What a drastic change 12 hours can have. Over the past three days I’ve seen nothing but sun and bluebird skies. It’s been a more than welcomed change to the first seven days of flood like rain and horrible trail conditions.
Day 9 (Monday 4/20) – Although I awoke to fairly awful pain in my left knee again, I decided to move on with the gorgeous weather. Once I got the blood flowing, the knee pain dwindled and I pushed on to make 16.7 miles. Finally made it to good ole NC!! I started further back than most, so when I got to Standing Indian shelter, there was no room left. I decided to camp at the base of the mountain with some section hikers from FL. This turned out to be a good decision as they had a raging fire, whiskey, homeade deer jerky, and reminded me a good bit of friends back home. The only downfall to the night was that temps reached 35 degrees and my summer bag was ill equipped for the night. It was a cold and restless nights sleep.
Day 10 (Tuesday 4/21) – Once I got up and running, day 10 was an easy hike. A fairly gradual climb up Standing Indian Mountain was the only really cumbersome task due to cold temps and the aching knee. I was definitely sore from my biggest miles yet the day prior, but I made 11.3 miles in relative ease to Betty Creek Gap. The gap was situated amongst mountain laurel and a creek that was now a class 3 because of the recent rain. There were about 15 other hikers set up in this version of tent city. Dinner was a buzz with the pains of the previous wet seven days and the beauty of the past two. I set up camp early and got to bed around 8. It was cold again, but not as bad as the previous night.
Day 11 (Wed 4/22 – Today) – Another gorgeous day to hike. I woke up early this morning raring to go. It was another easy day, minus the brief but steep incline over Albert Mountain. It was a tough climb, but the most fun and rewarding one yet. The view was expansive and showed a glimpse of some of the fun I’ll be having over the next few weeks. It was an easy 12.2 miles to Winding Stair Gap. When I showed up, a guy named Butcher I’d been leapfrogging the past few days was hitching a ride to Frankin, NC. I happily jumped in for the ride.
Butcher and I ran around town re-supplying food, drinking and eating at Motor Co. and doing laundry. Now, I’m sitting on yet another Budget Inn motel bed about to call it a night. We’re headed out on a 7:30 shuttle tomorrow. I’ve got two and a half days to make it to the N.O.C to meet Warpzilla and Hazel Mae for a zero day. Looking forward to seeing them both.
P.S. – All photos are from phone, my real camera cannot be uploaded until I’ve got a computer, which should happen this weekend when Warp comes to visit.
Cheers for now,
Murph (trail name stil TBD)