Sunday, May 14, 2017
Start: Roaring Fork Shelter
End: Stateline branch
I was up this morning at 6:15am after a less than restful sleep. The rodents in the shelter were quite active for most of the night, chewing on anything and everything. I spent much of the night tossing and turning, hoping they weren’t eating my bag (even though all my food/ smellables were hanging from the bear cables anyway). Also turns out Parkour giggles in his sleep. It was a bit chilly this morning so I got a slower start than usual. I got my stuff together and headed out by 7:30am.
I climbed from the shelter (4019′) up to Max Patch (4629′) for 360 degree views (there was also call service!). From there I descended to Brown Gap (3500′), up to 3853′, then down to Deep Gap (2911′). I then climbed up to Snowbird Mountain (4263′), where there was some lovely trail magic with cold drinks, cake, sandwiches, banana pudding, resupply snacks, and some personal item resupply. And chairs! I hung out there for probably half an hour, enjoying the food and chatting with people. I met Popsicle, who is a section hiker and a Smithie who graduated in 1996; she’s currently traveling all around the world adventuring on her savings.
From there, I descended all the way to Green Corner Rd (1788′), which Sitting Bear hostel is located 0.2mi off the trail. I hiked to the hostel around 3:45, recharged my devices, had some snacks, bought a camp dinner, reapplied my KT tape, and headed back out by 5pm. While Standing Bear isn’t quite 4 Pines in VA, it’s perhaps best compared to Uncle Johnny’s in TN. It’s dirty, full of bugs, and everyone is drinking beer and smoking everywhere (both cigarettes and pot). It was full of people looking to get shuttles to Trail Days in Damascus.
I pushed on, descending under I-40 and going over Pigeon River Bridge (1373′), and then climbed up to Stateline Branch (1698′), setting up camp by the creek at the last campsite between here and the start of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1.1 miles. Despite there being space here for at least 6 tents, no one else is here as of yet. The creak is lovely white noise (which is good because I can vaguely hear the highway) and considering where it is, the bugs are light. I did an extra 1.6 miles today, which is that many less I have to do tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be perpetual climbing, going from 1698′ up to 4950′ within ~6 miles.