Wednesday–May 5, 2021
Location–Devils Fork Gap, AT Mile 311.1
Barry hurried me off the mountain and into Days Inn in Greeneville last evening, where I promptly filled the bath tub with steaming hot water–and jumped in, to finally get my old bones warmed up!
Five-thirty this morning we’re up and gone. A stop at Waffle House in Greeneville, then no time is wasted in getting me back to Jones Meadow. I’m out and hiking (in the steady rain) by eight.
The trail starts out gentle enough, but no time comes my morning initiation. Up boulders, down boulders. Sheer treachery, the relentless rain making the boulders incredibly slick. It takes me two hours to go two miles.
The “fair weather trail” along the narrow, boulder-strewn ridge line I’ve chosen to hike this morning, the building of it–nothing short of amazing. Take a moment and read Howard’s story. The great ongoing work, the countless hours that the legions of dedicated volunteers put in to making this trail what it is for our enjoyment. Thanks each and every one of you, thank you all!
The rain has turned the hiking experience today to mud boggin. Slow going up here in the clouds. I must hasten best I can to get the miles in. I do pause for a shot–one of the many survey markers, the line between North Carolina and Tennessee (left foot in Tennessee, right foot in North Carolina). Late afternoon I finally take a break at Flint Mountain Shelter. I’ve hiked some with Mike today and we have lunch together. Barry soon comes to greet me, and to hike back out with me.
A tough, long-mile day. My strength has returned. May not be 100% yet, but close. That is a blessing…
The hills are smothered in a fog,
The sky is somber-grey,
The rain is coming in a mist,
A cheerless rainy day.
(James W. While)