Cherry Gap Shelter to Overmountain Shelter – 24.1 miles
I slept like a rock! I wake at 6:30 AM when I sense the sun. I slept through my alarm by an hour and I am slightly annoyed. It is a fairly uneventful day. The weather starts overcast and cool and later turns cold and rainy.
As I climb over Roan Mountain, the weather turns misty, cloudy, and windy. The woods are dark, wet, and mossy, full of spruces and firs. It looks much like the Great Smoky Mountains.
After descending the mountain, about 3 PM, I stop at the edge of the forest to put on my rain jacket before crossing the wide bald ahead. Since I will be out of the protection of the trees, I need another layer.
Good thing I stopped to put on my jacket. As I start into the open, the strong wind is driving the rain horizontally and soaking my legs, shoes, and socks. I try to cross this open area as quickly as possible. I get to the shelter and need to warm up and get dry and out of the rain. There are two hikers here taking a break before heading to the next shelter. I plan to stay, so I cook a meal.
After warming up, drying a little, and eating warm food, I feel pretty good and decide to go the short two miles to Overmountain Shelter, a converted barn that sleeps about 20. This option sounds much better than this crappy, cold, dirty, windy (the opening is facing into the wind) shelter by myself.
I get to the barn just after 6 PM. It sits about 0.25 miles (a long way) off the trail, but I don’t care this time. There are well over 20 hikers here. The barn sits in a valley, a very pretty setting even in this unpleasant weather.
I grab an open spot against the back wall of the barn, near the steps to exit. In shelters I try to position myself where I can get out easiest in the morning while bothering as few other people as possible.
I talk to Lindsay. She’s at my parents’ house with the kids, my siblings, and Grandma celebrating Ben’s birthday. Unfortunately, I don’t have great phone service, but I’m able to talk for a few minutes and send a picture of the scenery and shelter.
It’s beautiful out here.