Erwin, TN to Cherry Gap Shelter – 17.5 miles
I sleep until 7 AM. It felt good to stretch out in the bed last night. We eat breakfast at the hotel before leaving. I have three donuts, scrambled eggs, sausage, a bagel, two bananas, milk, and three yogurts.
Debbie drops me off at the trail about 9:10 AM. It is a nice start to the hike. My pack is heavy with a six day resupply, but it is nice not to have a tough climb right out of the gate like leaving the NOC or Hot Springs. There is only gentle trail to start.
Just past noon, I see trail magic, gallons of water beside the trail. I was only going to refill my water, until I read the sign: “Sunday Brunch for Hikers (That means you, Bryan Seifarth!)” That stops me in my tracks! Then I remember that Matt and MaryStuart’s friend had attempted to meet up with me previously, but I didn’t know he was close to my current location.
I turn onto the short side trail to the clearing where Chris and his wife have a large spread of food. I sit, chill, talk for a while as I eat eggs, sausage, a couple Gatorades, Fresca, a granola bar, and two Klondike bars. It feels good to eat a lot, but not overeat. They wish me luck on my journey and I am back on my way.
It is another gorgeous day. I go about 12 miles to the next shelter and only have one climb.
At the shelter, a Middle aged hiker named ‘Mission’ and his wife ‘Youngster’ hiked s’mores ingredients out of town, so we all roast marshmallows over the fire. It is great. I eat one and a half Hershey’s bars worth and I should have had more.