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.
May 5, 2015: Damascus to Lost Mountain Shelter, 16.2 miles, 9am to 5pm.
It’s never easy to leave a trail town, especially if it’s Damascus (but not if its Gatlinburg!). I was ready to rock by 7:30, but needed to wait an hour until the PO opened so I could mail a box of stuff home and a package ahead to Pearisburg.
MoFo and Pilgrim were up at the ungodly hour of 5am (before that actually, but that’s when I woke up). I was able to get back to sleep, but woke again at 6:30 to find Drop Bear getting packed. God love her she’d made a pot of coffee so I got up. I could’ve slept a couple more hours easily though.
Drop Bear was gone by 8 and it was just me at the hostel. Always makes me feel a little lonely. Good reason to get back on the trail. A half hour later I wandered down the quiet main street to the PO and got things mailed. Back at the hostel I said goodbye to Paul, our host. Can’t say enough good things about Hikers Inn, it’s been great in every way, clean, comfy, quiet. A little vacation of sorts.
Left town the back way, through the neighborhood behind the hostel to the Virginia Creeper Trail, a well-known rail-to-trail, then out to US58 past the old Dot’s. The Creeper Trail follows the highway for a mile, then heads uphill into the woods. Nice day for walking, if a little on the hot side.
Climbed and climbed to a wooded high point then descended to cross the highway again. Next was a short section on the Creeper Trail, then a big climb up to Saunders Shelter, some 8 miles from town. Met Drop Bear at the shelter side trail having lunch along with Jeopardy from Maryland. Chatting with Jeopardy we discovered that he too had a heavy pack coming out of town. “Would you like a beer,” he says. The Aussie and I agree to split one, and it’s gone in a few swigs. Yeah for on-trail magic!
Down and down after lunch. Speaking of, I’ve got a heckuva bag of lunch and snack foods that is weighing down my pack big time. Don’t know what I was thinking in Food City yesterday, but I’ve got it now and it must be eaten. But the pack is carrying like a rock today. Guess I’ll get over it.
The AT followed the Creeper Trail again for quite a while, offering pleasant and easy walking through the valley of what I believe is the Holston River. After crossing a long bridge over an old trestle, the trail headed up for the next shelter. Glad I stopped at that little stream a ways back to refill my water bladder, because now I’m sure needing it.
Rain spattered down for the next ten minutes. Trail eased off and soon I was at the shelter. Bunch of hikers here, most are tenting do there’s plenty of shelter space. Drop Bear pulled in soon after and grabbed a spot. She looked beat too. Tough day with heavy packs, big mileage, heat and humidity, lots of climbing.
Tomorrow it’s up and over two 5000-footers, Whitetop and Mt Rogers. Gonna be good day.