Day 34: Apple House Campsite to Moreland Gap Shelter

Today’s mileage: 19.3
Total mileage: 410.5

Another day, another milestone. We hit the 400 mile marker this afternoon during our first full day of hiking in Tennessee. Before we know it, we’ll be one-quarter of the way done with the AT. At about the 546 mile marker, that puts us just north of Atkins, Virginia. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Our focus right now is getting to Damascus, Virginia and it’s safe to say we’re pretty excited to reach the TN/VA border and soon thereafter, Damascus.

As we were packing up our tent this morning, it began to rain. We quickly threw on our rain gear and packed up our stuff so it wouldn’t get wet. We said goodbye to Teflon this morning as he and Mouse headed into town. It’s cool how in just a month you can make life-long friends out here. While Mouse will still be out here with us, we’re hoping to go out and visit them in Colorado soon.

We started walking into Elk Park, NC this morning to resupply and we got lucky as one of our friends, Fredbear and his dad drove by and stopped to give us a ride to the market down the road. It was still raining at this point, so we were relieved to get a ride. They even waited for us as we bought our food and gave us a ride back to the trail. And with that, we said goodbye for good to North Carolina. Well, at least for now.

I went into today thinking it would be an easy hike. I sure was wrong. While the terrain wasn’t too difficult, the combination of being wet, sweaty, several ups and downs on the trail, and really the fact that we’re ready to get to Damascus, made our hike a bit tougher than we expected. We made it though, sore feet and all. We are so ready for new shoes by the way. Mine are worn out on the inside and Miles’ shoes are wearing out on the outside. And we’re both looking for a more comfortable shoe.

The rain stopped in the mid-afternoon, which allowed us to dry ourselves out a bit. We crossed a lot of small streams, walked through misty meadows, and hiked below Mountaineer Falls. No photos today unfortunately because of the rain. The coolest part of today was seeing the Roan Highlands, which we hiked yesterday, from across the valley. It was satisfying to look back on the beautiful range and say, “we hiked that.” It made me realize how much I enjoyed our hike yesterday and that the Roan Highlands will definitely be one of our favorite sections of the trail.

We’re making good time, despite our later starts in the morning. Apparently we’re truckin’ along at a good pace, because a lot of people have mentioned that fact to us. We’re tired at the end of the day and I take that as a good sign that we put in a full day of work.

7 thoughts on “Day 34: Apple House Campsite to Moreland Gap Shelter

  1. you are truckin’ along the trail at a good pace. congratulations!!! sounds like you have had your fair share of rain on the trail. i think that you will enjoy the trail in virginia and i am partial to the state having lived there. make sure you stop by luray caverns. you must be close to charlottesville on the trail? xoxo

    1. Oh, good ol’ Luray Caverns! I am excited to hike in one of your favorite states. Charlottesville isn’t too far from the trail. Not a resupply town, but maybe we’ll make it there. I know I would love to go back there.

  2. Joe and I enjoy following your progress. Y’all are doing a great job and should be proud of yourselves. Also doing a great job journaling.

  3. I am so proud of you two; you are doing great. I knew you could do it! Roan Mtn is beautiful when the rhododendron bloom in June. The gardens on Roan Mtn are very popular with tour buses driving up there to enjoy the blooms. On Jane Bald, Grassy Ridge and on across the balds you have the wild azaleas blooming along with the rodo anad the beautiful Gray’s Lilly which may only grow nowhere else in the world. I have heard that it exists in one location in China but not sure. It was almost extinct a few years ago but has made a come back with the help of a lot of people. Apple Orchard used to be a shelter which was torn down last year as the local yokels used it and it was not safe for hikers to stay there. You missed a great place just down Hwy 19 to the left when you came off the trail. Mountain Harbor is a wonderful place. I use it when I am in the area where they shuttle me up the mountain and I hike back to the B&B. The Mt. Rogers Outfitters in Damascus will help you with new shoes. They are great folks I’ve known for a number of years. Always enjoy doing business with them. I derive great pleasure from reading your journal, Flash. I think yours is the best I have read this year. You do a great job! I am so thrilled that you two are having a good time and enjoying your adventure. I am so proud of both of you. Sometimes as we age we have a tendency to think the worst of young people but you two along with other young people I met on the trail have helped to stem my cynicism. I am so glad I met you two and love to both of you. “Mamaw B”

    1. We are so glad we have gotten to know you as well. I think there can often be a disconnect between the generations and I find that divide to be broken down here on the trail. We have made friends with hikers of all ages from 20 year olds too 70 year olds! We feel lucky to know you, Mamaw and we mention you often to our fellow hikers and tell them how awesome you are!

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