Currently sitting on the table...
Day 100! I think I've officially been at this for a long time. Am I a thru-hiker yet? I thought about this today. I'll be a southbounder (sobo) until I reach Springer Mountain, at which point I will officially become MEGA Rooster (Maine-Georgia). That's as far as I've thought on that subject. I got to bed early last night and woke throughout my slumber to find a full moon shining down on me. I viewed this as a good omen for a clear day today. I got up early and started hiking in the dark. The moon had unfortunately fallen too low to lend any light. Even in the early light, when I am normally slower, I was trucking along. I came to US 19 pretty early and looked ahead at my elevation profile. Hmm. A five-mile climb? I suppose I should go into town to fuel up. I got picked up with no problem by some guy who was out for his morning drive through the mountains. He attempted to point out the peaks I would be hitting today, but it was still too foggy and cloudy. I ate at Subway and then got snacks from the attached gas station. I sat outside eating an insane amount of chips ahoy cookies when a local asked me if I was headed back to the trail. I had secretly hoped this would happen. Sneaky sneaky, Rooster.
Back on the trail, I began my gradual assault on Hump Mountain. I knew I would be hitting the Tennessee-North Carolina border, but I didn't know if it would be marked. I was delighted to find that it was! This means that for the next few hundred miles or so, I will essentially be walking the border. I had fun with this notion, thinking of steps with my right foot counting as "TN miles" and steps with my left foot counting towards NC. What if one stride is systematically longer than the other? I could be short-changing a state! I now imagine that my left buttcheek is in NC. The fun can only continue. About a mile from the summit, the trees abruptly stopped. This was one of those bald mountains! I love hiking out of the trees. It helps the miles just fly by when you can see that summit up ahead. I cruised over Hump and Little Hump before coming to one of the most famous shelters on the AT: Overmountain. It's a converted barn, so it's just massive. The guidebook says it sleeps twenty, but who can say for sure? I got a picture as I approached it, which was apparently enough for me because I eschewed the 0.3 mile side trail.
More bald walking brought me on to a number of other intermediate peaks between 5000 and 6000 feet. The hiking was sublime, some of my favorite on the entire trail. Being in a state park, I ran into a good number of people. One of these people was an alpine climber from Georgia on a day hike. He gave me a Snickers bar and said "Have a good one" in such a genuine way that I was almost knocked over by a wave of kindness. I crossed a road (such a funny thing at 6000 feet) then it was a small climb up to Roan High Knob. Not a single raindrop touched my head today, even with the threat of afternoon storms. This and other similar weather miracles have me convinced that Pamola is watching over me. Pamola is the weather god that watches over Katahdin or something. I'm fuzzy on the details, but he has an eagle head with a human torso and moose legs. Not like a centaur, just two legs. Anyways, I have accepted Pamola into my heart and will be starting a Pamola church when I am done with the trail. Today's weather made for one of my best days yet. I'm told it will be raining buckets tomorrow, but for today I can't complain about a thing. And I got in to the shelter before 4, even after going into town for breakfast. Can you say efficiency? Say it louder. So I can hear you! EFFICIENCY!