May 3: We woke up to some nice weather and decided to push hard to beat the storm system coming in. We hiked 17 miles and crested three mountains including the pictured Big Bald. Amazing 360 view of mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. Little Bald was also a similar view. Caretaker raced ahead to the shelter to complete 20 miles. The three of us cowboy camped at the top of a ridge and were joined later by Two Chairs. The climb up that ridge was the prettiest I have seen so far– a cascading mountain stream following the trail for a mile with several impressive falls.

Bear bag safety note: Two Chairs tied his carabiner and paracord to a fist sized rock in order to hurl over a particularly high limb. As often happens it got caught up in the tree instead of slinging over. So he pulls on it so hard it bends the sapling completely over. When it snapped free it followed the trajectory that you would expect– laser beam toward the object piling on the cord. Two Chairs narrowly missed having his taken off by putting his hand up. Seriously messed up hand. Physics lesson learned.

Ten miles into town in the morning to make the 12 o’clock shuttle to the pizza buffet. Every hiker has been pushing themselves for two days with that goal in mind. It’s all we talk about this late in the resupply cycle. I will have to hike in 10 miles in the morning– eye on the prize. Happy trails.

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