Sunday, September 18, 2016


Yesterday's post about my travels was 700 ft of elevation to cross Cove Mountain, of course. The horizontal distance, a biit longer ... but I was heading downslope by 10 a.m., just ahead of the bright sun heating the ground. Water reserves are low after spending the night at shelter with no water supply.

Views are changing as the Trail dives into the moutain ranges sitting astride the junction between  Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Peaks of Otter

Morning fog in the valleys
I heard a pickup truck and some hunting dogs barking below as I worked my way down the switchbacks ... hmm, should have packed the hunter orange vest after all?

At the bottom, a stream not  listed in AWOL's Guide, possibly with good reason as it looks more like a swamp. I stopped to check water reserves -- not good, going to have to stop and try to filter something out of this muck. Pack half emptied to get the Platypus® rig -- and a pickup truck pulls up with a cage of baying hounds in the back. Great.

So I move my stuff well off the trail, put on my plastic smile and call out a hello. A lean fellow with a close beard and a baseball cap called back "hey there!" and offered me two bottles of cold water taken from his well. 

Trail angels rock. They must get express check-in at the Pearly Gates.

On to the Blue Ridge Parkway, with some cloud cover from the approaching storm! Here's a photo of two of the three mountains called the "Peaks of  Otter", seen on my way to the next shelter.

Stop tonight is Bobblets Gap, another one usually bypassed by the onrushing tide of SOBOs ("South Bound" AT thru hikers on their way to Georgia). The shelter is a poor water source, the Guide says, and it is. I used a trick learned from Pinterest, curling and placing a leaf on a stone ledge to form an arc of water for a cup.

Chatting with one SOBO who stopped by to eat lunch and try to  replenish her water supply, I learned that she planned to reach Troutville tonight. I plan to be there in two days ... however, I'm planning to visit the Flying Mouse Brewery, while she and her friends plan to meet up at Wendy's before they move on. They have a "fast food fixation", she says.

We joked about the season's acorn barrage at this shelter, heavier than any of other places either of us had visited. The EMT's SOAP report would read as less than heroic -- patient experienced concussion by acorn, AO1, dehydrated and showing signs of mental confusion. Evacuated from the Appalachian Trail for rehabilitation.
We're all partly nuts already, not surprising.

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