Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 22 (23 miles)
I woke up around 7 at Uncle Johnny’s Hostel. I lay there wishing to go back to sleep but got up, had a shower and went back to bed to write yesterday’s journal.
At 8 am Pano / @stealthmullet came in. I quickly finished off writing, packed and headed out the door. We dropped by the motel, where I sent a new MP3 player, on the way to Bojangles for breakfast. I have to say, their fries are good!
By 9.30 I was at the trailhead saying goodbye to Pano. It was overcast, warm and it only drizzled a couple of times. A fairly good day.
I started the climb to Unaka Mountain. I found the mountain truely stunning. It had some gorgeous evergreens with moss everywhere. I think it is striking considering my comparison is to barren trees winter trees.
On the way up I tried to hold off on the MP3 player but that only lasted for an hour. I decided to play a couple of locals, Alabama Shake and Avett Brothers. I have only had a half dozen podcasts since I broke my old MP3 player a couple of weeks ago. I did listen to the @Routespodcast ; most are good but the @walkingwithwiredepisode really hit home. 90% of what she said could have come from me. Check it out at https://m.soundcloud.com/routespodcast/walking-w-wired if you have a free half hour as it is a great reflection on why I hike.
I was just having one of those great days that come around every once in a while. I felt great physically fit, which was surprising given my legs were tired yesterday and great mentally.
The day flowed well, I was in the zone and the miles were coming easily as I headed up to Roan High Knob.
Night fell as I approached Cloudland Mountain. I was above 6,000ft (1.8km) and the path turned icy. With the combination of darkness, ice and being in the clouds (my headlight has trouble penetrating) my pace slowed to a crawl. The 0.5 miles to Roan Mountain Shelter took over half an hour. At this rate, it would take me until morning to walk the 6 miles to my planned shelter so I packed it in for the day.