Random Stealth Spot to Cherry Gap Shelter
Miles Hiked: 15.2
AT Milage: 361.3
This morning we started getting ready at 7:30 am. I didn’t sleep well at all last night so I wasn’t motivated to get on the trail. I really didn’t want to say goodbye to Jeff either. He left at 8am to hike back to his car and Emma and I got on the trail at 8:15.
About two hours into our hike we ran into “Brother Tom” who was doing a formal trail magic set up at Indian Grave Gap. He had camping chairs set up for us to sit in and served us sweet tea and banana bread. We sat and chatted with him for a half an hour before we continued on to our lunch spot at “beauty spot”. Beauty spot was a large bald with views of the surrounding mountains and Erwin TN. The wild flowers on the hike up were the best I’ve seen on the trail so far. The rhododendron bushes were blooming with pink flowers. I saw some Daisy’s and other flowers but I’m not sure what ones the were. If you can identify any of the plants, leave a comment below!
On top of beauty spot we ate lunch with Locks, Storm Chaser, and Breezy. It was fun hanging out with them all. I was surprised to see Locks again but he ended up taking four zeros in Erwin because he got super bad shin splints. He is hiking slower now to help his legs heal. I hope he gets better!
After beauty spot we had a climb of Unaka Mountain. There were no views at the top but the forrest was beautiful. It reminded me a tiny bit of the smoky mountains. There were lots of old pine trees with moss which I loved. Near the top of the mountain we ran into a tree decorated with ornaments. It was in memory of a 22 year old biker who had committed suicide two years ago today. It was sad. There was a log book at the tree that many people who had similar stories had signed.
After Unaka mountain we had 4 more miles almost all downhill to Cherry Gap Shelter. My ankles and knees hurt super bad today and I was getting really hungry and grumpy by the time we were two miles away. Emma let me try wearing her new trail running shoes to see how I liked them. I thought they were okay but would not buy them myself. When we were exactly two miles away from camp Emma pointed out a bear on the hillside beside us. I wouldn’t have seen or heard it if she didn’t point it out. It was a very small bear but we couldn’t tell if it was a cub or not. We did not see a mama bear.
Once we got to the shelter we ate dinner and got ready for bed. We figured out that we were 67 miles from Boots Off Hostel and wanted to be there in 4 days. Tomorrow we have a long hard day with a big climb so we are waking up really early so get a head start. Before bed, I enjoyed a freeze dried ice cream sandwich that my aunt sent me in the mail. It tasted just like ice cream minus the cold and wet part with a bit of crunch. Thanks aunt Missy!