30 JUN 14
Roan Mountain trip: Day 2
Clyde Smith Shelter-Roan High Knob Shelter
Miles today: 7.9
Storms have come!
Rains wash the earth away
Dark skies fall down
Into another day.-Enya “Storms In Africa”
Woke up at 0555. The clouds finally ran out of water, at least for now. Everything I own is damp. Tried to dry my socks, but with the condensation from inside my tent that was an exercise in futility. The bottom of my sleeping bag somehow got wet as well. My shoes were just as wet as they were when I’d taken them off yesterday. My insoles were moist. Thank God I brought my Crocs- I couldn’t imagine having to keep these wet shoes on for a minute longer than I have to.
S L O W L Y started packing up and getting ready to go. Guess what’s worse than putting on wet shoes? Putting on wet socks, then putting on wet shoes. Hmmm, should I stay on the trail or should I go dry out for a day. Dry shoes and dry clothes sound good. I’m a wimp.
Trudged down the hill to fetch some water, made some coffee, and after gulping down my mandatory handful of morning pills, halfheartedly donned my pack, bid farewell to my shelter mates and set off for Hughes Gap at 0800. It was a steep climb back up to the AT. Here goes nothing. On the way, since I was the first person on the trail for the day apparently, my face was assaulted every 50 feet by spider webs. There are few feelings in the world as gross as getting a faceful of web. At Little Rock Knob (mi 369, elev 4918′) I stopped for a breakfast of peanut butter crackers and was treated to a view of a valley. The walk up was through a good number of rocky rhododendron tunnels. Clouds overhead were trying to break, and I saw a sliver of blue sky (yes!), but the lower clouds were still scuttling by, quickly obscuring the view.
Checked my voicemail, and yes, I had left my keys in the car. Shannon said to not panic, they’ll hang on to them for me. Good call on telling me not to panic, because I was already tallying up how much it would cost to not only get a locksmith to get me in my truck, but the probable necessary overnight stay as well. My phone call to the B&B went unanswered after 9 rings. Not wanting to dawdle, I set out for my next waypoint. The walk down to Hughes Gap wasn’t bad, all things considered. Took a 15 minute break down by the road at 10:00 to readjust my pack. I was 6 miles between water points with an uphill climb to Ash Gap, but I could top off there before the looming ass-kicker up Roan Mountain. My legs were tiring, but not as bad as they were after my trip to McAfee Knob back in March.
On the way up from Hughes Gap, I noticed 4 dead mice strewn along the middle of the trail about 20 feet apart. That was strange. What made it stranger was the fact that they were all missing their…heads. What kind of animal has a blood lust for mouse heads? Zombie owls, that’s what. Fear the undead…