Yesterday we pulled 20 miles to get into Temple Hill Gap so we could do 4 miles into Erwin this morning. We woke at 6:30 and rolled into Uncle Johnny’s hostel at almost 9am. Ahhh, we relaxed for a few hours, showering and doing laundry and then caught the lunch shuttle into Erwin. The trail doesn’t go through Erwin, it’s a few miles off and Erwin is also spread out, but we ate at a pizza joint on the outside of town and then walked through town, quaint cute houses that I imagined myself living in, and then into the old-tyme downtown and other areas. We had some Sonic for drinks and Mexican for dinner.
Since leaving Hot Springs we have been doing bigger miles and longer days. We’re pretty much getting up between 7 and 7:30 in order to get more miles in before lunch and to avoid some of the heat. It isn’t too bad on the days when there is a nice breeze, but often it can be pretty hot in the open areas (which is a lot since not a lot of leafing out yet) between 1 and 3 or so.
Some of the cooler places we’ve been too were Blackstack Cliffs and there is a knob/ledge about a mile past that which is really cool, but kinda a pain after awhile because it involves lots of climbing over rocks and up and down rocks for quite awhile.
We climbed up Big Bald yesterday and also Big Butt the day before…and we kept joking that Big Butt was Baloo and then there was a smaller bald that we called Little Butt after Leo.
Big Bald offered a 360* view of the surrounding area, very cool!
We are slowly being able to pull longer miles, you just hike all day. Which isn’t bad, I like feeling like I’ve accomplished something big. We have some big climbs coming up in the next few days, Unaka Mtn tomorrow and then Roan Mtn probably the day after. I’ve heard Roan Mtn is pretty difficult, a very hands on climb apparently. We had Albert Mtn back in southern NC and it was short, steep and very hands on. Also, Roan Mtn is the last time we’ll go over 6K feet until we get into the Whites in New England. I’m very much looking forward to a more flattened state of Virginia. I want to put in several 20 mile days in a row, some breaks between them to ease the back, but I really want to start flying some while I am able.
I am also looking forward to my dad coming to visit and hike a 5 day section with us after Pearisburg. I am hoping he will be a small cure for my homesickness.
I told my friend Rosemarie that I was so emotional out here and she said that perhaps I am just more available to my emotions out here than in city life. Probably true since I am just in my head thinking all day. It’s amazing how fast I can go from one thought to another and what triggers it. There were geese over the river this morning and at first I was thinking they were seagulls and then next moment I was back in Galveston and at the beach. And songs…wow, songs I haven’t heard in ages or days or months and they just pop into my head. Rilo Kiley pops up a lot and “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, and “I like Big Butts” after we went to Big Butt.
We have another 4.5 day stretch and then probably 2-3 days and then we’re in Virginia! We’ll have over 500 miles to go there and then probably hit Harpers Ferry sometime at the end of May, maybe mid-May? So, plan on that Christine!
Anyway, we have more photos up on Flickr if you want to check it out. I am going to try journaling better on paper in order to sort out all of my thoughts…I have so many ideas for life after the Trail. I wish it didn’t involve an 8-5 job, but you know, I gotta make money somehow…but maybe at least getting photography off the ground a lot.