Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Start: No Business Knob Shelter
End: Indian Grave Gap, TN 395
Miles: 14.6 (+0.5 around town)
This morning, I woke up around 6:45am and was on trail by 7:30-ish. It poured rain for most of the night and into the early morning, pounding on the roof of the shelter. This shelter, like many others in this area, doesn’t have a privy. To me, this is both irritating and time consuming, in addition to making it harder to Leave No Trace.
As I hiked towards Erwin, TN, it began to rain again. I was soaked by the time I hit River Rd in Erwin. I swung by Uncle Johnnys and was NOT impressed. On a nice day, I’d say that a shelter would be an improvement. The dogs had fleas, the bunk room was dirty and smelled, the shower room had little privacy. The entire place seemed held together by spit, dirt, tar, and wire. They were also very expensive, if you wanted to resupply at the hostel. I grabbed a few things, ate a snack, charged my phone a bit, and headed out without laundry or shower. Honestly, I didn’t feel safe there.
Hiking in stinky, wet clothes in overcast conditions while climbing uphill does little for moral. The chafing on my feet and groin was also making me an unhappy hiker. I found myself headed towards the train of thought that desires to stop and go home. So when I arrived at Indian Grave Gap/TN 395 and found a trail angel stationed there, I was exhaustedly delighted. Brother Tom gave me some sweet tea and chatted with me for a while. He played the sensible, self-care focused side, while I struggled to make decisions I was happy with while also being dehydrated and anxious about miles. Brother Tom kindly offered to give me a ride to town. After much debate, I finally settled on heading to Cantarroso Farm; I called and they had space and were willing to drive me back to the trail in the morning.
After getting here, meeting Mike, seeing the cabin, showering, getting clean laundry, and having dinner in town, I feel much better and I’m happy with my choice. At Mike’s offer/suggestion, I’m going to slackpack tomorrow. It’ll give me a day to just make miles without a pack; it’ll be easier on my body and spirit. And I’ll have a lovely cabin to come back to!