The Blizzard of ’16 and Hostel With No Name

I survived the Tennessee Blizzard of ’16!

When I reached the Roan highlands the second week of May, I was looking forward to the exceptional views that ended up being one of the nudges I needed to commit to doing “the whole thing” in the first place.  Instead, day one over the most picturesque balds of the Southern AT consisted of 17 miles through accumulating snow.  After a  stay with 40 people at Overmountain Shelter, I practically ran over the remaining two summits and 10 miles trying to stay upright in the winds and not fall on my butt hiking back down through ice, snow, and slush. (I ended up on my butt 3 times.)


Not pictured: 60 mph winds.

Needless to say, when my band of partially frozen hikers and I reached 19E, we were set on sleeping indoors and in a bed that night.  We noticed an ad at the road crossing for a new yet-to-be-named hostel and calling the phone number was probably the best decision we made since not dropping our winter gear in Erwin, Tennessee.

Not only did David drive out and pick us up, he drove us into town for a resupply and hot meal before taking us to the hostel.

The best (and only) $12 burger in town.

The best (and only) $12 burger in town.

David and his wife own a small farm complete with horses, chickens, and goats.  They use the goats’ milk to make soap which he gave us each a half bar of at the end of our stay.


The hostel itself is comprised of mini-bedrooms in the upstairs of their home and at the time of our stay was being finished through hiker work-for-stay.  David aims to provide the best hostel experience possible by listening to hikers themselves. For $30 a night, we each had a bed with linens in a semi-private room, a shower with a towel and soap, laundry, shuttles to the trail and town, and kitchen and common area use.  Overflow campsites were also available.


David was able to keep a table of hungry hikers at bay with a tasty breakfast.

For $10 more, David cooked us a homemade breakfast complete with eggs from his own chickens and sausage from pigs he raised himself. We spent the previous afternoon watching movies and petting goats so it took all of our will power not to stay another night.  After the blizzard experience, just getting to sleep in a bed for one night was as refreshing as a zero!

If you’re hiking near Roan Mountain and are in need of a place to stay, give David a call at 575 694-0734 – He’ll pick you up.

Keep up with daily updates on my thru-hike adventure on my Instagram. The first 470 NoBo miles are done- On June 1st I will summit Katahdin and finish out the remaining 1752 miles SoBo!

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