Friday, 29 June
|Destination: Cherry Gap Shelter||Today’s Miles: 17.1|
|Start Location: Uncle Johnny’s Hostel – Erwin, TN||Trip Miles: 362.1|
I got up, packed and had some yoghurt for breakfast before leaving a little before 7:30. I weighed my pack on the way out 26 3/4 pounds with two days food and water. Probably more like three days food but not too bad. The morning dawned sunny. First time with no rain or mist in a while. The weather forecast shows no rain the next couple of days. I enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of the trail instead of racing to a shelter or hostel to beat the afternoon thunderstorm ⚡.
Around 11:30, I was looking for a place to take a break and eat a Snickers. I could hear the road nearby and decided to wait until I crossed. Much to my delight, there was a gentleman with a pickup truck treating hikers. He is there almost every day, weather permitting, as part of a ministry. He treated me to lemonade and banana bread. It made my day.
I crossed a bald called Beauty Spot. The views were magnificent. It was the furthest I could see so far on the hike. Beauty Spot did not have the 360 degree view of some of the other balds. After seeing no hikers on seventeen miles yesterday, I saw many heading south today. That is what happens on the weekend.
I got to my planned campsite around one. Since it was early and the weather nice, if a little warm, I decided to go to the next shelter. That gives me short day to the hostel tomorrow. That will give me a bit of a rest since I have no planned zero days for the rest of the trip. There are two dads and three sons hammocking here. I am in my tent since no rain is forecast. One of the hikers I passed told me the hostel was a great place to stay, so I am looking forward to the Greasy Creek Friendly.
So much for no rain in the forecast. About five, it started to thunder in the distance. I got my dinner together in a hurry. It started to rain as I finished. The rain has continued for over four hours with thunder but no lightning. Hopefully it will stop so my tent can dry by the morning. Another hiker with a dog came in and set up nearby in the rain. Maybe I will stay in the shelters for the last week?