Journal 90-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Thursday–May 20, 2021
Trail Day–090
Trail Mile–11.4/854.1
Location–Cross Mountain/TN-91, then to Switchback Creek Campground, Shady Valley, Tennessee, Windy Eads, Proprietor, AT Mile 449.1

Vandeventer Shelter is located on the edge of a bluff above Watauga Lake. The cold wind was blowing straight across all night. But the rear of the shelter faces the bluff, so I remained snug and warm back in the corner away from the wind.

My hike today will follow the ridge on Iron Mountain above Lake Watauga, dropping down only ocasionally to pass a reliable water source. It’s a slow go, plenty of rocks and boulders.

Early afternoon, a not so happy time, as the trail passes the grave of Uncle Nick Grindstaff . I first learned about Uncle Nick years ago from his nephew who served as postmaster in Damascus, Virginia. Nick was a hermit. The short inscription on his headstone pretty much sums up his life: LIVED ALONE – SUFFERED ALONE – DIED ALONE.

Toward the end of the hike today, much excited, I look to the trail ahead, as I’m expecting my dear old friend, Stanley Batchelor to come around the next bend to greet me. Sure enough, soon comes Stanley toward me, broad beaming smile. He’s come to support me for a few days, get some good food in me, get my strength built back up so I can continue this difficult journey.

Stanley has found a nice little private campground nearby and we’re soon there. Hot shower, clean clothes, a nourishing meal.

It’s such a blessing to have your support again, Stanley–thank you, dear friend!


Tears come from the heart
and not from the brain.
(Leonardo da Vinci)

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