Thursday–May 6, 2021
Location–Sam’s Gap, Then to Nature’s Inn Hostel & Cabins, Flag Pond, Tennessee, AT Mile 319.7
I failed to include our stay location in the header data for yesterday. From Devil’s Fork Gap it’s a short drive to Nature’s Inn & Cabins operated by Amy Riffe and her brother, Taft Ring. It’s a fine facility with hostel bunk-house, full bath house, four creekside cabins and more! We’ll be right back at Nature’s Inn again tonight, for our second night’s stay.
Five-thirty this morning, Barry sets up cooking in the bunk-house, hot coffee right away, then his trademark, fried egg and cheese sandwiches. More coffee and I’m stoked for this day.
A short drive back to Devil’s Fork and Barry has me back on trail at 7:30. From the trail, the gap is always down, the climb out–up! Look for the highest point you can see to the north; that’s where you’re headed. And no difference this morning, a hard, steady, up climb to Divide Mountain. From Divide Mountain the trail pretty much tracks the North Carolina and Tennessee state line, crossing it countless times. This crisscrossing from North Carolina to Tennessee will finally end, and I’ll leave North Carolina behind for good when I hit Elk River, a short distance past AT Mile 400.
Some fascinating old places along today. One, an old family graveyard. Here, the wired together headstone marking Dorothy Hensley’s grave – Born May 2nd 1865, Died April 30th 1965. Dorothy lived to be two days shy of her 100th birthday. And another spot (by observing closely) the remnants of a once fine orchard, remain now only a few knarly, aged sour apple or pear trees. The trail along the state divide follows an old wagon road in many places. Folks lived up here, scratched out an existence a century or more ago up here on this high, remote ridge.
Early afternoon, Barry has hiked in to once again greet me–then hike back down as I end this glorious sunshiny day at Sam’s Gap.
I started the first cabin as a place to stay while
I cleared the property when I bought it in 1991.
As I gained ground on the place,
I used it as a gathering spot for friends and family.
Slowly, my dream has come true!