May 9: mile 390: Doll Flats tent

We woke up a little late due to the cold and persistent rain in the morning.  It really sucks breaking camp and packing up in the rain.  Once we got our shit together we hiked the last three miles up Roan Mountain.  It was very difficult due to multiple trees down over the trail from the following nights storms.  Plus it was raining, steep incline, and was generally over boulders.  At the top the rain lessened and we were again treated to what I call “misty, spooky hiking”.  The mist rolls around like smoke and the spruce branches drip water on you– really cool.

After hiking down the rain quit and we hiked up s mountain called Janes Bald.  It was really windy and too misty to see any of the supposedly awesome vistas at the top (5800 feet).

By afternoon the mist cleared and the sun actually came out. I hiked to the iconic Barn Shelter and noted it’s famous vista of the valley.  I found Big Country there alone at 2 o’clock in the afternoon waiting for the “dirty 30” who were allegedly going to arrive with whisky for s huge shindig.  The dirty 30 are a large bubble of hard core partiers.  

Tempted as I was to stay for that, I hiked on to tackle Little Hump mountain.  It was a difficult enough climb; but the problem with mountains called “little something” is that you can count on a big one immediately after.  Hump Mountain didn’t disappoint.  Because neither have any trees, from the lofty vantage of little humps summit, you can see a winding, seemingly endless path leading to the summit of Hump Mountain with tiny little ants weaving their way up.  It was getting late in the day but what choice did I have?  I set off and became one of those ants.  The wind was howling and the tall grass was churning as I encountered a young Scottish kid coming down the opposite way.  “Lovely little climb isn’t it” he said with a look of pure joy in his face.  I wanted to point out that I was climbing and he was descending but I didn’t want to be the nasty American.  It did remind me of the Scottish highlands even without the overly jubilant Scottish kid.  After many restful pauses in the wind, I eventually made it to the top and viewed the 360 degree panorama.  I was truly awestruck.  It was, indeed, a lovely little climb. 

I found Bluestem, Wahoo, white beard, and some Clemson day hikers at a tent site around 730.  A fire was already roaring– definitely one of my favorite days on the trail.  Happy trails.

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