As Anne has mentioned, the days we hiked between Hot Springs, NC and Erwin, TN were extremely foggy. We couldn’t see more than a few yards for hours on end. It had a strange effect on our ability to measure the passage of time.
There was one exceptional day, and we were lucky to climb a mountain called “Big Bald” during a clear and sunny afternoon. The weather was warm and the views were awesome. It really bolstered our spirits after days of dreary dampness.
Our resupply point at the end of this leg was Erwin, TN. We were eager to get cleaned up and sleep in a cabin at a hostel just off the trail there by the Nolichuky River. Although our mileage was short the day we arrived, somehow a number of hikers got there ahead of us and booked up all the rooms. We were obliged to tent in the yard under a group of pine trees. We were still able to enjoy a hot shower, use of the laundry room and most importantly a shuttle downtown for lunch, dinner and resupply.
We went straight for the Hawg-n-Dawg. The proprietor was a great guy and gave us the run down of the menu, which is, as you have probably inferred, all hot dogs and BBQ. We each ordered the Super Hawg-n-Dawg, a quarter pound hot dog in a bun filled with pork BBQ, topped with chili, coleslaw, mustard and your choice of the half a dozen sauces offered. It was probably – no definitely – the best thing I have eaten on this journey. I drank two root beers and ate another large BBQ sandwich. Anne had iced tea and shared a strawberry cake with ice cream with me.
Our appetites are seemingly endless and eating in towns is a slippery slope into indigestion. We took just few hours off before catching the next shuttle to the KFC buffet. I didn’t know that the Colonel did a buffet. Surprisingly, vegetables made a good showing, especially those coated in mayo or simmered in butter. We kind of regretted it later, but we definitely got our money’s worth.
There is only about a week of hiking till we hit southern Virginia. The next few days will take us back over 6,000 feet for the last time until we reach New England…
Stone stairs leading to Firescald Knob
We found a giant crack rock on the trail!
Strange patterns in the wood of a dead tree.
Typical lunch of rye crackers, tuna and peanut butter. The view was better than the fare.
Willett on the way up to Big Bald.
Anne near the top of Big Bald.
Travis on top of Big Bald, with Big Stamp in the background.
Travis at High Rock, another peak the same day.
The Super Hawg-n-Dawg in Erwin, TN.
Pork BBQ and strawberry cake.