and I was glad there was lots of shade. Only a few vistas, so we passed the day talking. The campsite we had planned on going to was awful, so we continued on maybe another mile. Very tired today, but not as bad as before our zero.
Day 41: I got two more blisters on my right foot this morning. They are on the other side, near my big toe. It is pretty painful to walk. Eventually I got into a rhythm though. What a beautiful day! I’m glad we had shade in the trees. The waterfalls on Laurel River were gorgeous! Just past those we hit the side trail for Hampton, TN. My sleeping pad wasn’t waiting for me, so Cascade Designs is sending it to Damascus. The Hiker’s Haven was actually a dump and was flying the confederate flag, so we decided to stay at the other hostel in town. It turned out to be an old castle and the owners were super friendly! They even let us do a load of laundry for free so we didn’t have to go back down the “haven”, which has the only laundromat in town. We walked to Subway for dinner and they had a drive thru… what?!
Day 42: It is hard to believe it has been six weeks! A nice cool morning for our climb up Pond Flats and back down again. (A pointless climb with no views.) We got to a public beach on a huge lake and decided to take lunch early there. It got very hot and we dipped our feet in the water. Hiking out of there was easy until we got past the dam. Afterwards it got extremely hot! I even got a little dizzy from it. Thankfully, a thunderstorm rolled in and cooled us off. We didn’t even use our rain gear! My feet killed by the time we got to the shelter. We set up the tent, cooked dinner, and napped for two hours. We got up to hang our bear bags and then I popped one of my blisters. Afterwards, I went right back to sleep for the night. Great views here!
Day 43: There was a undercast when we got up in the morning, which was very cool. The clouds were light and fluffy looking. My blisters and feet hurt, so I popped some Vitamin I and walked on. When we got to a big field on a farm, we ran into some trail magic. It was a group called Riff Raff of former hikers. We ended up hanging out there until about 8:30PM and then we hiked to the closest shelter to set up our tent. We did a little night hiking, but wanted to avoid the impending thunderstorms, so we set up at the shelter. I had the best bear bag throw!
Day 44: Today we hiked 18 miles into Damascus. We cruised for the first 15 or 16 miles, but after that my feet were hurting so we slowed down. It was also raining off and on all day. It rained especially hard for the last three miles or so. I was pretty miserable when we got to town. I was happy to finally get my new sleeping pad though! We ate at the Blue Blaze Cafe and were shivering the whole time. We kept asking for more coffee to help warm us up! Eventually the rain stopped and we took showers to warm up. We were on our way to Tent City to set up, when we heard people were giving away free knitted hats! We got ours and then walked down to Tent City and got settled in near the woods.
Days 45-47: Trail Days! Zero Days! 😀