Saturday, May 7 - Day 44 - Mile 429.9 - Spring/Campsite
Was able to call Jane tonight and learned that our Uncle Bill (94) died yesterday. I understand my cousin Alice, who has taken care of him since the fall, asked if he'd like ice cream with his dinner and he said "No, I'll be having it in heaven". I fully expect to see him on the trail since everyone out here says the thoughts of ice cream on the trail is like heaven.
Had a wonderful time at Bob Peoples Hostel last evening. One of the highlights of the trip so far. Definitely a must stop for anyone hiking north or south.
Quite a few hikers, young and old, are hiking hurt. Sprained ankles, shin splints, pulled tendons, knee problems, serious bug bites, etc. It's amazing the courage some of these folks have. For most, leaving the trail is just not an option. There are even several hiking using crutches. One fellow was thrown by a horse two weeks before starting his hike and broke his leg...that didn't stop him!
Started out early this morning and hiked past Laurel Fork Falls. A beautiful spot. Much of the mornings hike was along water.
At about lunch time we came out on Watauga Lake just in time to benefit from trail magic. A family who had a Daughter that hiked the AT two years ago has set up to provide grilled chicken, cheese potatoes, baked beans, cookies, beer & water, etc. Vegemite was already there when Buffalo Bobby & I showed up. We had a lot of wonderful conversation with the family and left with renewed energy to finish our days hike. Couldn't have been better. Thanks to all who go out of their way to help and surprise thru hikers! It's hard to imagine how good real food tastes after eating trail food for a few days. Top that off with people happy to provide it and our day is made.
The rest of the hike today was pretty strenuous (as usual). At about 5:30 we just pitched our tents beside the trail, had dinner and crawled into our sleeping bags. Hope we don't get rain tonight as predicted.
We should be in Virginia early in the week. We'll likely take some time in Damascus and then hike beyond before Friday afternoon to avoid some of the crowds leaving Sunday from Damascus. Unless we do that, we understand shelters and camp sites will be very crowded.
North Carolina / Tennessee through all they could at us an we survived! Very pleased with everything so far. Quite an adventure for a guy from New York City.
at laurel falls
crossing watauga dam
watauga dam overflow