Week 5 on the Appalachian Trail!

Hello Friends! Enjoy the update and photos below.

Day 28

We left Uncle Johnny’s Hostel about 7 AM which is our standard start time. It was a beautiful day and temperatures were quite comfortable with a gentle breeze so much so that we ended up doing pretty big miles 20.5!

There was trail magic from Brother Tom at the first road crossing. Hot drinks and baked goods. It was very nice. He set up some chairs right by the roadside and has been doing this on weekdays for the past eight years .

The trail was really beautiful today and we made our way to Beauty Spot, which was a lovely area, but we saved our break for a shady place down the hill.

We were able to enjoy lots of stretching and had lots of delicious food we acquired in Erwin. Paul’s food bag might’ve been the heaviest yet at 13 pounds or so. He carries the majority of our food.

The spruce forest was quite lovely. It was very nice to be among the spruce trees and feel the needles soft under our feet.

We listened to birds sing their evening song as the sun dipped below a mountain, and a gentle breeze caressed us in our tent.

Day 29

Another beautiful day on the AT! We enjoyed our breakfast in the tent and watched the sunrise. The sky was clear, wind low and the sunshine had Laura down to her shorts and t-shirt. This was only the second time it felt warm enough.

We took morning break at a shelter 6 miles in.

We have a mission to eat the majority of our food before tomorrow afternoon when we pick up a mailed resupply.

And wouldn’t you know it, there was some awesome trail magic at the gap before we climbed Roan Mountain. Some thru-hikers from 2022 (CK, Patience, Chipmunk) provided seating, burritos, fruit, beer and non alcoholic bevs. They had other snacks, a charging station, even toothbrushes and the little wash rags. Everything a hiker could want.

We climbed all the way up to where the Jeffery Pines live. We checked out the highest shelter on the AT, which is more like a cabin. We didn’t see any flying squirrels.

The balds on Roan Mountain gave us more incredible views but didn’t let us stop for long as the wind picked up.

After 18.8 miles we set up camp.

Day 30

We headed out before the sun rose and enjoyed listening to all of the birds singing their morning songs. Because the trees were only about 15 to 20 feet high and had no leaves, we could see all of the birds that were singing much more easily.

We found ourselves finishing up the Roan Highlands with one more bald. A few meadows preceded it and the birdsong was beautiful. Paul spotted a little rabbit and using the bird app on the phone and we could identify a variety of birds.

Crossing the final bald was amazing. The views were beautiful, and we could see far off and notice the other hikers ahead of us that looked like ants in the distance.

We officially left NC and rolled into Tennessee. All of the sudden, it was spring time in meadows with gentle ups and downs.

Walked back to the trail just in time for the rain to hit and got pretty wet pretty quickly. The long meadow, grasses, and flowers were happy about the rain.

I lost all my steam suddenly and so we found a campsite and settled in for the rest of the day. The rain stopped.

14 miles.

Day 31

We heard the Eastern Screech Owl and the Barred Owl overnight.

The morning kept the threat of rain alive, but the terrain was pretty gentle and water was plentiful. We took a blue blazed trail to a waterfall that was worth it, just like the graffiti on the sign said.

There were numerous foot bridges across runs and again, I’m reminded of PA trails.

We took our morning break at a shelter and it is nice to enjoy them when they are empty and we can put out our mats and stretch.

Our afternoon break came after some cascades in a grove hidden by rhododendron.

Again, I started feeling exhausted and we decided to camp at the next shelter. It is frustrating for me when this happens and we’ve been getting less miles than we had been but it is reality that needs to be respected.

15.9 mile day.

Day 32

We heard our first whippoorwill as we went to sleep. Now we hear another as we are going to sleep today.

Awoke to a thunderstorm this morning. Our alarm started going off just as the first raindrops began to fall. So we went out and had a pee real quick and came back and listened to the thunder and watch the lightning and fell back to sleep.

It was a day of beautiful trails, and we got to hike to an amazing waterfall in a big gorge.

Paul spotted a lizard and a snake.

We arrived at Boots Off Hostel. They were all booked up so we got to use the overflow area which is actually quite nice and away from the big party crowd. We shared an ice cream and Tostitos pizza.

The late spring summer time bugs are already out making noise this evening.

Finished our 14.8 mile day at mile 428!

Day 33

We really like living in the woods!

Today we took a rain shower in one of the unique showers at boots off hostels. Then we enjoyed their continental breakfast and accidentally use someone’s personal milk for cereal. We really like tenting at hostels when it’s available because it is much less expensive and we prefer sleeping in our tent.

Today we hiked 18.7 miles which we think is a really good big day for us at this point in time 20s are a lot and the conditions really have to be perfect for us to do a 20.

But on the trail we’ve gotten to interact with others, learn how they do things and see all of the different ways they’re truly are to hike this trail and so many people are doing it.

We got some nice views of the very large lake, and we’re rather surprised at how large the lake was.

It really felt summery today as we hiked, especially during the hottest time of the day, and we were excited to start to consider about what things we’d like to send back to take the weight out of our packs until we make it to New England.

It was nice in the late afternoon when the clouds came in to keep the day from getting too hot.

We enjoyed a lot of the Birdsong today again, and are getting a little better at identifying, which bird is singing.

We got to do the version of the day where we eat dinner and then hike on so all we have to do is set up our tent and hang the bear bag. It is fun to have different versions of our day. We don’t have to do the same thing every time, and that allows us to make more choices based upon how we’re feeling with the trail is like and how the weather is.

Day 34

Another beautiful day on the AT! 19.8 mile day since my foot started hurting and we had to stop prior to 20.

The hiking was really great today. The weather was perfect and the terrain was friendly. Water was a bit more spaced out then it had been. Each area is a little different, but water sources are an important part of every day.

We really enjoyed our breaks and lunches and dinner and snacks and just in general hiking time outside.

We are camped at the border of Virginia and Tennessee. Spending our first night in Virginia while our bear bag is hung in Tennessee.😂

Going into town is exciting so tomorrow will be a short Nero day. We will be able to accomplish a lot and make plans for our next resupply which is what one thinks about often on the trail.

View of the Nolichucky River.
Behold the Roan Highlands!
A rainy afternoon in Tennessee.
Beautiful blooms.
Unique shower at Boots Off Hostel.

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Comments 2

  • Bob Dove : May 18th

    Look forward to these updates every week. So fun to sit in comfort and travel the AT!

  • Megan A Irvine : May 18th

    I get all the feels as I read your posts from this journey. I appreciate you sharing your experiences of pain and exhaustion on the trail, because that’s normal for most of us. When I was hiking with other people who were faster and in better shape than I was, I struggled to keep up and pushed myself too hard sometimes, but I think it’s better to be able to recognize and accept your limitations. I’m going to try and remember that, if I ever go out there again. I do miss those long hikes.

    I once hiked through a grove of pine (spruce?) trees and it was magical. I also love the meadows. They are a gift after you’ve done a long stretch of rocky elevation. I am surprised at how much trail magic you have encountered, and all the many ways that non-hiking people support the trail by providing food and places to rest. I’ve only done short hikes, and it’s interesting to see how very different your experience is.


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