Day 35: Last night the trail only came through about three or four times, so I was able to get more sleep than the night before. We woke up, packed up quickly and were on our way. We stopped to get water about an hour in and found out that we only had three iodine tabs left! Thankfully, we still had some of our other purification tabs left. It was a hot day, so sharing one liter of water until 1PM was rough. We did come upon some trail magic at the gap we had planned on stopping at for lunch. I had sweet tea and a banana. Sweat tea is probably my favorite thing about the south. It is so delicious! After lunch we came to a grassy bald with good views. After taking them in, we continued to our camping spot. We decided to take a nap (after filling up on water) and got up later to make dinner. Now to go enjoy the fire that some other hikers just built!
Day 36: We had a nice morning hiking up to a thick spruce forest at the top of a mountain. There was no undergrowth and it was nice and cool. As we started downhill, the old spruce was dead and a new generation was coming up thickly. We stopped in at the next shelter to fill up on water and continued onto Iron Mountain Gap, where we came upon more trail magic! I ate an orange, nutty bar, and pineapple orange soda, along with my own lunch. Afterwards we hiked through an apple orchard and could really feel the sun burning. We came upon a sign about the hostel we were headed to (Greasy Creek Friendly) and had to do some investigating to find the correct way. We made it though! We resupplied and headed to town for burgers, fries, salad and milkshakes! Looking forward to sleeping on a mattress. We are planning an early morning tomorrow, so we aren’t worried about being woken by the crazy neighbor.
Day 37: Today we got up at 5AM, which was lucky, because shortly after the paranoid schizophrenic rode down to his mailbox on a lawn mower and later continued to ride around in his lawn. We packed up as we watched this go down and were on the trail around 5:45AM with our headlamps. The sunrise was gorgeous, with pinks, blues and oranges! Our first break was at a nice lookout and the low sun created shadows, allowing us to see more details. We took another break later as we trudged up Roan Mountain for a few hours. We ran into Mountain Squid along the way with a volunteer trail crew. At the top of Roan Mt. we found the bathrooms locked and no water, so we went to the shelter to fill up. We decided to hike another mile down to a gap before eating lunch, and we are glad we did! An older couple hiking up from the gap recognized us as thru-hikers and gave us ziplock bags full of food. More trail magic! We devoured the food and our lunch. Afterwards, we climbed two balds with great views. From there we trudged four more miles to the shelter with sore feet and a blister on my little toe. I was happy to get to the shelter, which is an old barn with beautiful views! I’m very tired and another early morning tomorrow, so it’s off to bed for me!
Day 38: Only nine miles today, but my feet and blister killed the whole time. Every step hurt, but for some reason I didn’t take any Vitamin I. I was holding back tears by the end! As we got to the road there were a bunch of dogs, which I got excited about. As I went to pet one it barked and growled at me. That was all it took for me to lose it. I walked away quickly as I started to bawl my eyes out. That dog set me over the edge! Thankfully when we got to the hostel it was beautiful and awesome with lots of friendly dogs.
Day 39: My 25th birthday! I ate ice cream, lied around reading, and took several naps. It was awesome! Zero Day 🙂