Days 57 through 60

Day 57 My First Zero Day since Day 4!

I’ve been having trouble with the long hikes recently, and I believe that it’s because I’ve exhausted my body’s reserves.  I haven’t given my muscles a chance to recover nor have I given my body a chance to replenish.  Many of the other, slower, through hikers have said that zero days are really important for the long haul.  So today I’m taking it easy!

The hostel is about 4 miles from downtown Erwin, Tennessee, but there is a bike path into town and the hostel has several cheap loaner bikes to ride into town.  They also have two daily shuttles at 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM that return you to the hostel 90 minutes later.

I got up at 6:00 AM, organized some things and rode a bike to McDonald’s for a 7:00 AM breakfast.  Then I went across the street to Food City and bought more resupply food than I can fit in my bear canister.

I biked back around 8:30, packed most of the stuff into my bear canister and took a little nap.

I biked back to town for lunch around 11:00 AM.  I had a delicious lunch at The Steel Rail.  I also checked out the Erwin Outfitter and bought some permethrin spray for my clothing.

The bike rides back and forth to town take about 20 minutes each way, but the route and the ride are both pleasant.

Day 58 Uncle Johny’s Hostel to Bald Mountain Shelter

Hiked today 16.9 total hiked  970 today’s ascent 6180 feet

Today I got up a little after six, quickly dressed, and biked into Erwin to the Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast. I had breakfast and was back in my room by 7:10 AM. I packed everything up, put on sunscreen and was on the trail a little after 7:30 AM. However, I had a huge sandwich in the refrigerator that I didn’t remember until I was almost a mile away from the hostel. I texted them and told them they could either give it away or throw it away. I’m very sad to miss my delicious sandwich from food city.

Today will be all uphill since the hostel was at a low point on the river. i’ll be climbing over the course of the day from my starting altitude of 1670 feet to about 5100 feet for a total climb of 3500 feet. Of course the total ascent will be much larger since it includes a lot of ups and downs, but today will mostly be up.

Here is a picture that I took about a mile into the hike, showing the Nolichucky River  that the hostel is adjacent to. I’ve already climbed quite a bit.

The remainder of the hike was a bit of a slog with lots of climbs. There weren’t many views, but as always, it was a beautiful walk in the woods.

I got to Bald Mountain shelter in the early evening. There were two other people staying there, one in a tent, and one in the shelter. I set up my tent, made a dehydrated dinner, had a short conversation with the others, and then went to bed.

Day 59 Bald Mountain shelter to Flint Mountain Shelter

Hiked today 18.9 total hiked 889 today’s ascent 4050 feet

Today my first challenge is hiking up Bald mountain. It’s only a mile and a half from where I slept so I’m hitting it pretty early. This is a picture of the top of Bald Mountain as I approach it.  The top is called Big Bald.

The peak is over 5500 feet, I’m already well over 5000. It’s cold. it’s windy. And it’s beautiful.

I’m at the top!

This is a picture back the way I came from the top. I took the first picture of Big Bald from the hill in the middle of this picture. Notice how all the valleys seem to be fogged in, or at least have low clouds.

This view is to the west deeper into the Appalachians.

This is a picture looking north from another clearing a few miles from Big Bald. Big Bald is the tallest peak right in the center of this picture.

This is the view from a vista called High Rocks. It’s a little bit of a disappointment since the trees block most of it, but it is a beautiful place.

The rest of the hike was a long walk with some ups and downs. It’s hard to describe the way the path winds through the woods, along ridges, and along the sides of mountains.  But the Appalachian Trail does not disappoint.  I arrived at Flint Mountain in the early evening, tired but not overtired. 

Day 60 Flint Mountain Shelter to Stealth Camp

Hiked today 20.8 total hiked 1009 todays ascent 4265 feet

I got on the trail at 7:15 AM.  The day started out cloudy but dry and turned to foggy and damp.  There should have been beautiful views but the hike was in a cloud.  Here’s a picture from Big Firescald Knob Ridge, which on a nice day would be spectacular.

My original plan was to hike 22.6 miles to the Spring Mountain Shelter but I came upon a perfect tent site about 2 miles before I reached the shelter.  I wasn’t sure of the quality of the sites near the shelter so I stopped and camped with the other two guys who were already at the campsite.  The next day when I passed the shelter, I was really happy with my choice since the shelter sites were inferior.  Also, I was pretty tired and wasn’t looking forward to the 2 mile climb at the end of the original hike.

I pulled into the campsite around 5:30 PM.  I set up my tent, after dinner and was in bed by 7:30.

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Comments 2

  • Tab : Jun 8th

    As a semi-retired engineer who lives in Hot Springs, I wish there was a way to buy you a beer at the brewery in town. Best of luck though this out and back!

  • Darrell Talbot : Jun 11th



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