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 29, 2015: Mountaineer Shelter to Dennis Cove Road, 15.6 miles, 8:15am to 4pm.
Certainly the nicest shelter I’ve stayed at yet, clean, big, nice location. Two young women were out early. Fig was up early too, but waited around for me and Don so he could hike with us some of the day. Excellent night’s sleep, so it was no pain to get up and going.
Nothing spectacular about today’s walk, yet is was a good one. Expected rain all day but despite a few rumbles of thunder in early afternoon and some thick dark clouds in late morning, the wet never materialized.
Much of the walking today was through rhododendron thickets and tunnels. No landmarks most of the time, just woods, and trail that wound up and around and down and over again. A good day to put one foot in front of the other and just go after it.
Chatted with Fig for a while this morning as we leap frogged along the way, then this afternoon the same with Drop Bear, the first time I’d really hiked and talked with anyone since the day on Springer so long ago in Georgia.
Climbed up onto a long ridge and made our way along and then down to the old and well-used Moreland Gap Shelter. Was the planned lunch stop at the 10-mile mark, but by then I had no interest in stopping. Had taken a short break above just before at a viewpoint when I’d noticed a cell tower blinking in the valley below. Booked ahead for two nights in Damascus. Should be there in 4 days.
More ridge walking followed. Thought I would pass the old firetower a mile or so after the shelter, but it was gone from the ridge and the trail bypassed the area anyway. More ups and downs finally lead to Dennis Cove Road. Standing there waiting for Drop Bear to catch up, a Suburban pulls up and I here, “Beerman!”
It’s MoFo and Pilgrim getting a ride into Black Bear Hostel (they’d been slack packing). Franklin, the driver, said he’d come back for us, and so he did. And that’s where a whole bunch of us are at, the very wonderful Black Bear Hostel right on the banks of Laurel Fork.
Two of us are sharing a cabin, others are as well, plus there’s a bunk room. The owners Bob and Mary Lee and their daughter Stephanie are awesome hosts. Liked Bob right away in his PBR ball cap. Wasn’t long here before I’d fished a cold Yuengling out of the store fridge.
Been hanging around ever since, drinking a few beers, enjoying the company of the other hikers, relaxing in this sweet place. Dinner was a mini pizza out of the fridge, microwaved. Then a burrito, and then an ice cream sandwich. The store has had a steady flow of traffic for hours now, beer and food going out the door at a steady rate.
Tomorrow is a slack pack day over Pond Mtn to Wilbur Dam. Folks here will bring our packs over in the afternoon. We’ll hike from here and do 14 miles. Then we’ll saddle up with the packs on and climb the last 3 miles to Vanderventer Shelter. Virginia is close…