5/12 Overmountain Shelter (16.6)

May 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

The day began with a scenario that we have grown disquietingly accustomed to; hard rain on our tent woke us up to deliberate about what our ruined intestinal tracts could handle eating for breakfast. Fortunately, there are angels near Greasy Creek Gap and the owner of the hostel there, upon hearing about my illness, sent someone back to the gap with a bag of stomach health, so I had applesauce, a banana (which is solid gold on the trail), and saltines for breakfast. We’ve heard a lot of stories about how kind and helpful the good people of the Greasy Creek Hostel are.
So, armed with full and only slightly queasy bellies we faced a bleak looking morning. The first part of the day was tough; the climb up Roan Mtn was super slick and muddy, and the path was cut steeply up the slope. The mud sucked at our boots and flooded up over our ankles. The climb seemed to take forever but we finally found ourselves on a windy but tree-enclosed top just as the clouds began to burn off and the sun peeked out. The rest of the day felt like a reward for our muddy ascent. The sun stayed out and warmed the cold air, and the rest of our day was spent walking over beautiful balds.

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We were told by several people that the Over mountain Shelter was simultaneously the coldest and the neatest shelter on the trail, so we decided we needed to see it. It was an old converted red barn where hikers could sleep in the drafty loft. The amazing thing was the view; the barn was perched on a mountainside overlooking the valley and had an incredible view. We shivered our way through the night there but, waking up to the beautiful sunrise flooding the valley and the sounds and smells of a campfire and a stringed instrument hiker trio, we instantly decided it was worth it. It was good, also, to find ourselves in the thick of the crowd despite our sick days slowing us down. We are still determined to walk into Damascus.
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The view from the barn