Big mountains and big miles

Day 54

Ash Gap to Mountain Harbour 18.2 miles – AT mile 395.6

Card of the day – XIII Death

After a 5am call of nature I just sat there listening to the world waking up.  It had been cold as we were up so high, at about 5300 ft.  Dawn is a nice part of the day to just sit and chill.

Beam and I got out by 8 for our longest day yet! 18 miles to Mountain Harbour…

Can we make it?  Hell yeh we can.

We got to the top of Roan Mountain by 8.30.

Toilets were still locked!  Let me just remind you there are no privies in Tennessee.

Oh and you can drive up here!  My Governor was right, I should have just hired a car.

The climb up was hard and we were surrounded by the buzzing of flying insects. If it’s bees their honey will be so tasty with all the pine.

As is often the case, the climb up was followed by a mile of down on hard stone and then into another soft pine forest with some broad walks.  They have made paths with course stone in a conservation effort, but the stones have not quite been broken down enough, making it hard going on the feet.

After the mountain, and the other mountain, there were 3 Balds with amazing views.  You look one way into North Carolina and the other into Tennessee.  There are mountains for as far as the eye can see and I can’t help but wonder how many of them I have hiked over these last few days.

It was so hot, and both Beam and I were close to being out of water.  We knew there was a water source at the top of the 3rd bald.  We hiked what we through was to the right spot but could not see any thing.  A day hiker was walking toward us so I asked if they had seen it.  They said the water source was a trickle and she doubted we could get water from it.  She clearly has no faith in ThruHikers and leaves.  The water was cold and crisp and to die for!

The smells through out the day had changed through pine forest and spring flowers.  You can’t help but notice them over the smell of yourself, which seems to be something I’m blocking out, both about my self and other hikers.

The last 2 miles hurt.  I put my gym music on and got a bounce on, turns out Beam had done the same.  We got to the gap at 16.57, fuck yeh!  18.2 miles baby.  I was broken, in a good way.

We got to the hostel and after a few beers and burger I was finally half human again and able to check into my treehouse.  At some point I got chatting to some locals who gave me wine and brought my breakfast.  Tom & Jackie, thank you so much!  (It was delicious btw).

This is a place and you can get lost in it really easily.  It has good burgers that are very well priced, apple pie and ice cream and even my favourite beer on tap (of which I had a few, for medicinal purposes).

I hit the sack a very happy and slightly tipsy guy!  Night night.

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