May 4th
River Rd/Erwin,TN(341.7)-Cherry Gap Shelter(359) N Carolina/Tennessee

Elevation chart courtesy of Guthook’s AT Hiker app. He has apps for many trails including the PCT and CDT.

I was up til almost 1am last night at the hotel doing blog and email stuff. I was surprisingly not tired so I figured I’d stay up and get things done and sleep in this morning…I woke up at 7am wide awake for some reason. LOVE having my own hotel room! I lounged in bed for awhile. I got to watch Hulu and could have laid there all day. I watched Greys Anatomy, Modern Family, and Mindy Project. I did take a break to take advantage of the continental breakfast too. I wanted to indulge and rest a bit, so it was a leisurely return to trail. Fortunately, I was contacted through the blog by some blog followers, Andy(Mr. Clean) and Julia who were going to be in the area this weekend and were interested in meeting me and assisting in any way they could. The timing was perfect! Andy and Julia picked me up at 10am, brought me some resupply food as a gift and took me to the store to buy the rest. We then went to Subway to bring on the trail for lunch and they hiked in 12mi with me. They have been section hiking the trail and this was a section that they had yet to do. It was a great day!

There isn’t too much to mention about the trail itself today other than that it was uphill most of the day. We actually thought it would be worse looking at the elevation, but it wasn’t bad at all. We talked easily most of the day and the time just flew by! The temperature had warmed to the 70s, so I did sweat, but it was a pretty perfect day with nice breezes. The rest of the week should be similar so I’m totally lucking out with good weather. I didn’t take too many pictures, but I will say that the streams have been nicer lately with little cascades sometimes. It looks cooler in person.

We stopped a couple hours in near a stream to have our Subway and were very happy with our decision to bring it in. Just great! We did our own delayed photo proudly displaying our Subway lunch and then some thrus came by and took a picture for us.

Andy and Julia easily kept pace and enjoyed the hike so it was perfect. They were joining me to a location called Beauty Spot gap and we saw a bald so we expected a nice view. We saw that we’d go over two humps and thought the second one was going to be the more scenic of the two, so we took less care in our photos at the first bald. Well, it turned out the other hump wasn’t even a viewpoint, so we regretted not taking the first one more seriously. We missed our photo op, darn. Here is what I did take.

I really liked hiking with Andy and Julia and I’ve really enjoyed how the blog brings these great random people into my life. It felt like we’d been friends for awhile and even watch all the same tv shows, ha! When we got to Beauty Spot, we parted ways. Julia will be posting about the hike on her blog, and it’s a cool site so many of you may enjoy it, check it out. I had another decent uphill after we separated that took me to the top of Unaka Mtn. It is labeled “dense spruce forest” on the AT Guide so I didn’t expect much. Now, I know I’m hormonal right now, but it was a real moment for me up there! I felt like I was in an enchanted forest and that Robin Hood and his merry men could come riding up at any moment. I tried to take pictures, but they weren’t capturing it. I even tried to video it. I was just really taken by the forest up there. The smell, light breeze, the way the sun was shining and creating shadows, the spongy soft ground covered in pine needles. Enchanting is the best word I can think of to describe it. Here are my failed attempts to capture it.

I had a few more nice downhill miles to a camp spot that was at a shelter. I got there at 6:30pm and there were already 9 tents set up. It was nice and calmly quiet. I only saw a few out of their tents. It felt like people were just tired and already retired for the night.

One man who has followed the blog recognized me as I looked for a campsite and we talked for a bit. Then I did my camp chores and am happy to say I’m getting to bed well before 10pm. It’s the mildest night yet with the usual nightly gusts that have been showing up around this time each night. It’s the first night I’ll sleep with the door open and just the mesh. The moon is also really bright and I don’t even need my headlamp. Just a really nice day today!

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