Thursday–May 13, 2021
Location–US-19E, then to Mountain Harbour B&B (& Hostel), Mary Hill, Owner, David Hill, General Mgr., Shannon Travis, Mgr., AT Mile 395.3
My last night lounging and resting in this luxurious VRBO–and now this morning, a final delicious breakfast prepared for me by Maggie Ladyhawk Johnson, and Janice Sipsy Gypsy Barrett. For Heaven’s sakes folks, there’s just no way this old intrepid could become any more coddled or spoilt?
Maggie has me back up to Carver’s Gap in good order. She and Janice want to hike a short distance this morning, the balds, as they are, being one of the most spectacular sections of the entire AT. They climb Round Bald with me. And what a once-in-a-lifetime view, tuft-clouded sky, a unbelievable cloud (inversion) ocean, undulating the valleys and sharptops below. We gaze in complete awestruck bewilderment.
But then, that unavoidably sad (say forlorn) time comes–a final hug, some tears (a lot, actually), they turn and go. So long dear friends, what a wonderful time; thank you for your generosity and kindness–for your friendship!
This day turns butt-kickin’ tough, with ascents and descents in excess of 7,000 vertical feet. Ah, yet though difficult now for this old intrepid, the memories, the renewed experiences–Round Bald, Jane Bald, Little Hump and Hump, the Stanley Murray Memorial, just a magic time. And the day has turned blue-perfect; thank you merciful Lord!
The trail no longer passes the old barn, the Overmountain Shelter. It’s been moved away, requiring an out and back hike. It seems to me the long-distance thru-hiker is being intentionally denied many wonderful experiences–without additional effort. I don’t understand this mentality, I just don’t understand.
Four, I’ve completed the final down-the-mountain mile to arrive US-19E. A short roadwalk and I’m in at Mountain Harbour B&B. So glad to be here. A very long, difficult day…
Stanley A. Murray, along with Benton McKaye and Myron Avery,
was one of the most important individuals in the early history of the Appalachian Trail.
(Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy)