Carey Kish is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, a distance of 2,200 miles over a period of 5-6 months. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here (read them all). You can also follow his journey on his Facebook page.
April 26, 2015: Clyde Smith Shelter to Stan Murray Shelter, 12.8 miles, 9:30am to 4:30pm.
We had a big snorer in the house last night! Tried to ignore but finally had to get up and fish out my industrial grade ear plugs. Slept like a baby after that. Did manage to hear some rain on the metal roof during the night.
Woke to rain, the forest outside the shelter in a cloud. Slept in till 8, then started moving. Still didn’t get out until 9:30, but then why rush out into the cold rain. Nice new (to me anyway) trail over Little Rock Knob and down to Hughes Gap.
Wasn’t looking forward to the big 2300-foot grind up Roan Mountain on that nasty steep, rocky and eroded old trail. Lo and behold, much of the trail had been re-routed and a series of wonderful switchbacks installed. Awesome!
Still the climb was a big grunt in the oftentimes heavy rain. Took a good couple hours to make Ash Gap at 5400 feet. It was walking in a rain cloud the whole time. Hood up and jacket zipped to my chin and still I was cold.
Another hour and I was on top. Stood in the mist at Toll House Flats and ate everything I had stashed in my jacket, then continued ahead on the wide and easy trail over the long summit ridge line. Took the side trail the 0.1 mile up to Roan High Knob Shelter, which sits essentially on the 6200-foot peak.
The cabin there was a Godsend. I ducked in out of the rain to find a half dozen hikers inside, their body heat actually made the place feel warm. Loved it, and actually enjoyed a comfortable lunch. Could’ve stayed as there was plenty of room (it was 2pm), and probably should have stayed with bad weather and all, and this being the highest shelter on the entire trail. All that said, I wanted to get further on.
Down I went to Carvers Gap on what appeared to be an old carriage road. Visibility near zero at the road. Across and up, out into the big open with the full blast of the weather. Rain blew sideways at times as I climbed up to Round Bald and beyond to Jane Bald. It wasn’t until the side trail to Grassy Ridge that the trail began to trend down into the trees. Knew I missed a lot of good views on Roan and the two balds, but oh well. Can’t get them all. Perhaps tomorrow over Hump Mtn.
Original plan was to push 14 miles to the big old barn that is Overmountain Shelter, but when I reached the Stan Murray Shelter there were only three people inside, all three from last night–Sam I Am, Shiny and Red Hot. I’m in! The place looks as good as the Ritz way up here in the rain at 5000 feet. The move will add two miles to my day tomorrow but who cares.
Supper is done, soup and spaghetti. Dessert of several chocolate bars. Damp and cold here, still at 7:30. Looks like no one else is coming in. Gonna be a good night to snuggle deep in the bag.