Roan High Knob
100 miles north of Hot Springs on trail is the Roan High Knob Shelter at 6186 feet. This is highest shelter on the AT and I really enjoyed camping here. The shelter is two stories and has four walls whereas most have three walls and are one story. The shelter is up in the clouds and watching the clouds and mist roll in through the pines in the evening and again at breakfast in the morning was so pretty. It looks a little eerie but it’s really beautiful to watch. Mystical.
26.2 to Damascus
There was a shelter/camping closure due to aggressive bear activity as I left North Carolina and entered into Virginia via Damascus. This kind of made mileage weird and I ended up doing the Damascus marathon. That’s 26.2 miles of hiking which is my longest day so far. It was challenging and fun, the last few hours were rain, but when headed to town the rain is no biggie.
Shortly into the day I met Marlene who was providing trail magic in a gap. She had everything from coffee and hot chocolate, to resupply items and fresh fruit. It was great timing with an extra full day of hiking ahead. Getting to know Marlene and hearing her story was a treat along with the trail magic she provided. She also writes poetry which she shared with us. Her kindness brought me to tears. She didn’t mind how smelly I was and gave me a hug which was so sweet.
The final few hours of the day were heavy rain, but when you know you are headed to a town, you don’t care about the rain.
I spent a day and a half in Damascus. The first night I stayed at Lady Di’s B&B which is run by Lady Di and she does a great job. I shared a bunk room with four other hikers, including Snacks and Swiss who also completed the Damascus marathon (miss ya Swiss!). Arriving soaking wet and rather late at 9PM Lady Di welcomed us despite a no late arrivals warning in the guide. She even took our dirty laundry and had it washed by the time we woke up the next morning. For breakfast she prepared a blueberry French toast casserole that was scrumptious. Lady Di is an AT thru-hiker herself so she knows what is needed to keep things flowing smoothly in a relaxed atmosphere. I really enjoyed my stay here.
I stayed a second night in Damascus as I took a proper zero after all those miles. The second night was spent at the Broken Fiddle which is a hiker hostel. I spent as much of the day with my booty in a chair as I could. I attempted to learn (for a second time) how to play Euchre and when I finally gave up on that I moved to darts which was more my speed. It’s fun spending time in town and at the hostels, meeting/getting to know all the hikers and swapping stories.
North Carolina was a beautiful state, but I’m excited to be back in my home state of Virginia.
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