Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Started at Mountain Inn in Erwin
Ended at Deep Gap
12.1 miles in under 9 hours
Started the day with a hot breakfast at the Mountain Inn. Sausage, yogurt, cheese omelets, and I took wraps and ham for a great breakfast burrito. We would highly recommend it to hikers.
Uncle Johnnies gave us a shuttle for $10 to the trailhead. When we were getting ready to leave I found that Pete's water bottle was missing. Our driver Sarge said he had one at the hostel so we went to get it. Sarge also had some free hiking poles so we took off a lower section of a free pole and put it on Pete's bent pole. I quickly sent a text to Mary-j about the missing bottle and we started hiking up and out of Erwin. By the time we had cell service again she had a bottle on order (we use Amazon Prime for two day shipping and the free videos).
With a big breakfast and yesterday's rest we were very fast up the mountain. In two hours we had covered the four miles to Curley Maple Gap Shelter. The kids wrote in the journal and rested on the second floor sleeping platform. It was a very nice shelter and we regretted we could not stay.
As we hiked I heard a load noise from the hillside. Sarge had told us about a bear and her cubs near the top of the mountain. I saw a flash of movement heading towards the kids and my imagination went into overdrive. The kids responded exactly as we planned. They walked back to me while we all talked nice to the bear. The thing stopped, then moved again, then came out from behind a bush; it was a huge deer.
At Indian Grave Gap we had lunch at the road. It was sunny and we relaxed after eating our crackers with turkey and cheese. We met Foot Doctor who was pushing hard to cover miles because he only had a limited time on the trail before he heads north to help a friend on an organic farm. Organic farming is his passion and he wants to learn the business. He also avoids gluten after getting tested (by sending in his poop). The kids were amazed and grossed out.
The weather was getting cloudy and it seemed we would get afternoon showers so we picked up the pace and made it to Beauty Spot. At the top we ran into a couple on vacation from North Caroline who lived near the trail. They always carry extra food and water, and we were in need of water so they filled our bottles! They are known as Trail Angels, people who help out along the way to make your journey possible.
We heard thunder but still had at least 1.5 miles to a camp spot. The thunder kept us moving and we only felt a few drops. At camp things went really fast as we got the tent up, pumped water, and made dinner (spicy chorizo chicken soup with polenta). We had bars for dessert and chocolate Hammer Recoverite.
Perfect day of hiking, then Harvey peed on the toilet paper bag. I'm not sure what he was thinking but the boys are no longer going to go to the bathroom together.