Ryan and I spent the night with our long-time friends who live in Unicoi, Tennessee. After I picked up Ryan with his car, we made our way there. We spent the evening and next day catching up, relaxing, and enjoying our best “hostel” stay ever 🙂
Ryan headed home the next day and I spent another night as well. Cathy drove me the 15 miles back to the trail near Boots Off Hostel. Although it was about 80 miles by trail to the next town, Erwin, Cathy reminded me that Erwin was even closer to their house…and that I could stay with them again when I reached Erwin in a few days. I said I would love to stay again and would try to update them on my progress as I went.
The day was clear and perfect temperature from beginning to end. Right off I started with a fairly long climb followed by an immediate downhill of the same size, then another tall climb. It would be a total of 11,000 feet elevation change, mostly elevation gain, over the whole day—in more than 20 miles. So I expected, and got, a good workout of my “climbing legs” today.
I also passed numerous streams as well as several cascades and falls. The streams made some of the trail muddy but they kept things interesting and the sound of water was a nice accompaniment to the day’s hike.
I was originally going to stop near Mountaineer Shelter but still had some daylight and a little energy left when I reached there. So I went on a couple miles further downhill to a nice little tent site near, yes, another stream.
And here are a few other interesting things I noticed on my way today.