Monday, September 26, 2016
Start: Beyond Rice Gap
End: No Business Knob Shelter
Miles: 21.9 (+1.3 for water) (~4,000 ft of elevation gain)
I woke up around 6:15am and was on trail an hour later. I stopped by Hogback Ridge shelter to get water; that was a round trip of 0.6 miles and took me around an hour, after filtering my water and chatting with some SOBOs. Last night, I had no idea where I’d stopped to camp and so I didn’t know that I’d overshot, rather than undershot, my goal. Arriving at the shelter so early in my day encouraged me, in that yesterday felt totally insurmountable and unusually difficult.
Down at Sam’s Gap, I met Rob, a guy with a Casper van labeled “The AT friendly van.” He gave me free soda, snacks, and a place to dump my trash. It was a much needed pick me up; for whatever reason (probably dehydration), I’d been feeling sick to my stomach and the cola helped it settle down. Which was good because I then needed to climb A LOT.
Today, I climbed up to the top of Big Bald (5516′), which was the culmination of 14 miles of climbing. It began raining around 2pm on my way down Big Bald and stormed off and on all afternoon. It soaked me thoroughly, causing substantial chaffing on my feet and groin areas. There was some lightening going on while I was hiking but thankfully the trail at that point was very tree covered and not a high point.
I arrived at No Business Knob Shelter by 6pm and found two SOBO hikers, Cuffs and Omega, already camped out in the shelter. They were friendly and we amicably chatted for a while. Tomorrow, I head into Erwin, TN to resupply, shower, and do laundry before heading on to a campsite. I feel like I’m slowly getting my trail legs.