Week Six: Thomas Knob Misadventures

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Day 36: 19.7

We began off the morning climbing more than a significant ole hump. I wasn’t in the mood for an AM climb so I attempted to tune it out by listening to my Game of Thrones audiobook. Then, it hailed on us at the prime. Simply because why not?! I had to laugh since it felt like mother natch was providing me the middle finger. We rolled into Boots Off for an early lunch break. When we arrived we ran into Cans and newly named Cake on their way our. I was capable to have two pieces of Cake’s popular cheesecake for lunch. I surely regretted that option later. We had a lot of ridge walking right now following the gorgeous Watauga Dam. Evergreen, Mcfly, and I had been initially going to Vandeventer Shelter but decided to push a tiny additional to a stealth web-site with Skybird in hopes that having to Virginia will be a piece of cake tomorrow. It was surprisingly chilly tonight and I was so satisfied to cuddle up in my ten. An additional noteworthy thing… I tossed my bear hang in 1 Attempt tonight. I utilised the system that Aquaman taught me and it worked like a charm. 

Day 37: 25.three

We received trail magic at TN 91 this am! TN 91 is apparently a well known location to give out totally free shit to hikers. There had been a bunch of shenanigans going on and we ran into Firefly, Cans, Cake, and Common. It was so fantastic to see them and have genuine conversations with the guys. Right after that road crossing, the trail gets blissfully flat as you stroll more than some pastures. We walked by the iconic AT barn and had an impromptu photo shoot

The going was chill all day and we had gorgeous climate. I was ahead of the pack for most of the day since the climate was providing my legs a new life. I changed midday into my hiking shorts and it felt marvelous! Every person stopped at the final shelter in VA but Evergreen, Mcfly, and I pushed our initial more than 20 mile day to get to the state line!! I really feel like a BEAST. We are camping on the state line tonight. We will be in Virginia for 544 far more miles and I’m so seeking forward to it. I will not catch the “Virginia Blues”.

*Common later told me that my hiking on this day had him shooketh”

Day 38: three.7 

Ohmahgahd… Evergreen, McFly, and I are in Damascus! I can not think we created it to this legendary trail town. Of course, we are right here way ahead of Trail Days. Every person has been asking me if I’ll be coming back for Trail Days and I genuinely do not believe I want to. We got into town just before eight in the morning so our breakfast choices had been restricted to the Damascus Diner or the Damascus Diner. Damascus Diner it was! See under for our thru-hiker feast.

I complained to the waitress about our struggle to discover a location to remain and she talked about that the owner of the diner also owns the Dragonfly Inn. I was thrilled that he gave us a bit of a deal on his final space obtainable. His property is certainly gorgeous. We all really feel like kings in our master suite. I can not suggest this location adequate.

Mcfly and I celebrated his 21st birthday with dinner at Mojo’s. We ran into Firefly and Mr. Firefly possessing a romantic catch up in the similar location. Mr. Firefly caught wind that it was McFly’s birthday and took care of our tab with no us recognizing. Feeling super satisfied as I snuggle up in bed with Evergreen on a single side and McFly on the flip out.

Day 39: 21.five

I had a significant day planned for right now. Firefly provided to slackpack McFly and I 17 miles to a road crossing exactly where Mr. Firefly was going to meet her. I couldn’t say no to that! I carried my complete pack except for my meals (which was good and heavy coming out of town). Weirdly adequate our tiny group fell off right now. I lost track of Evergreen leaving town and McFly ended up wanting to go back to Damascus with the Fireflys. By my lonesome, I pushed on to Buzzard Rocks. I saw some cool trees.

The trail was quite.

 

I arrived at Buzzard Rocks.

Aquaman slept right here a couple of nights ago and very advised it for sunset. When I got to the prime the wind was whipping and it wasn’t a protected atmosphere for me to camp on. I identified a stealth camp out of the wind a tiny additional down trail. This is the initial time I’ve camped alone on trail and every thing is producing me jump. It does not assist that the wind is nasty and only going to get worse tomorrow. My strategy is to do a couple of significant mile days so I can catch up with Aquaman who is slowing down to see his loved ones for a couple of days.

Day 40: six.9 

There goes that strategy. This has been the day from hell. I do not even know exactly where to start out. I woke up to the sound of rain on my tent and even though I wasn’t thrilled, I was attempting to remain good since I packed out carrots for the ponies in the Grayson Highlands. THE HIGHLANDS. I’ve been seeking forward to this day for so lengthy and now it will forever go down in my AT history book as the crappiest climate I saw on trail. I do not have any photos from this day since my telephone was out of commission due to the close to-freezing temperatures and rain.

Right after having up, I realized that I had somehow left my trekking poles a quarter-mile SOBO on prime of Buzzard Rocks. I backtracked to get them and lost the trail since of the rain on my glasses various occasions. The rain was terrible but I was pushing by way of. At a single point I identified myself at a parking lot with a genuine-life 4-walled bathroom. I huddled in there for a tiny to attempt and warm myself up. Pushing up to the Highlands, the climate went from bad… to worse. Hell hath no fury like this storm. It was much less than 40 degrees, not like the whipping wind chill. I couldn’t see far more than a foot in front of me since of how heavy the rain was coming down. Heavy rain is NOT effortless for me to navigate in the initial location due to my glasses. The trail was a river. I was effortlessly submerged in 4 inches of water at any provided point. Thunder was shaking my physique and lightening was tearing the sky apart. This was the initial time on trail that I was genuinely terrified. Nonetheless, I couldn’t cease moving. What else was I going to do?? Sit beneath a tree? Cry? Get far more and far more soaked?? I told myself that I just had to make it to the subsequent shelter.

Right after what felt like hours, I lastly arrived at Thomas Knob Shelter. I met Lord Hobo and Disk as they had been rolling out to attempt and get to the subsequent shelter. I told myself that I was also going to attempt and push to Sensible as soon as I had a hot lunch. It was 10:30am. Common rolled in not lengthy following me, soaked to the bone. He instantly stripped and place on dry clothing. He told me that he was staying right here the rest of the day and evening. I was baffled. It is only 11am! I was nonetheless in my wet clothing and couldn’t cease myself from shivering. Cold and wet is a recipe for disaster. I wanted to make miles but I couldn’t visualize going more than the exposed Highlands in this insane storm. Common ended up winning that discussion and I promptly changed into my dry clothing. My shivering lessened. Cans, Evergreen, Cake, Noodle Harvester, and Electrolyte all rolled in soaking wet and they all decided to remain at the shelter as effectively. Cans’ telephone died in the puddle that was his rain jacket pocket. All of us set up our beds on the second floor of Thomas Knob even though the storm raged. The roof above us sounded like it was going to be ripped off the shelter. It was scary loud. At about 6pm, there was a tiny break in the storm so we place our clothing on bushes to attempt and get the wind to dry them off. It didn’t do significantly.

We cooked dinner. Then the bears came. Two Substantial black bears at the treeline sitting on their haunches staring at us. They weren’t scared of us at all. For kicks, the bear box was a couple of hundred yards down the trail appropriate previous the bears. Cans created up a bear song, “Hey there bear, go back to your lair, show us your dairy air,” so we sang that at the prime of our lungs even though going to place away our meals to attempt and scare them away with noise. We’re all quite concerned that teh bears will finish up in the shelter with us overnight. I’m cold and every thing is soaked and I do not know what tomorrow will bring.

Day 41: three.7

We woke up to our clothing either frozen or freezing. On the plus side, we saw ponies!!

So.

Numerous.

Ponies. Cans, Evergreen, Common, Cake, and I decided to attempt to make it to the parking lot in the Highland’s exactly where the Grayson Common Shop owner would be capable to come get us and take us to the retailer. We couldn’t maintain hiking in our wet clothing. Wet clothing and close to-freezing temperatures are a recipe for hypothermia. An additional bonus to maintain us motivated… We hit 500 miles!

When we got to the trailhead, the owner wasn’t answering his telephone. Randomly, a man and lady came up to us to give us some trail magic, we gratefully accepted and told them our predicament. They hardly hesitated just before supplying to take us down to the retailer themselves. The drive was effortlessly 20 minutes and they couldn’t match us all in their car or truck at as soon as so they took two trips! I couldn’t even think how generous they had been becoming. Common, Cans, and I got to the retailer initial and tossed all of our wet clothing in the wash even though huddling up to the various space heaters in the laundry space.

Common and I began discussing what our choices had been. We could go back on trail following the laundry was completed, but it was going to be rainy and cold that evening as well. It would have been a waste of laundry and our time. We could remain at the retailer, but a space was $250. Then, Evergreen and Cake arrived and they informed us that the couple provided to obtain us a space for the evening in the Common Shop. I could have cried. The location was a palace. We had two bedrooms, a laundry space, a enormous bathroom, a complete kitchen, and a enormous living space. I took the most glorious shower. When I got out, I was told that Firefly and McFly had rolled in!! I was so glad to look that they had created it by way of the storm. They each decided to remain at the retailer as effectively. Cans and I created loved ones dinner and we had a boozy tiny loved ones evening sheltered from the storm.

Day 42: 22.two

Right after the previous two days of climate, right now felt like a blur. When we had been dropped off at the trailhead, the Highlands had been covered in snow. We hiked a lot. We began off hiking in snow and completed the day with no it.

It felt fantastic to be producing progress once again. Common, Cans, Cake, Evergreen, and I settled into Trimpi Shelter at the finish of the day following Raccoon Branch Wilderness (Side note: I’d like that name changed since I neglected to see a single raccoon the complete time I was there). I got my bear line tangled up in a tree and had to get on General’s shoulders for ten minutes to untangle it. I was laughing so really hard! The guys foraged a bunch of firewood following dinner and we got a good tiny fire going for bedtime in the shelter. I’m genuinely glad that we all had this wild expertise in the Highlands with each other. It is created us a good tiny loved ones. I have a fantastic feeling about us.

 

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