Journal 51-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Sunday–April 11, 2021
Trail Day–051
Trail Mile–9.5/522.7
Location–Winding Stair Gap, AT Mile 109.4, then to Windham Microtel, Franklin, North Carolina

Its an hours drive back up Albert Mountain, so at five-thirty we’re up; Stanley has coffee going–eggs frying, toast toasting. Not a long-mile day, but I would like to finish early and get on in to Franklin. Rick has reserved a room for us there–we both need a shower and clean clothes.

An up and around climb, then up and around some more on the old fire tower road to Albert. Slow going, but Stanley manages to get me back on trail at eight. Photo time first thing–the 100-mile stick sign.

The storms of yesterday are gone, the wet rocks, now mostly dry, the vistas, postcard beautiful. So, the hike today is pleasant, along the narrow, mostly level ridge running from Albert Mountain. A little climbing late morning, some rocks and roots, and I’m down to Rock Gap. Stanley is here and has prepared lunch. While relaxing in the warm sun (been a cold morning), a young fellow comes up to me, introduces himself, asks for an interview–“My name is Ryan. I do a podcast called Mighty Blue on the Appalachian Trail. Mind if I ask you a few questions about your hikes?” A fun time; thanks, Ryan. Hey, check out his blog at <www.hikingradionetwork.com>.

Afternoon, a narrow, straight off the mountain sideslab around to Wallace Gap, followed by a long, steep climb up to and around Rocky Cove Knob–before the final descent for the day to Winding Stair Gap.

Afternoon, Stanley drives me to Franklin where we check into the motel–thanks Rick! Then a stop by Outdoor 76 downtown. By their register I sign the Class of 2021 banner. In the evening, it’s supper with Cory and Rob, owners of Outdoor 76, their employees and friends. I get to meet Chica & Sunsets, local (Franklin) hostel owners–and I’m invited to spend the night with them tomorrow.

One more interview today, with Lilly Knoepp, Reporter, Blue Ridge Public Radio, Asheville.
What an action-packed day! Living the dream…

Never underestimate
the power of dreams
and the influence

of the human spirit.
(Wilma Rudolph)

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