Day 32, 5/30/23
Moreland Gap Shelter to Watauga Lake tent site
15.8 miles, mile 429.5
Last night was the best night, and latest night, on trail so far! At the shelter there was a group of about seven guys from Mississippi and one of them was from Pennsylvania. They had a fire going and Kevin and I went to join. The final member of their group showed up a bit after dark and whipped out a guitar and started playing bluegrass songs and some he wrote himself. They had a bit going that they were the WHAT (Why hike the Appalachian trail) radio station. The accents were amazing and they were so kind and hilarious. They brought out a lot of bourbon and homemade moonshine that they call Unicorn Juice because it tastes like glitter and sweet tarts. I was sitting next to bushwhack who was the one playing and singing and after every song I would hand him a bottle of bourbon. They started calling me the whiskey girl but I refused that because I don’t want everyone to think I’m an alcoholic… lol. Then about an hour later I was doing the same thing and he goes “she’s keeping me well lubricated, like I just got an oil change” and every one of them gasped and were yelling oil change oil change that’s her name! It sounded more like “oll change” with the accents and they made me practice saying it in a deep southern voice. It was such a fun night and it was so great to spend time with people from such a polar opposite part of the country than where I grew up in NH. We woke up and had everything packed and breakfast eaten and were on the trail by 9:30 a.m.
We went by Laurel falls today and it was beautiful and Lucky convinced (it didn’t take much) Kev and I to get in the water and go for a dunk. It was oh so cold but felt amazing. The trail followed a river for a while and we saw a heron. I apparently walked right by a rattlesnake that was on the side of the trail because the two guys who were only about 10 mins behind me asked if I saw it laying there. Then the trail went up and over a mountain down to a beautiful lake where there are bathrooms and outlets! We are waiting for dad’s coworker to drop off our resupply box because it got messed up with the holiday for delivery to a hostel – thank you so much Crystal! Then we will hike out another mile or so and hopefully find a stealth tent site along the lake to camp.
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