Back after a short hiatus in journaling. I actually ran out of room in my second notepad. Mike was enough to pick one up for me while we were resupplying as a peace offering after a brief squabble in town.
Writing this entry from a cold windy shelter atop Roan Mountain which has the distinction as the highest shelter on the AT.
Lot’s to catch up on, will give some highlights.
Mike and I did a 33+ mile day in to Damascus crossing through Grayson Highlands on a misty, foggy day. Had a chance to see the famous Grayson wild ponies too.
We stayed at “The Place” a large, two story church hostel with plenty of bunk space and common areas. There is not a dedicated full time caretaker here, everything is kind of on the honor system and we honor that.
Keith and Lisa rolled in to town the next day as they had opted not to do the long haul on the previous day. We bumped in to them as they were coming in and the four of us had lunch at a nearby diner. Damascus is really cool, easily one of our favorite town stops. Plenty to see and do and everything is accessible on foot, very hiker friendly. We took a zero that day and we eventually settled in at a local tex/mex place for football and food.
The next day we made arrangements to do a reverse slack pack at the local outfitter. In the morning he dropped us 20 miles south of town and we spent the day hiking north back to Damascus. It is such a treat to walk without the heavy burden of the full pack. Plenty of nice ridgewalking. We passed a pack of radio collared dogs (hunting) at one point tearing down the trail. We made our way back in town and headed to Tex/Mex ”The Place” for showers. We met a film crew there who were shooting a show for PBS called Globe Trekker. They filmed a few scenes in and out of the hostel with apperances from all four of our crew.
We made our way back to the Tex /Mex place for diner, the owners were former hikers and we enjoyed a long night with a small band of fellow adventurers who had descended on Damascus sharing stories and beer well in to the night. Lots of jokes and story telling.
The next day we took care of some much needed errands, email, and laundry. Caught up on some sleep and scouted the maps for our next stretch on the trai.
The following day we did a 27 mile hike to the famous Kincora hostel. A great day of hiking which ended with a long final stretch through some canyon type terrain.
This marks the beginning final chapter for us on trail as we are headed back to the high country with plenty of big mountains coming up and we are excited to move through the highlands of Tennessee and North Carolina.
Kincora hostel was great, a big beautiful cabin with a hikers bunkroom. Tons of good stories and good company.
The next day we did a rugged 24 mile slackpack and then shuttled back to Kincora. Not a very glamourous stretch but we are trying to set ourselves up for ideal mileage in the next few days (long stretches between resupplies) so it was a necessary evil. Funny moment today, was actually kicked by a wilde horse. We passed him on the trail and I guess I got in the wrong position. He got me right in the thigh, leaving a muddy footprint on my leg. I am fine though, kind of saw it coming and was able to pull back in time. Rolling all day long up and down up and down up and down.
The next day we did a fantastic, 15 mile day across the famous Roan Highlands which are a long chain of “Balds” which are high mountains with clear cut, grassy tops. It makes for fantastic hiking. We passed a group of long horn cattle, pretty cool to see. The cold wind was blowing all day and it made for very comfortable hiking.
Tenn has proved to be of my favorite states and this is just the start! It is great to be back in the big mountain country and the dog days of the mid atlantic states are definitely behind us. The climbs are big out here, the mountains are big, the views are big. Hands are getting cold so I will call it a night here.
Feeding the wild horses atop the Graysons Highlands.
Foggy, cool day as we crossed the Highlands on our way to Damascus.
Your author catches up on some sleep outside “The Place” hiker hostel
Celebrating that we are out of Virginia and turning the corner to Georgia!
Your author at the border crossing of VA and Tennessee.
Walking in to Damascus
Mike on of the towers stretching out in to Watuga Lake / Dam
The horse that kicked me!
That man Gills enjoys a conversation with Bob Peoples of the Kincora Hostel
Climbing a bald for the first time
Mike checks out the long horn cattle
More bald crossings. Would have liked a blue sky day but we were very happy to be out there on the soft grassy trail.
Red Barn shelter off in the distance, we stopped there for lunch.
North Carolina, hard to believe.
A rare shelter photo. Taken at Roan High Mountain shelter where I wrote this journal entry.