Day 24, 4/29: M-399.5, Elk River (23mi)

Woke up to a cool foggy morning on top of Roan Mtn.

Some great view from the Balds on Little Hump Mtn.

The red barn has been converted into an AT shelter. What a spectacular setting!

Hiking up another Bald.

We’ve been crossing back and forth between NC and Tenn since we got to the Smokies. Now we say goodbye to NC.

This is Mountain Man. He started a southbound thru hike last August and left the trail in January and restarted mid March. He’s in the home stretch now. .

Even though we had a big 22 mile day planned we still managed time to hitch a ride 5 miles into town for Milkshakes et al.

Our driver, Mark.

AT hikers destination of choice.

This was my ride back (Mom was driving).

Jones Falls about a mile before camp.

Wound up doing 23 miles today with some minor side trips and detours. Felt surprisingly OK at the end of the day, though definitely ready to stop…at 7:45. It’s almost 10pm and I can barely keep my eyes open.

Day 23, 4/28: M-377, Roan Mtn. (21mi)

This little guy greeted me just after my 7am departure. I think he’s a newt.

More great views.

This is DirtMan, a local trail angel giving out bananas and Mtn. Dew

This would have been a great camp spot.

I met Lucky at a shelter during lunch. He’s doing a small section hike but he finished an AT thru hike last year at age 72…so impressive!

View from High Rock Knob

Delicate flowers on the way up Roan Mtn.

We entered a very dense Spruce forest before summiting Roan Mtn, our last peak over 6000′ until the White Mtns of New Hampshire.

It was a long day with a lot of climbing but definitely feeling strong and the minor nagging pains are getting better. My back still has some muscle tightness…too much constant tension between hiking and bending over (filtering water, setting up tent, etc). A good massage would be great in Damascus, VA.

It’s almost 10pm, well past hiker midnight (sundown), I’m going to bed!