North of Erwin

In the morning after leaving Mountain Inn several of us headed over to Walmart to stock up. We shopped hungry and had a good chuckle at the amount of food TK got. I don’t know how he managed to get it in his pack. Afterwards we walked over to Primo’s Italian and had some good food. We tried to get it the night before but apparently they don’t like to answer the phone.

The group got a shuttle over to Uncle Johnny’s, right where we got off the trail. I picked up my new shoes which were ripping after lots of rain walking. It felt really nice to have a fresh pair.

I started out in the afternoon just for a short day. The shuttle driver suggested the camping just after Curley Maple Gap shelter. It sounded good and met up with Britches, Tinkerbell, Sputnik, Fair Enough and TK there.

One notable change was that we were now in the section maintained Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club (TEHCC). They apparently don’t believe in privies. In the next 120 miles, there is only one shelter with one.

Daily mileage:  4.7, AT mile: 346.2

The next day started with a fairly routine morning, but I ran into some nice trail magic at Indian Grave Gap. A guy with the Catholic Church brought out tea, coffee, fruit and fresh baked goods. I first met “Aussie Legs” at this stop. They are a mother and her two adult daughters from Australia. I also met 3D shortly after.

That afternoon I got hailed on during the climb up Unaka Mountain. The spruce forest at the top was so inviting I decided to just camp there.

Daily mileage: 9.5, AT mile: 355.7

The next day was rather uneventful other than seeing a few familiar faces. I hiked to the Clyde Smith shelter. At the shelter I got a chance to meet Breakless and talk with Firebear and Muddy Duckling from the Aussie Legs group. They were all pretty fun.

Daily mileage: 12.4, AT mile 368.1

I was a bit excited to leave camp since the top of Roan Mountain had a picnic area with bathrooms. I don’t particularly enjoy crapping in the woods. The only problem was the 2200′ climb to get there. It was pretty tiring. I rushed over to them as soon as I got there, but NOOOO. They were still locked for the off season. Apparently they don’t open until Memorial Day weekend. It was crushing. Luckily there was a privy at the Carvers Gap parking area, down at the bottom of Roan. The hike off of Roan was rough though. The whole trail was loose rock that was difficult to walk on.

The area was fairly busy because it was a weekend and it was a short hike to a series of balds. Along the way I met a man out on a memorial walk. His son had passed away from cancer and he was commemorating a hike they had done before. It was a sad story.

Before getting to the Stan Murray shelter a small group of weekenders from Johnson City passed by. One girl told me I was the first thru hiker she had met. It was a cool feeling. They continued on to Overmountain Shelter like I did. Overmountain is really neat because it is an old barn they converted. Surely it would hold more than 30 hikers comfortably. The coolest shelter on the AT I’ve come across.

Daily mileage: 15.0, AT mile: 383.1

The sunrise also brought the rain. There was no avoiding it today. I hiked out in a light drizzle. It was a full blowing rain by time I reached Hump Mountain. It covered several treeless miles. I’m sure they would have been excellent views if I could see past my feet.

Once back in the woods the weather got better fast. First it was just the tree cover, but then the rain stopped and the sun started to warm everything up. I came across a trail runner who told me of the terrible storms coming that evening. I’m not sure why I still listen to the forecast, it’s never right. By the time I got to Doll Flats it was perfect.


At the end of the flats I also said goodbye to North Carolina for the last time. I had been walking its border with Tennessee for roughly 200 miles.


I hiked down to Mountain Habour Bed and Breakfast. I decided to stay because of the weather report and its reputation for being the best breakfast on the trail. Plus, Mooch, Ahab and Wolfpack were all there and its fun to hang out with friends. After good pizza in town we watched Jurassic Park from their VHS collection at the hostel. It’s still a good movie.

Daily mileage: 8.7, AT mile: 391.8

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