Cherry Gap Shelter to Carver’s Gap
Mike’s Hiked: 19.1
AT Milage: 380.4
This morning Emma and I woke up at 5:30AM and were hiking at 6:05. We did our first 7 miles super fast. My feet were feeling great. I was really frustrated and scared when I rolled my ankle badly going downhill. I always try to be so careful when walking downhill but regardless, I fail to not roll my ankles in a painful way. It makes me very angry. Going uphill is a lot more enjoyable for me despite it being more difficult. After 7 miles we took an hour long break to rest our feet and eat and drink.
After that we hiked 3 more miles to a view and took a short 15 minute break. 3 more miles later we took another really long break to fill up water and rest. We only had 5 more miles left to go but they were all straight up hill. Even though my feet were very feeling great and we took the perfect amount of breaks, I was dead tired hiking up the last mountain. It was a 2,500 foot climb over 5 miles. I think I was so tired due to a poor night of sleep last night and not eating enough food during the day, specifically high sugar foods. I ate a lot of nuts today that don’t have many carbs in them and I could feel the difference. I think almonds (not almond butter) are food my body has a hard time digesting as I hike. Today was a difficult day with over 5,000 feet of ascending.
At the top of the mountain we were supposed to camp on, were the ruins of an old 1800s resort/hotel called “Cloudland”. The whole building was torn down but there were some bricks left behind. The evacuated meadow was beautiful and it was hard to imagine what the place looked like over 10 years ago or what lead to the destruction of the establishment. The shelter called Roan High Knob is the highest shelter on the Appalachian Trail at 6,270 feet. It is unique because it is completely enclosed with a door. The forrest around it reminded me of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park except not as old. I wondered if it had something to do with the higher elevation of the forrest compared to it surroundings. The Smokies had a similar elevation often above 6,000 feet.
The area around the shelter was insanely buggy. The amount of gnats in the air looked like a blizzard. I looked down at my arms and they were covered in tiny black specks. When I wiped them away the tiny bugs got squished and looked liked they were bleeding on me. I was so tired I didn’t care about the bugs but they were annoying Emma a lot.
Today we barely saw any other hikers at all. A total of two who were together! There have been significantly less people on the trail ever since we got back on the trail in Erwin. I just think about how lonely I would be without Emma here right now.
After we ate dinner at the shelter, Emma got so annoyed with the bugs she made us hike 1.5 more miles to Carver’s Gap. I was really frustrated because I was so tired. We ended up camping at a stealth spot she found via the comments on the mapping app we use. Today turned into more than 12 hours of hiking because of this.