It was very hard to say goodbye to the Princess and our younger grandson, Liam, when they dropped me off at the trailhead near Roan Mountain yesterday morning. I like everything about hiking the Appalachian Trail except the family separation…and I really don’t like that at all.
So it was with some sadness that I started out walking and “got back to work” on the trail. I knew from the guidebook that the trail would get easier after Roan Mountain so I picked up some Vasque trail running shoes at the REI in Asheville, NC when we drove through there on our way back from Florida. The new shoes were great and my feet and legs feel terrific this morning after a little over 25 miles yesterday.
The hiking yesterday was pretty uneventful and late in the day I arrived at Kinkora Hostel run by Bob Peoples. Bob’s a real institution on the trail, being involved in the leadership of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and leading the group that maintains a long section of the trail in Tennessee.
Bob has done El Camino de Santiago (French route) and plans to do the Portuguese route in November. We talked a lot about the Camino and he took great pride in showing me a list of hostels on the Portuguese route that he is putting together. It is pretty amazing work considering that he does not have a computer.
Bob’s hostel, Kinkora, is a must-see on the trail. He has all the basic requirements: a bunk room, kitchen, clean bathrooms, a sitting area, and room to pitch a tent in the yard.
I tented and got the best night sleep yet in my new down sleeping bag on my inflatable Thermarest sleeping pad – both of which the Princess brought me from home. She brought me a few other things from home that I’m very glad to have:
– a silk sleeping bag liner to replace the heavier cotton one
– Aquaphor to rub on my feet in the morning before I put on my socks
– my Smartwool ankle high socks to replace the full length hiking socks
– my Lexan knife to use to spread Nutella and peanut butter and to cut cheese and other food items
– insect repellent
One other item that I bought at REI in Asheville is a very lightweight breathable ball cap. I really liked the cotton one I was using but it was causing me to overheat and get sweaty on uphills so had I to keep taking it off every time I went uphill. The new one is so well vented that I can keep it on all the time and it makes a big difference.
Today I plan to hike for ten hours and cover another 25 miles. (My average pace including breaks is right at 2.5 mph.) If all goes well, I’ll be in Damascus, VA by the end of the day tomorrow. VIRGINIA! I can’t wait to get to my adopted home state!
Here are a couple of photos from yesterday. The first is from a small cemetery that is right on the trail in the middle of nowhere. The other is a pretty little waterfall that I passed.