Sunday–May 9, 2021
Location–Indian Grave Gap, then to Uncle Johnny’s Nolichucky Hostel, Erwin, Tennessee, Charlotte Shores, proprietor, AT Mile 352.6
I’m wanting to spend a bit of time with Charlotte this morning, and Dee Birdee Landau will be here shortly to hike with me up to Indian Grave Gap today. Also, Matthew Odie Norman is here. Odie Is the author of the very popular The Hiker Yearbook.
I’d like to spend some time with Odie too, so I linger.
It’s a beautiful morning. At nine, Birdee and I, we’re out to enjoy it together. It’s a joy to see this longtime friend again. We spent time together years ago celebrating New Years Eve in the old shelter atop Springer Mountain.
We’ve a near-2,000 foot climb today, up to the ridge, then a gentle down to Indian Grave Gap. The mountain laurel is nearing full bloom here and we must pause to delight in the array of their pure whiteness. Lots more side slabbing through the green tunnel as the morning turns afternoon. The rocks and roots haven’t backed off. Constant, step after step concentration of foot placement, avoidance of a single wrong step is virtually impossible–and I hang my toe on a nondescript rock and down I go. Birdie hears the racket from my hiking sticks (and me) hitting the ground, and she turns with the most anxious look. “I’m okay, Birdie.” I tell her as I do damage assessment. I’m soon back on my feet and we continue our struggle through the relentless rocks and roots.
It’s not only Sunday, it’s a special Sunday. This is Mother’s Day, yet Charlotte is right here at the gap, waiting to take us down off the mountain and back once again to Uncle Johnny’s. Thank you, Charlotte, thank you so much!
In the evening, Janet Miss Janet Hensley, a friend to hikers for decades, and my dear friend for those many years, comes by for Birdee and me, then drives us the 45 minutes up the interstate to Johnson City, to my favorite eatery place of all, Texas Roadhouse. We all order the sirloin. Perfect! What a grand time.
Back again in Erwin, and before dropping us off at Uncle Johnny’s, Miss Janet takes us by her home to meet her children and grandchildren.
By the time she has us back to the hostel, rain has set in hard and steady. It’s so good to be in and out of it once more here at Uncle Johnny’s.
Erwin is a long-time very friendly town to the AT community, offering up genuine, kind hospitality. Let the magic continue…
There’s trail magic,
but it’s the magic of the trail.