Day 99: Hampton, TN to Mountaineer Shelter

Sep 19, 2013
Apr 14, 2021
9471 ft
8261 ft
24.2 mi

Currently laying in the shelter... My buddy in the hostel last night ended up being a little interesting. He smoked like a chimney at all hours of the day, then would sleep for a bit, then wake up and eat eggs and read a blog about boating on the computer. This made me kind of wish I had chosen the other hostel in town, but I still got a good night's rest. I ended up getting up early, hoping to get a jump on the rain. I ate almost a whole box of Honey Bunches of Oats and regret nothing. As soon as I started walking, drizzle started and I put on my pack cover. So much for beating the rain. I went up and right back down Pond Flats Mountain, which made it seem pointless, but the trail does what it wants. The rain mostly persisted only as drops from the trees, so I didn't get very cold or wet at all. I worked hard to climb up White Rocks Mountain. Or rather, the trail "skirts it", my guide tells me. I still made decent time to Moreland Gap Shelter, where I stopped for lunch. Are you noticing a pattern with how my days go? It had stopped raining for a while, and by the time I started off again, even the leaves were done dripping. The rest of my hike was basically a ridge walk. I made good time, but I noticed that Tennessee's trail tends to have a lot of little ups and downs, compared to Virginia's absolute flatness. I started off the day worried that Tennessee would be much more rugged than Virginia, but that wasn't really the case. I'll see about tomorrow, when I get up to 6000 feet for the first time since Mount Washington in New Hampshire! If there is a clear spot during the day, that walk along the top of Roan Mountain should be very rewarding. It should be a challenge, though. I've heard a lot of people talk about the wind and the cold up top. That's most of what I was thinking about at the end of my day. Worry worry worry. That seems like it's all I do. Worry about weather, worry about injury, worry about not having enough cheese. More so about those first two. I decided last night that I would much rather arrive at Springer in one piece and a little later than not at all. So I don't want to push miles! Sobos can pass me! My ego can handle it. Besides, 20 mile days means I have 20 days of hiking left. Who wants to rush that? All this pondering aside, I still had that great feeling in my gut when I reached the shelter at the day's end. It's a welcome sight to see a roof to sleep under. And this one is relatively new, with a loft and a covered area to do cooking. The child in me always wants to stake out a spot in the top bunk, but the pragmatic adult (yes I have that side to me) reminds me that I would have to climb up and down in the morning. So forgettaboutit, I'm on the first story, relaxing my legs for a big day tomorrow. I might even go to bed early!