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 27, 2015: Stan Murray Shelter to US19E above Roan Mountain TN, 10.6 miles, 9:20am to 3:30pm.
The 40th day on the trail has proven to be the best of the trek to date, a beautiful day and outstanding walking terrain being big contributing factors.
This morning at 6 it was 38F and as dank and damp and cold as it was last night. I turned over. At 7:30 Sam I Am and Shiny are up, and Red Hot is out at the picnic table in the sun. It is cold and windy out there, but the day finally holds promise. Good thing, because after yesterday we all need a nice one, especially given the big scenery day over Hump Mountain.
Made a cocoa and coffee mix followed by a good helping of oatmeal. Hadn’t had oatmeal in several weeks, and in this morning’s cold it tasted excellent and was some kind of filling.
Out of the shelter and up the trail I was at the side trail to Overmountain Shelter at Yellow Mountain Gap in lass than an hour. I would finally like to see the place but I wasn’t up for the 0.2 miles each way. Instead I kept on chugging upslope, and was soon treated to fine views south over the red barn that is the shelter and beyond to Grassy Ridge, Round Bald and Jane Bald and to Roan. Wonderful!
Charged up, in no time I was on top of Little Hump Mountain with more outstanding views in every direction. Had forgotten how impressive Big Hump looks for this vantage point. Open grassy bald terrain stretching from here to there. Looks a lot like the high alpine terrain of the Whites, the fells of England and the munros of Scotland.
Took lots of images and shot a video, then descended. Stopped to fill up the water bladder at a nice piped spring, then was soon out in the open and dropping down to Bradley Gap, the bulk of Big Hump directly ahead of me.
Moving Forward and Pilgrim had passed me at the spring and I could see they were now well on their way up Hump. I savored every step of the climb. And was very glad to have a long sleeve shirt on underneath my windbreaker plus the wool cap.
Kept stopping to look back at the grand view over Little Hump to Roan. Over the east ridge of Big Hump was the craggy ridge line of Grandfather Mtn. Met a couple guys coming down just below the summit. Chatted a bit and hit them to snap a few pics of me.
Enjoyed a few precious minutes on top taking in the 360, then sauntered down the north side. All too soon I was in the trees and making the long and winding and rather rocky descent to Doll Flats, a lovely grassy shelf and the last landmark before heading down in earnest to the highway. Passed a sign indication we were leaving North Carolina for good.
At the Apple House campsite I could take the windbreaker, hat and long sleeve shirt no more. On with the stinky T-shirt and ball cap. At the road, turned west and walked the half-mile to Mountain Harbour B&B, a heaven-on-earth place that is also a hiker hostel. Shannon the owner checked me into the sweet bunkhouse, which is situated above the barn.
Got a much needed hot shower, then Shannon brought me the “surprise” gift she’d mentioned earlier… a 12-pack of PBR delivered by a group of day hikers I’d met at Rich Mountain fire tower outside of a Hot Springs some 10 days ago. Wow! They even signed the 12-pack box! Now I’m gonna have to look through my pics to remember them!!
Passed cold beers all around and enjoyed them in the sun on the porch of the little general store. Around 5, Carl from Bob’s Dairyland down in Roan Mountain came and picked a few of us up in his bright red Mustang and zipped us into town. Big eats of BBQ there, stuffed to the gills, me and a half dozen other hiker buddies. Yep, the thru-hiker pack thing is kicking in. A very good time.
Sitting around the living room of the hostel now, relaxing and talking. Laundry is going, think I’ll check on it before it gets too late. By the way, stood on the bathroom scale: I’m 158 pounds, down 17 since the start. Yeah. A good day all around. Here’s to 40 more plus plus plus…