Woke up to a beautiful morning. The sun came out and the sky was blue. I packed up my wet tarp and damp hammock and quilts and headed up the mountain. I turned at one point to look back down the valley and saw that the red barn contrasted nicely with the green vegetation on the surrounding hillsides. Things are getting greener.
I was feeling pretty good and I'd taped up the blisters better than the day before using lots of moleskin foam and tape which seemed to provide more cushioning. I even toyed with putting in a longer day because of the beautiful weather.
I walked over two impressive balds, Hump Mountain and Little Hump. The trail got rocky as it wound back down the mountain. At one point, it was a boulder field that required careful footwork to negotiate. The most interesting part was when I suddenly heard a river running below the rocks! Not just a trickling stream but what sound like a lot of water. I know water has power and wondered how much of the soil and smaller rocks were being washed away somewhere below me.
Springbok and Kittie caught up to me a mile before highway 19E, where I knew Mountain Harbor hostel was located. I decided to go there with them and we walked the .3 miles on a very busy highway in the rain.
Mountain Harbor Hostel was full up, unless you wanted to spend $95 for a room in the house. The hostel was in back of the barn. No thanks, we said. How about a shuttle? They said sure, no problem. But where to? There were no motels for 50 miles up the road to our next resupply town, Hampton. I had my bounce-box going to the trail famous Kincora Hostel run by Bob Peoples who is a legend on the trail.
Thirty-eight dollars and about a forty minute drive later, we were standing outside a completely deserted house covered with ivy, attached to an old beat up wooden building that was the hostel. We had trouble finding the light switches even though it was only 2 p.m., because the building was hidden in the trees and the sky was dark with rain clouds.
Unfortunately, the best we could say about the place was that it was run into the ground. We found out later that Mr. Peoples is 77 years old and his wife died 5 years ago and she had done the cleaning. He works on donations but the box was empty. It was filthy and uncomfortable to be there.
The Guide mentioned another hostel .7 miles down the road, so we shouldered our packs and headed back out into the rain. Black Bear, the third hostel of the day, was an oasis in the wilderness compared to the unfriendliness of Mountain Harbor and the depressiveness of Kincora.
We did a run into town for food at 5 p.m. and as we passed the A.T., two hikers we recognized, Simba and Bobsled, wandered out of the woods. It was raining and they decided to join us for the town run. Then on the way back we picked up first one and then a second cold and wet hiker looking for a bunk for the night.
I contacted Julia using the hostel's computer as there was no WiFi and no cell service. I caught up on some emails and news. Thanks again for all the kind comments and suggestions on how to fix my blisters. I've been busy reading!