Big bald shelter to Jones branch tributary tent site
18.5 miles, mile 349.5
The hiking part of the day was uneventful but once we got to uncle Johnny’s hostel the day got better. Well one eventful thing happened during the hike, we came across a grouse nest and accidentally scared all the babies and the mom went flying far away. I hope she came back and found all her scared babies. I felt so bad. Other than that it was a lot of green tunnel today, but it was beautiful especially in the morning. The weather the last couple days has been great. It looks like rain is coming though. We ran into food truck, swiss Chris, and Ricky at the hostel. There were about 10-25 hikers hanging out on the porch and we got there just in time for the shuttle to the grocery store. Because of the holiday our box with food that mom was sending can’t be guaranteed for this Saturday so we needed enough food to last us until Tuesday. I have 9.5 pounds of food, and my bag is completely full! Looks like 5 days is the max for me. We left our phones at the hostel charging because we weren’t staying there tonight. It felt weird to be out in public without it! I unfortunately couldn’t eat dinner at the McDonald’s, taco bell, or the two other southern based chains that I don’t remember the name of. I did get a strawberry milkshake though, and the kind worker gave me a sweet tea for free after I chatted with her for a bit! After we got back to the hostel we chatted for a bit with everyone and decided to hike another 1.5 miles out to some stealth camp sites by a stream. They are very stealth and not as established as I thought. I needed to eat something other than a milkshake for dinner and got out the noodles that were in the gluten free section at the grocery store. It was like ramen in a cup, which I know there are some gluten free ones out there. I ate about 5 bites and felt the need to look at the ingredients and wheat flour noodles was the first one. Someone misplaced the noodles in the grocery store to the gluten free section and I can’t believe I didn’t look before eating. I only had a couple bites and feel okay an hour later, I hope I don’t get sick later. It usually takes a couple hours for me to feel anything. My body is very tired after three 18+ mile days and not great sleep. I usually have a harder time sleeping at stealth sites because it’s just kev and I and the other time we were at a stealth site we had bear visitors in the night. Our food is hung in a great PCT hang so if anything we will hear them before they can get to it. Speaking of Kevin he got his trail name today in town! He tends to grab a full baguette and just eat the whole loaf, so he got the trail name “loaf” today given by food truck. Tomorrow looks like a lot of elevation yet again, but even with 9.5 pounds of food I can do it!
the view into Erwin
Swiss Chris doing a magic trick
Jones branch tributary tent site to random field tent site
19.4 miles, mile 365.7
We had not one, but TWO trail magics today! There was a man with lemonade, Arnold Palmer, coffee, brownies, banana bread, and a jug of water and then only 4 miles later on top of Beauty Spot there was a married couple and then a father and son from a church in South Carolina who came up and decided to do trail magic. They had the works up there. They had a fire going cooking sausages, coolers with sodas, candy, body armour, rice crispys, Oreos, nutter butters, clementines, bananas and more! I talked with them for quite a while and there was also a pup named Hutch who I fed some Cheetos to. Mom let me know there would be some thunderstorms this weekend and I went ahead and booked two nights in a hostel for this weekend. We will get a shuttle tomorrow and then decide if we want to slack pack in the rain Saturday, and then stay Sunday night again. After being in a thunderstorm in the smokies I would rather not go through that again and will gladly pay for a bunk in a room full of other people who will most likely snore. It is certainly the lesser of two evils though. We saw a big pileated woodpecker today and a lone turkey. There was over 5000 feet of climbing today but it seemed to be more gradual and not as hard as the last two days. Tomorrow will be a tad shorter to get us to carvers Gap where the hostel shuttle will pick us up at 3pm. We are camping in a field tonight and the grass seems to have just been mowed and it smells so good. I am however hoping the rain and heavy winds stay away until tomorrow afternoon.
Random field to carver gap
14.8 miles, mile 380.5
It was a quick one today! We woke up at 6:30am and started hiking at 7:45. When I called the hostel yesterday for the shuttle she had said they were picking people up at 3pm, but the email I got said 2:30pm so I was a little worried about timing because there was about 4800 feet of gain over the almost 15 miles. We ended up going way faster than I thought and we were at carver gap at 1:30pm. On the way down from roan mountain there were two pups Dexter and Ruko that were very cute and loving their afternoon in the woods. Then we ran into an older couple who have lived in NH the last 12 years! We chatted with them for a bit and then continued down to the gap. We had been sitting there about 10 minutes when the roan mountain shuttle van pulls up and a bunch of people get out. I jogged over and asked them if we could hop in on their way back and that we made much better time than I thought. They said we could so we got to the hostel around 2 and got checked in, pet the adorable german shepherd, and got a chocolate milk. We decided to brave the rain tomorrow and slack pack the 15 miles back to here knowing we have a dry place to sleep and can do laundry and take a shower. There are others doing the same thing and we have a shuttle at 9am to get back there. Unfortunately this hostel has “the best breakfast on trail” and I cannot eat it. I asked if they could do something gluten free and they can’t. Granola bars it is! We have a bird’s nest right outside the loft we are in with 2 other people and they are quite chirpy. I took a shower which felt very nice and will definitely be trying to get to bed early tonight!
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