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Dirk's Rambles

April 12, 2021, 4:30 pm

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I am sitting in Mountain Harbor Hostel and B & B after getting here walking the 75.6 miles from April 6-11 including taking a zero on April 8 and a nero (low mileage day) on April 7th. I'm meeting Theresa, my wife, on the 14th so I am chilling here for a few days. This was the easiest location for Theresa to find me. I am going off the trail from now until April 24th to turkey hunt in Kentucky with two of my brothers and several friends.

So after my previous post on April 6 at 7:30 am, alot has happened. At the Natures Inn Hostel, they gave me a ride to Sam's Gap (2.5 miles) on the morning of April and dropped Igloo and another couple, and myself off.

In the parking lot at Sam's Gap, I started stretching and getting my pack ready for the climb. I saw this guy about 30 yards away who looked an awful lot like Brad Servey, my original hiking partner from Ligonier. But at an angle, he didn't look quite like Brad. A little too good looking to be Brad. Plus, certainly Brad would have told me that he was going to try to meet me. And this guy was driving a car.

So as I walked over to my pack, I gave this old looking guy a thumbs up to encourage to old badger. He just looked at me. After I got to my pack, the old dud started walking toward me. It was Brad.

He told me he was leaving the trail, that some of his physical challenges were too much. He said he had calculated where I was though he under calculated where i was because he was going to walk south. I was ready to walk north. It was pure luck that we both arrived in the parking lot within a few minutes of each other. Otherwise, we would never have know each other was there.

So Brad day hiked with me with a reduced pack. We hiked 5.5 miles together to Big Bald on April 6th, which had a beautiful panorama. It was great hooking up with him again. I hadn't seen him since he took a zero at Siler Bald Shelter at mile 195. on the morning of March 28th. At Big Bald, Brad and I ate, then he returned back to his car with an agreement that he would meet me in Erwin, TN to take a zero on April 8th.

At the top of Big Bald, Stew (a member of the Little Hotties) inducted me into the Little Hotties as a member. This is a fun group of 18-30 year olds started as a fun thing to pass the time. Little Hotties in actuality is a commercial hand warmer that these guys clam doesn't work. So based on that, they place the criteria for membership as having walked 100 miles with them and you can't work either. I qualified on both counts.

On April 7th, I hiked the final 6.3 miles into Erwin. There, waiting for me with an IPA and 1/2 a sandwich at 10:30 am was Brad. It was greatly appreciated!

So Brad and I had lunch at the only Mexican Restaurant that served margaritas, after we checked into a Super Eight motel. The restaurant was 10 into another county since the county where we were staying was a "dry" county.

That night we met all of the Little Hotties for dinner at the same restaurant. A good time was had by all! There were about a dozen of us.

On April 8th, I took a zero with Brad. Spent alot of time in the public library getting my blog up to date online. Ate lunch at the Mexican restaurant for the third time in two days. Then took it easy a the hotel room the rest of the evening. Brad took me to the trail the next morning. I began what was to be a 17.1 mile day. Spent the night at Cherry Gap Shelter.

The next morning got an early start on what was going to be a 17.6 mile day. It ended up being an especially difficult hike. Near the end of the day, I had to climb Roan Mountain, the last 6,000 mountain on the trail until I get to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. It is 6,285 feet high. It is a 5.5 mile climb all up hill. To add to the misery, it started to rain about 1/2 a mile from the bottom where I started at 4,040 feet. It rained the whole way to the top. It seemed like the mountain would never end. I finally arrived at the shelter (Roan Mtn. Shelter) around 5:30 pm to find only room for one more person, me in this case. Even though it is a two story shelter, there were 3 dogs and a least 3 children also in the shelter, taking up most of the first floor. There were probably 17 or 18 people in the shelter. I slept on the second floor, next to Savage, who met earlier. I was appreciative to him for making room for me.

I changed into dry clothes. Almost everything I had on was wet. Thankfully, my sleeping bag and extra clothes were dry and helped me get some body heat back. I ate a packet of peanut butter crackers for dinner. I was too tired to crawl back down the ladder to go outside to start me stove. I ate my crackers, drank some water then went to bed.

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