My favorite part of the trail so far is in Tennessee. Because…
Rhododendrons are blooming.
You get to walk through hemlock forests.
Sunlight streams through the green , green, green woods.
Not sure what these beauties are.
Lots of cool, old trees on the AT.
You meet such nice people all along the trail. This family gave us Gatorade, Little Debbies, trash bags, and lots of encouragement at the Roan Mountain parking area.
An old chimney. I wonder what was here before. A home?
Did I mention how much I love Bluets? They make me smile whenever I see them. I think they may be the happiest flowers on the planet.
I think you need another look. See, don’t they make you happy just looking at them.
I love the balds. Sorry I can’t remember the name of them and I threw away the pages in my guidebook to save on weight so I can’t look them up to tell you.
Love the balds…
…and the bluets…
“Look up at the mountain, that I have to climb, oh yeah, to reach there” . A little Cat Stevens for you.
It’s just so pretty. And soul soothing.
And the trees are so inviting.
Sometimes I take a little time to do a little watercolor painting using my Dollar Store paints. This is a view from Overmountain Shelter, a converted barn.
There’s the barn!
The weather on the bald (a different one and I still don’t remember which…Big Hump?) and the bald reminds me of being on the Yorkshire Moors.
Where we’ve been…
Patches of sunlight interspersed with groans of thunder.
And we leave North Carolina for good. Until this point, we have been straddling the NC and TN line.
You can buy ramps at your local grocery store!
I love my Dirty Girls gaiters. Garnet Turtle loves hers too.
Garnet Turtle, Yogi Bear and I slack-packed from Mountain Harbour hostel/ B and B. They dropped us off 14 miles up the trail and we walked back to the hostel with very light packs. (Then the next day they dropped us off at the same place and we continued North with our regular packs).Yogi Bear very kindly took my pack so that I could do some trail running for the first 4 miles or so. AND we passed the 400 mile mark!
A lovely little waterfall in the woods.
You could say it’s a little humid here. Everything is constantly damp. BUT I haven’t used my lip balm ONCE.
Here is a nice black snake, hanging out on the wet trail.
Laurel Creek Falls.
Flame -red azalea.
And the orange sort. Saw some yellow azalea too, but I didn’t take a photo of it.
Lake Watagua, a TVA lake from a dam built in the 40s. We swam, got some trail magic from a family celebrating birthdays (hot dogs off the grill,mmmmmmmmmmmmmm), AND…
…To make a long story short, Birdy saw her bears !!!!!!! Ok, just envision the scene I am about to describe because, well, as you can see, this photo shows nothing. We’d hung our bags in the trees, and I used the PCT method, AND a mama bear comes ambling in and starts hauling on the line that hangs down with her paws and teeth, and her two cubs are hanging out nearby just lolling around and looking cute. Mama HISSES at us, she is busy, stay away, she has food to get down out of the tree, we let her do her thing as we hang out at our campfire enthralled at her incredible intelligence and quietness. I was thinking, well, if the worse came to worse and she got my food and dragged off my pot and stove (which I’d hung also, because they smell like food) I’d hitchhike into town and get some more food and buy a new stove in Damascus a few days later. It was so so SO wonderful to watch her and her cubs. I’d actually seen her and one cub earlier when I was out in the woods catching fireflies…well, that stump wasn’t there before was it? Shine my headlamp on the stump and the stump ran the other way… The next day I saw a male (I think–he was bigger) bear run off the trail and down the hill. I LOVE bears!!!! (Another hiker, Sandwich, came through, and she taught me to loop my dangling string and hang it high in a tree branch using a trekking pole. That way, the bear has at least another step before she can haul on the string!)
An early evening hike into camp nets us a sunset looking down a powerline cut.
Do you love toads or what? I played with a toad for a little while during a fierce rainstorm. Also, cleared out waterbars with my shoes so the river running down the trail could go off the side. It was fun.
How did they KNOW how much I love Little Debbie Swiss Rolls? Such a nice trail magic treat! Sodas, Little Debbies, First Aid, all in a metal, bear-proof box. They asked us to sign their register. Last year they had 45 different states and 11 countries represented!
We are in Virginia our 4th state! This is Gepetto, a section hiker who we’d been hiking with for a few days. He gave us some snacks so that we could make it the last 10 miles into Damascus. Note to self…pack WAY more snacks!!! 🙂
I’m so excited that I have to buy new socks! (I’d worn these every day for 468 miles!)