Day 35: Moreland Gap Shelter to Pond Flats

Today’s mileage: 11.2
Total mileage: 421.7

It was a beautiful day, so it’s too bad we couldn’t put in a longer day. But, we had plans to resupply in Hampton, TN, so we we were at the mercy of our stomachs.

On our way down from the shelter this morning, we passed several trail maintenance volunteers of the Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club. These were the first maintainers we’ve seen since we started, so it was interesting to see them at work cutting stone, clearing the trail, and cutting down dead trees. They were all very friendly and we thanked them for their work, since they’re the ones that keep the trail maintained for all of us to use each and everyday of our hike.

As we got closer to town, we hiked down to Laurel Falls. It was the perfect spot to rest our feet and eat a snack. We sat on a fallen tree near the river’s edge eating our Cheetos and honey buns, enjoying the mist from the falls lightly spraying our faces and a breeze blowing through from the water that reminded me of home.

We hit a nice piece of flat trail along the river as we made our way towards town. We’ve had a surprising lack of wildlife sightings up until a few days ago. Well things are starting to pick up in that department as we saw 3 snakes in one day! That’s more than I see in an entire year in Maine. Thankfully, Miles was in front of me and saw the two big ones first. I skirted slowly around them, kind of freaking out a little. I am most certainly my mother’s daughter. Later in the day I came upon a smaller snake. I’ll admit, I don’t really know too much about snakes, so I’m just kind of freaked out by all of them.

Hampton was only a mile off trail, so we easily walked into town and headed to Compucraft, the laundromat/computer store/yard sale/hiker lounge/restaurant. It’s pretty much got everything you need if you need your laundry done, a new computer, a used ceiling fan, a place to hang out, and a bad ass burger on Texas toast. Minnesota Pete and Push-up were there doing laundry, so we set our packs down and went next door to resupply. When we returned to the laundromat, we ordered a burger and hand cut fries. You wouldn’t think this place has good food, but for $5, which includes a soda, it really hit the spot. We were also able to charge our phones and fill up our water, so it was well worth the time we spent there. They are thinking about opening a hostel next year. Everyone was very welcoming to hikers there and I would definitely recommend the burger and fries combo to anyone passing through.

We headed out around 3:30 to hike up Pond Mountain just a couple of miles out of town. It was hot and all uphill, but we made good time heading up the mountain, fueled from our burgers and fries. And I think getting off our feet for a couple hours helped some too.

There’s 9 of us up here tonight and we’re all looking forward to heading into Damascus soon. The next state border is certainly on everyone’s mind. Looks like rain all day tomorrow, but hopefully we will still be able to put in a long day. All of our stuff is in the tent tonight so we can at least start out dry in the morning. The dryness may not last too long, but we’ll take what we can get.

Side note: Does anyone know what the best breakfast place in Damascus is? When we head into town there, we’re hoping to get a good breakfast, so we would love to hear any recommendations.

7 thoughts on “Day 35: Moreland Gap Shelter to Pond Flats

  1. We had breakfast at Cowboys in Damascus and liked it. But it’s more on the way out if town, so maybe that would be better for when you’re leaving the next morning. šŸ™‚

  2. A typical country breakfast can be found at Bob’s (believe that is the name). Keep on the main street (the trail) until it makes a right turn. Before turning look to your left and you will see the place I’m talking about. Further up the street on the left is a laundromat and further on up is a coffee shop on the right. I think there is a restaurant on the right also before the coffee shop but I have not eaten there. There is a restaurant over on the river but don’t know if they have breakfast and only ate there once a few years ago and can’t remember much about it. But Bob’s was recommended for breakfast and we ate while our clothes were washing. The place was full of locals and we spent a long time getting better acquainted with Kermit, the Police Chief while we ate. Can’t tell you how proud I am of you guys. Keep on hiking. BTW, only two snakes are venemous, rattler and copperhead. Don’t worry about the others. Snakes are really very pretty creatures. You will see a lot of little ring neck snakes. They are pencil size or sometimes a little larger and have a red or orange-yellow ring around the neck. Also you will see black snakes. These are good. They eat the shelter mice. Even saw one in a shelter. Garter snakes can be green or brown and yellow striped or variation of colors but they are harmless. Study them and enjoy their beauty. I saw one swallowing a frog and we saw one at Watauga Lake who had a fish he caught. Interesting. Just look for the arrow shaped head and the pits on the face and you will know these are the two to avoid. Be careful where you put your hands. Look around logs before sitting on them and I have long made it a practive of placing my hiking stick across a log or rock before stepping there or looking before stepping so as to avoid any snake that might be coiled there. It has aid off a couple of times in helping avoid rattlers in canyon country and a copperhead on a local hike. Good luck and enjoy.

  3. In The Country is really good, as is L.B.O.E.’s (they’re both on the north edge of town)

    I thru-hiked last year and have enjoyed following your journey! Keep up the good work; it only gets better from here!

  4. I hate snakes too. I jump and or scream. Miles clearly didn’t get his bravery from his mother . when you think about sitting for your picnics in warmer climates in Virginia, Be Ware the Chiggers! the other Mom

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