Day 42 -April 18 2017-14.6 miles – Low Gap to No Business Shelter
It had rained overnight and in the morning it was still drizzling. We ate breakfast and hit the trail. We were agoing to climb Big Bald and were hoping for some views.
During the climb up Big Bald the we could see the bad weather coming in.
Soon we were in the clouds and visibility was reduced to a hundred feet.
The wind had picked up and whatever precipitation was falling was moving more horizontal than vertical. We had our rain gear on so it wasn’t too bad. The only surprising thing was how loud a raindrop was when it smacked sideways into my hood.
Soon we reached the top of Big Bald
While the views were nonexistent the overall experience was pretty cool. It felt like we were in Scotland or some such place. The wind, rain, and fog created a very otherworldly feeling.
After Big Bald the rest of the day was mainly downhill. We stopped in at Bald Mountain Shelter for a snack. Biquick was there already and Wolfie and Brooklyn made an appearance not long after we got there. We would hike together sporadically for the rest of the day.
The weather started to clear up, giving us an idea of what we went over earlier in the day.
5.5 miles later we got to the Rt 19 road crossing. There was a red pickup truck there with a bunch of hikers gathered around. Trail Magic! The owner of the truck was giving out soda and Little Debbie snacks. He went by the name Woodbury. He was hiking the trail but had taken a few days off due to injury. He figured if he couldn’t hike, he could at least do some trail magic. While we were talking to him I realized that we had met him before at the hostel in Franklin N.C.. He was named after the town of Woodbury in the show The Walking Dead. He had played one of the main bad guys henchman in season three. I had never seen the show but other hikers had and they peppered him with questions. I was interesting to hear some of the behind the scenes stories. I was only half listening though. The food had my main attention.
At the trail magic spot the German girl from Hot Springs showed up. We found out her that name was Flashfire and that she had been hiking with Zeus and a guy named Terry. Zeus was still a little behind at that point and Woodbury was closing up shop. Flashfire grabbed the last coke “for the road” and we headed out.
With the sudden influx of sugar in our systems the last five miles flew by.
At the shelter there were a lot of hikers. With only around 6 miles between the shelter and the town of Erwin, it was a good spot to stop to allow for a nero into town the next day.
A little while after we got to the shelter Zeus showed up. He was a little ticked that he missed the trail magic and wasn’t having a very good day. Flashfire gave him the extra coke that she got at the trail magic. His entire face lit up. He said that its the best coke he has ever had.
There were some new faces at the shelter as well. Terry, Clouds, and Left-Eye.
Terry was in his 60’s and had hiked the AT once before in the 1990’s. Since his retirement he had gotten into fitness big time. He worked part time at a bike shop and full time as an amateur bicycle racer. He had a very light backpack and was already doing 20 miles a day. Flashfire had teamed up with him and that seemed to be going well.
I don’t know too much about Clouds other than her life had been pretty rough. She was out on the AT to get away for a while.
Left-Eye was an interesting guy. He had been in a high speed longboarding crash that could have killed him. After recovering from the worst of his injuries he still had a vision problem. One of his eyes moved somewhat independent of the other. I have no idea how he was able to hike the difficult terrain of the AT but it sure was inspiring.
Also there was a girl named Bambi who we hadn’t seen since the fourth day on the trail. It was always interesting to see how all the hikers schedules intertwined with each others.
A little while later Godzilla and Turkey walked by. They stopped to chat for a few minutes and then hiked on. They wanted to find a spot a little closer to Erwin to camp.
Around the same time Drop Top and Bear Bait stopped in as well. They were doing a 27 mile day to meet up with Bear Baits friends. Drop Top was not enthused.