First off – an apology. I forgot to update everyone on Proper. Bryan took amazing care of her in Decatur and as she was heading back to Davenport Gap her father urged her to come home and she flew back to The Netherlands the next day. She sent us a beautiful chocolate thank you treat and a sweet note. I am sad she had to leave and hope she can come back soon to finish her adventure. It felt great that we could help her and that her transition off the trail was pleasant.
The last two days have been perfect. The sun has been out and it is still cool for great hiking. We got an early start out of Erwin on Thursday morning and climbed out of the valley along a strong flowing creek. As we worked out way up to Beauty Spot we ran into a ton of day hikers and even had some trail magic. I spent a leisurely lunch on top of the Beauty Spot Bald and chatted with some really friendly hikers out for the day. They loaded me down with cookies, grapes and roasted nuts.
We camped near Cherry Log Shelter and it was such a beautiful warm night we decided to build a fire. It was so relaxing to sit next to the warm fire and doze off thinking about all the amazing spots I saw on the trail. We chatted mostly about food (and especially lasagna) and planned our day tomorrow up to Roan Mountain. About a half an hour after we went to bed a pack of coyotes came past our site yelping and howling. It sounded pretty close but they took off and we didn’t hear them for the rest of the night. I thought Jitter was going to jump out of her tent when she heard them but after they passed she was able to relax and get some sleep.
Today’s hike was up to Roan Mountain to the highest shelter on the AT. As we left camp a huge tree fell near the trail and it scared us half to death. We kept a close eye on the trees as they creaked in the wind. As we came across one of the first ridges we found a tree that we could walk into. No wonder these guys are falling down.
The climb up Roan was challenging but beautiful. It was about 5 miles and wound around about 100 switchbacks with amazing views. We got to the shelter area around 5 and it is a quite impressive two story structure with 4 walls. The Taj of the trail for sure.
Things felt normal, happy and light over the past few days and I soaked it in. The last few weeks have been pretty tough while everyone was leaving but it feels like the hikers that are here are going to try to stay on trail. Everyone has a different set of circumstances and reasons for leaving and I don’t want to take away from that at all. It just breaks my heart to see their dreams on hold. The trail is still providing for me so I think it’s right for me to stay on. Hoping to be in Virginia by the end of the week!