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The Flyingfishman

Carver's Gap, TN to Damascus, VA 05-29-10 to 06-04-10

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ERIC CLAPTON - WALKIN' BLUES

Appalachian Trail table of contents- click here

Click here for slideshow of this section hike

Saturday, May 29th, 2010...Todays AT mileage 14.4    

I’m back on the trail for my next section hiking odyssey. Today I am starting where I last left off heading Northbound from Carver’s Gap, TN. I plan to get to Damascus, VA in the next 7 or so days. I park my car in Damascus at Mt. Rogers Outfitters and a nice fellow named Chip will be driving me to Carver’s Gap but not before dropping off 2 other section hikers from Louisiana (Pilot & Doc) at US19E. I am excited because the skies are clear and I will be hiking over a section of balds today. The first up is Round Bald followed by the clear summit of Jane Bald. The views are some of the best on the AT so far. While hiking up these two balds I meet 3 ladies from Atlanta, GA with two of their boys who plan to stay at the famous Overmountain Shelter. We all stop at Stan Murray Shelter. I got on the trail at about 11:00 am so this seems like an ideal place for a lunch. Onward to Overmountain Shelter. When I arrive there a youth group has set up in the shelter. This place is going to be full tonight. Overmountain is historically significant for its American Revolution connection. Patriot Militia used that route to surprise and defeat British loyalist in a much needed win at the Battle of Kings Mountain. I stop and talk to the youth director for a while and promise to wave at them once I get up the next hill. Next up for me are Little Hump and Hump Mountain. As I climb these beauties it seems as if each of these balds is trying to outdo the others when it comes to spectacular views. Once I reach the summit of Hump after a long and arduous climb, it is downhill for the rest of today’s hike. My destination today is the Mountain Harbour B & B hiker hostel on US19E. It has been drizzling the past hour until I reach Apple House Shelter which is just .5 mi. from US19E. The skies open up but not before I can duck into the shelter. Inside the shelter 3 non hikers are there and their “empties” litter the ground. They are smoking inside the shelter so I stand in the doorway holding my breath to get my raingear on. These shelters were made for hikers but in every instance where they are too close to the road you always have some A-holes who think they are their personal party palace. That is why I never stay in one this close to a road crossing. After a short .2 mi. walk down the highway I arrive at mountain Harbour B & B/ Hiker Hostel. This is a wonderful oasis. The “bunkhouse” is above the barn and I am joined there this evening with 4 thru hikers Pale Blue Dot , Wizard, Cricket and Skink. I have been following Skink’s thru hike on trailjournals.com. He is a tall friendly guy from NC by way of Belgium. I scarf down some frozen pizza and 4 Mountain Dews. I don’t normally drink those but …hey I’m “roughing it”.  Some late night conversation and delight that I have no blisters and I’m ready to nod off to sleep.

Sunday, May 30th, 2010...Todays AT mileage 12.6    

Last evening as I arrived at Mountain Harbour B &B/Hostel I signed up for the breakfast. This was the best move I could have possibly made. At breakfast the next morning were the aforementioned thru-hikers from last night as well as a young hiker named Mountain Goat and a couple who have both thru-hiked before Dream Catcher and Kadiddle. The breakfast spread was unreal and 3rds and 4ths were encouraged. Dream Catcher and Kadiddle were putting together a project where they hike and bike 10,000 miles and collect 10,000 dreams. You can visit their site at http://journeyofdreams.com/ If I recall correctly I was # 113. They have a long way to go on their project. As we left the Hostel I tried to keep up with the thru-hikers. They were planning a much longer day than my modest 12.6 miles. I fooled myself for a while and struggled to keep pace. After they led us off the trail and we had to double back to cover the wrong turn, I decided to fall back and hike my own hike. I figured it would be the last I saw of them. The visual highlight of the day was Jones Falls. It was a very tall cascading waterfall with a great volume of water going over it. I ran into a thru-Hiker from Maryland named Duffy there. He was stopping for lunch and I a snack. My destination tonight is Abby’s Place a rustic Hiker Hostel about .5 mi off the trail. Before I reached my getting off point I passed a utility easement where a park