“Camping: nature’s way of promoting the motel industry.” — Dave Barry
Miles high today 9.2. Total miles 106.5.
I woke up and left camp before everyone else in order to hike high enough to get signal to post my blog. As I sat there uploading a blog I got to watch the sun rise higher in the sky – it was a beautiful morning. I tend to hike out first most mornings. I like to hike alone in the morning.
And the hills were no joke! At the top of this mountain there was a viewing tower. I held my camera perfectly straight so you could see the uphill that we were climbing at this point. Soon after the shot we put the poles away and had to grab ahold of boulders to get up.
I was never so glad to get to the top of a point in my life. I think it was the hardest climb I’ve done to date. Of course while we were climbing the weather came in, so there was absolutely zero view. The two gentlemen by the sign are Toast and Rabbithole. The sign shows you what we should be seeing – instead it’s all white mist. Shortly after the tower we hit the hundred mile mark!
We were headed toward Wallace Gap to catch a shuttle to the town of Franklin, North Carolina. When we reached the gap we sat there waiting for our shuttle and a truck pulled up. Inside the truck was Happy Jack Junior! He rolled down his window and said “Are you thru hikers?” We replied, “yes sir.” He said, “Who wants a beer?” And started pulling beers out of a cooler. Now once before we have been offered beer and I have turned it down because I’m not a beer drinker. My compatriots told me to always take a beer, you can give it to us – so I said sure to Happy Jack Junior.
I think Happy Jack is a lonely man. He was so kind. He sat there and talked for 40 minutes telling us all about his life and what he was doing. He was a total hoot. A highlight of today. We heard about his knee surgery, his helping shingle his neighbors’ trailer roof, and about his daughter marrying someone. He was not sure of her last name now. He had me in stitches-I just loved him. Here is happy Jack and Juergen picture together.
Our shuttle finally arrived. And let me tell you they cram people in. I was actually sitting backwards with my legs down next to the back doors. Linda was on Mark’s lap. There’s two girls on the floor that you cannot see, one in a chair and Juergen behind the chair, I’m behind Juergen. Backpacks are all around me.
The funny part of through hiking is you stay in places that you would never even dream of staying in real life and think nothing of it. Paint peeling, exposed plumbing, dirt. None of it matters as long is there’s a roof when it’s raining and a hot shower. No matter how bad the shower is.
All of the young men in the picture from yesterday at the shelter are taking a zero day tomorrow here in Franklin. Us old folks are hiking out in the morning. I ran into two young ladies doing laundry this afternoon here at the budget hotel. I asked when they started and they said March 17. They asked me and I said March 22. They said wow you guys are hiking fast. Old folks rule!
Below shows you the weather expected tonight. Feeling pretty good about my decision to get a hotel.