Roan Mountain to Hampton TN

Day 54: (June 6th)

That morning, everyone woke up ready to hike. The rest of our group hadn’t showed up to the hostel yet. Most of us didn’t want to leave without the rest of the trail family. The plan was to wait for the food truck to open at 1 PM and see where the rest of the family is at that point.
We sat around watching Percy Jackson and just waiting around until 1 finally rolled around. We all grabbed some great food from the truck and chowed down. Of course, we had to let our food digest abbot before we could go hiking for the day, so we continued sitting around. Finally, around 3, Harambe decided to hike out. His plan was to get to the first shelter about 8 miles away. The rest of us were still being lazy… I mean waiting for the rest of the family. Everyone started showing up around 5. Poseidon was the only one of the newcomers that didn’t want to stay the night at the hostel, so he hiked out with Ragnar, C Sharp, Fridge, and I.
Our plan was to get to one of the first camp sights out of town, so when we stumbled upon the Bear Branch Creek campsite about .2 miles in, we didn’t hesitate to stop. We were all feeling pretty lazy, and there was definitely a lack of motivation to hike.
We set up camp, started a fire, and got our bear bags hung. The rest of the night was spent just hanging around the fire and relaxing after our “long” day.

Day 55: (June 7th)

We all got a good night’s sleep, and we were ready to hike. Well, everyone except for Fridge. He decided to go back to the hostel and see where the rest of the family was planning to make it that day. He left his hammock hanging and headed back.
The rest of us wanted to make it 15 miles to a campsite, so we started packing up and getting ready to go. At least an hour had passed, and Fridge was still my back, so Poseidon decided to head back and check on him. We all gave him some money to buy us sodas which meant that we all had to wait for Poseidon to return as well.
Poseidon returned shortly after leaving with no sodas in hand. Apparently the store was closed. He told us that Fridge and the rest of the gang knew where we were planning on hike to, so we headed out.
A couple miles into the day, we hit a gorgeous meadow which was a nice change of scenery in comparison to normal days. Shortly after that, we got to Jones Falls. We didn’t hesitate to take the .1 mile side trail to the falls. We all admired how beautiful it was, and Poseidon even got in (despite signs that clearly said not to). We ate some snacks, took some pictures, and carried on. Shortly after getting back on trail, we reached mile 400. We were almost 1/5 of the way done with the trail. It felt great.
Just 2 miles later, we arrived at Mountaineer Falls which was all gorgeous. It was pretty hot out, so I decided to dunk my head in the falls. That wasn’t a good idea because within 1 minute of trying to get my head underneath, I slipped and fell. Apparently the rocks under the water are quite slippery, who knew?
Anyways, the day was getting pretty late, and the rest of the gang still hadn’t caught up, so we decided to go to the Mountaineer Shelter and wait for them there. When we arrived, we got a text from the rest of our group saying that they had stopped only a couple of miles before the shelter and set up camp. We tried to convince them to hike the short amount of miles to the shelter, but they refused.
We had already waited around for the rest of our group for so long that there was no way we were going to make it to the campsite that we had originally planned to make it to. We cut our loses and decided to stay at the shelter. Maybe then, the rest of our group could catch up the next day.
The fire got started, and we all started making dinner. After eating and hanging out bear bags, I decided to create a DnD character with the help of Poseidon. It took quite a long time, and just as I was finishing up, Mogley and Oatmeal came down the hill. They were tenting just up the way and had heard that we were there. I hadn’t seen these guys since Hot Springs, and it was awesome that they caught up to us. We all shared stories and hung out for a while before everyone went to bed.

Day 56: (June 8th)

The night before, we decided to try to get out of camp pretty early so we could cover some serious miles. Everyone’s alarms went off at 7 AM, and we all reluctantly crawled out of bed. We all ate breakfast, packed up, and prepared for the long day ahead. The plan was to make it 16 miles and camp outside of Hampton or make it the extra two miles after Hampton to Laurel Falls.
The day started off pretty easy. There was a beautiful view with a bench on the side of the trail. Of course, I sat here and smoked and ate a snack. Just 6 miles after the view, there was a shelter. We all made it there in no time, so we took a nice long break.
C Sharp decided to leave a note for Fridge, 13, and Imposter who were still behind us. After shaming our trail family via notes left in the shelter, we pressed on. It was pretty much all downhill into Hampton, and therefore, it didn’t take long at all. C Sharp, Poseidon, and I all got to the road at the same time. The only one left was Ragnar.
The sky was getting dark, and it was obvious that it would start raining at anytime. We noticed a sign for the Kincora Hostel which was just .2 miles off trail and only cost 5 dollars for a bunk, shower, and laundry. We didn’t hesitate to head the .2 miles up the road to the hostel.
We wrote a note at the road telling Ragnar (who was still behind us) where we’d be at. Right as we started walking toward the hostel, it started pouring. We ran up the road and into the hostel’s porch.
There were so many cats popping out from everywhere. They were climbing out of the rafters and out from under the house. Anyways, we went into the hostel and saw a couple of other hikers also there. Soon after we arrived, Bob Peoples (the owner) offered to take us to town.
We loaded into his car and asked him to take us to the gap where our friends might be waiting. There we saw Ragnar, Imposter, and Gunsmoke. We told them to head to the hostel, and then we proceeded to town. Our group decided to make a big spaghetti dinner for the family, so we gathered up all the necessary food and headed back.
It didn’t take long to cook up all the food, and we all loaded up our plates and feasted. We got to talk to Bob about all his cats and found that he only lets one cat in the hostel because the rest aren’t house trained. We all hung out for a while and then headed off to bed.

Day 57: (June 9th)

There was quite a ruckus early in the morning. We quickly found out that one of the outside cats had gotten into the hostel somehow, and there was now cat shit right next to Gunsmokes head. Bob was quick to clean up after the cat, but Gunsmoke, and pretty much everyone else for that matter, couldn’t go back to sleep after the commotion. We all got ready to head back on trail and hike some serious miles. We wanted to make it past Watauga Lake to the nearest campsite after the bear closure area.
Right as we were packing up, Fridge and 13 showed up. They said that the notes C Sharp left for them made them keep hiking to catch up to us. However, they didn’t want to hike out with us; instead, they decided to yellow blaze (hitch hike) to Damascus which was only about 50 miles away. We all ate some breakfast together, and those of us that wanted to keep hiking headed out.
In just two short miles, we arrived at Laurel Falls. It was a gorgeous waterfall right off the trail, and we couldn’t help but hop in the water and cool off a bit. We hung around at the falls and then continued on.
The rest of the hike consisted of one relatively large climb up a mountain and then back down to the bottom of it. It was 3 miles of only uphill, so we took many breaks. We got to the top of the mountain and raced down the other side. It wasn’t long before we were outside of the Watauga Lake.
Here, we saw a sign for the Boots Off hostel which was just .6 miles up the road. Harambe said that he was still hanging out there with Sneak and Giggles, so we decided to check it out. It didn’t take much convincing to get us to stay for a night.
It was a very nice hostel with a fire pit and some cool bunkhouses. We convinced Harambe to hang out with us there for a while and have a couple of beers. After drinking together for a bit, C Sharp announced that he wanted to do the 42 miles into Damascus tomorrow. It didn’t seem like such a bad idea at the time, so Harambe and I decided to join him. We decided that we would stay the night and leave at 4 the next morning.
A short while later, the hostel owners said that there was a dinner shuttle leaving soon. We piled 13 people into a very crowded van and headed into Hampton. C Sharp, Harambe, and I loaded up on some energy drinks for the 42 mile dash the next day, grabbed some food and beer, and we all headed back to the hostel.
Though we were waking up very early the next morning, we stayed up drinking with the rest of the trail family. They all thought that we were crazy but wished us luck. I want to bed around 11 and tried to fall asleep as quickly as possible before my 3 AM alarm went off the next morning.

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