Day 33: Roan High Knob to Apple House

Trip Start Mar 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Saturday, April 17, 2010

What's up!
Did you know the Appalachian Trail goes through 14 states? Virginia is the longest and West Virginia is the shortest. If I start to repeat these " interesting facts" then yell at me, or maybe you don't want to hear these little tidbits, you can yell at me for that too.

So today was an awesome day. Started a bit chilly up on Roan Mtn but after my delicious breakfast of peaches and cream oatmeal I was all warmed up. The first couple of miles were downhill on the old road from Carvers Gap. They used this to ferry people up to the luxury resort that was up on Roan Mtn back in the 1800s. All that is left now is the foundation.

After Roan the trail goes up a series of balds, on top of one of these we call up a hostel to make breakfast reservations for tomorrow... We are going to bed very excited :)

The balds are spectacular, 360 views of TN and NC and of course Roan Mtn and the future trail path are clearly visible. A bit smoggy beyond that tho. After the balds we have a nasty descent through lots of blowdowns and stuff. Lunch is our reward, we eat at a shelter that used to be a barn... Really cool. It must be the biggest shelter on the trail and definitely the coolest so far. It's also the only privy for a 50 mile stretch so we take advantage.

The shelter is also right off the "overmountain victory trail" which traces the route of the "overmountain men" a group of militia that hiked 170 miles to join the battle at Kings Mtn during the Revolutionary War. Lots of history down this way!  After lunch we tackle the humps. Little Hump Mtn is great, good views, and Frankie the Sleeper had an encounter with 3 bears: a mommy and two cubs. This all happened just behind me and I never noticed a thing tho I must have walked right by the bears.  After Little Hump the trail takes an AWFUL route back south through one of the nastiest sections of blowdowns and pointless switchbacks ever. Turns out that I was the only one to see this little detour (it was poorly marked) and so I've used the opportunity to call my fellow hikers "cheaters" and "blue blazers" and all that other fun stuff. We give each other a hard time and joke around a lot out here... Gotta keep the sense of humor and laughter levels high.The climb up Hump Mtn was pretty tough, very steep and exposed ridgeline (no trees) and the wind was really gusting to the point that hiking poles were very nice to have to keep from being blown off the trail... Yikes! (the one scenario where you don't mind having all that extra ballast on your back!!)  The views from up there were really wonderful though, if it wasn't so windy I think we would have spent much more time.

The descent down 2000 ft is hard on the knees (don't know if the downhills ever get easier) and the rock scrambles in a few places are challenging. At one point though we suddenly enter spring, everything is green along the trail and the smell of wildflowers is so amazing. Just felt like a welcome back from our mtn climbing up over 6000 ft.

The shelter here at Apple House is only .5 mi from the road so the rumor is that the locals come mess with hikers here and trash the place... We were thinking of trying to camp someplace else, however when we arrive the place is really nice, there's an orchard just across the stream that has excellent water. And best part: some locals came up and "trashed the place" by leaving trail magic and some plastic chairs to sit in. Oatmeal creme pies, Oreos, bananas, chips and salsa, cokes, etc! Wow what a way to finish the day.And to top it all off when we hit doll flats just a couple miles back we left North Carolina for good. So, two states down and 12 to finish. I don't feel like quitting yet, so I guess that's good.I'll let ya know how the breakfast goes in the next entry :D
Nighty nite,Donner
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