Waking up at Over Moutain shelter I was quickly dismayed, there would be no sunrise this morning with the wind and rain. I yelled as I got out of my tent, it seems that I’m just missing the good stuff by a day or hours sometimes. Grabbing all my things, I headed for the shelter to pack and break down my tent. I wasn’t the only one with the same idea it seemed. Hanging my tent up to drip some I ate breakfast and planned my day with Huckleberry and MacKenzie. We were all headed to Roan Mountain and it looked like it was going to be along day with the fog and clouds.
Climbing out of the shelter we ascended the first bald, only to find we were definitely in cloud cover for the day. We climbed and climbed with her dog Cash nipping at our heels. A cash is such a cool dog, so friendly, lovable, the best kind of dog to have around. Our morale was fairly high as we climbed to the top of the mountain. Taking a quick break we realized we were no where near the actual top, but instead on a large hill before. The sheer white out conditions masked everything from view. We began our next climb under sever winds and clouds or fog, I’m actually not sure what to call it since fog is on the ground but we were in the clouds.
The long uphill dragged on forever, at one point we began to seperate, Huckleberry way out in front, Me in the middle with Cash following right next to my leg, and a ways back was MacKenzie. I sat down to get cover from the wind and waited for her to catch up. I didn’t want her to worry about Cash. When the two of us finally reached the top we found Huck sitting down relaxing. The wind we hoped would blow the cloud cover away, so we sat and waited a bit. To no avail it never happened. MacKenzie and Cash took off down the trail while Huck and I good off lord of the rings style trying to part the clouds where we were.
We found ourselves being passed by another hiker while we got our things together. Heading down the mountain we could see our pup and friend long away in the clouds, almost barely noticeable in the thick cover. We also spied the unknown hiker in front of us, his shoes and odds and ends swinging back and forth they hung from his pack, making us think of him being a hobit. We started to call him Samwise due to that and his over large pack he carried down the highlands. The Highlands looked on that day as what you would expect of the word. Long rolling hills filled with grass and few shrubs, mist and clouds rolling through with the high winds. Sheer rocks sticking out every so often, causing you to wonder what there were before they came into focus.
The Highlands ended abruptly at the forest edge, a doorway had been cut into the thick bushes, I couldn’t help myself as we walked into the doorway, saying “Welcome to Narnia.” The change so abrupt, so dramatic threw me a bit, the fog was no where near as dense in the trees. The clear forrest, a safe haven from the wind and weather provided a bit of comfort for a short time. Just as sudden as we had come in we were out, back in the mist and rolling hills. Moving along the narrow trail, so narrow that it was only wide enough for a foot, we walked cautiously. Hearing an odd sound, like a pack being tossed in the grass, we turned around to see MacKenzie turtled on the ground. Somehow she had fallen and landed on her pack unable to turnover or get up. We couldn’t help but laugh at her.
The rest to the trail out of the balds was rocky and mostly downhill, our time hiking through there was short and free of any real disasters, that is except each of us fell just once. We could hear the sound of the highway as we came down the ridge, snaking back and forth along the hill side, the sounds getting louder and quieter depending on our direction. Hitting the gravel road we got a bit excited to get some burgers and shakes for the afternoon, quickening our pace to the gap. When we arrived at the gap we met a wonderful man named Lynnwood and his family. Talking with them we found that they were doing some day hikes and researching the Appalachian Trail for a possible thruhike in the future.
I set off quickly as they talked trying to get us a ride into Roan Mountain. As luck would have it his wife soon raised and offered to take us all into town. Excited and happy we all piled in her car with no room to spare. The short ride to town We talked more about hiking and we exchanged contact info, looking forward to our further conversations we parted ways, off to get milkshakes. Bellies full of double burgers and shakes we settled into a bed and breakfast for the night, relaxing and writing is what I did for the evening. Catching up on phone calls was in order as well, fortunately right out in front of me was a glorious cell phone tower allowing me full service for once.