Today was another awesome day of hiking. It was sunny and even hot.
The shuttle bus driver from the hostel in Franklin, North Carolina took me back to the trailhead after spending the night there. I started hiking around 9:30 a.m. I was fully or more accurately over supplied with food for the next leg of the trail.
Last night, while I was in the hostel a thunderstorm rolled over. I was told a campsite I passed by a few days ago got hit pretty hard with serious hail and a tornado. The shuttle driver said whoever was up there went through hell, as he was driving in the area then.
Had a fair amount of elevation gain today, but it was so worth it. On the longest climb of the day, there was a painted rock set off to the side.
At one point on the hike today, I came across a trail angel named My Friend. He was a previous thru hike from New Jersey who came down just to provide trail magic and give back some of what he recieved. He was cooking up hot dogs and had all kinds of other food and drink. Awesome.
Made it up to an old fire tower with amazing views. I took out a tortilla, put a lot of peanut butter on it, added some mozzarella cheese sticks and a slice of Spam and rolled it all up and ate it for lunch. It was so good.
I hiked and set up camp at Licklog Gap. It was a 12.3 mile hike.
While on the hike, I met a 87 year old Korean War Vet named Pappy, who is attempting to be the oldest person to complete a thru hike of the AT. I hope he makes it, he is badass. The first week he was not carrying a tent, just sleept out in the cold shivering. He has completed thru hikes on the AT, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide before. I have never hiked a trail like this before. The AT keeps getting more amazing each day. The trail is not easy, but the sense of community is deep out here with other thru hikers, even with section hikers and day hikers. When people find out I am thru hiking, they wish me well and they really mean it. I wish everyone well too and that they reach whatever goals they have.