Day 28 – Saturday, April 12
Today marks the end of our fourth week on the AT! Today is also when we crossed the 300 mile mark!
We woke at 7:00 in the Spring Mountain shelter this morning. Due to being low on fuel, we had a cold breakfast, in my case, cereal with powdered milk and a banana. The four Soggy Bottom Boys headed out first, after taking a few hits. One of them forgot his Nalgene, so I put it in my pack. After getting water, we headed out for what was mostly four miles downhill to the crossing of NC 208 / TN 70.
When we got there, we found that someone had opened a place called “Mom’s”, in what looked like an old gas station. She had some snacks, cold drinks, ice cream, and frozen goods for microwaving on order. We met Dad and Sweet Meat there. They had camped by the building. We bought a couple of sodas and returned to the trail.
We decided to skip restocking snacks at the hostel nearby. We saw Miss Janet, who was shuttling hikers — and dogs for those who were still in the Smokies. We saw Ballou, the dog, which means that the German hiker Confused is still back in the Smokies. We petted the dogs and moved on.
We reached the Little Laurel shelter at 12:20 in time for lunch. Virgil, 19, and his friend were just finishing their lunch. We ate, and Tandem took a 15 minute nap in the sun. We left at 13:15, with 6.8 miles to go to the Jerry Cabin shelter. We enjoyed the view from the Whiterock Cliff and were doing well until we reached Bearwallow Gap and started following the NC/TN state line.
Then the terrain became very rocky and strenuous for the next 1.5 miles. It took us more than an hour to complete that rocky scramble. Then it was up and down to the Jerry Cabin shelter, which we reached by 16:30. We decided to tent/hammock there. We found a flat spot past the shelter down the hill and Tandem found two good trees for her hammock, not using the tarp for the first time.
For dinner we ate the other Mountain House, pasta primavera. It was full of veggies and was great. We discussed the plan for the next four days approaching Erwin, TN. Rains are coming Monday. We will hit a shelter tomorrow night, which should be Hogback Ridge shelter at 14.7 miles, or 315 total.
Though there are five others in the campsite, we turned in early at 18:15 due to having risen early and the tough hike terrain today.