Miles today: 27.7
Miles total: 2099.6
Miles total: 2099.6
Currently laying in the shelter...
Pretty much your standard trail day. I was on the road by 7 and headed downhill for about four miles. I climbed up and over some unnamed mountain, but what struck me was how well-graded the climb was. It wasn't even a challenge. The rest of the day proved to be the same way, with really gradual climbs and descents that made for easy cruising. My morning snack was at Rock Gap Shelter, where the trees were inexplicably dripping the whole time I was there. There hasn't been any rain lately and it wasn't a hazy morning, so I really can't explain it. The drippiness contributed to the run-down look of the shelter, but it was a good place to sit and inhale calories. Once on the trail again, I got warnings from two different section hikers about the rocks on Albert Mountain. One claimed it was the steepest and rockiest section of the trail that he'd ever seen. The other had used the bypass trail to skip the peak all together. I knew I'd be sticking with the AT's route, but I was a little curious. I made the climb without incident and as pleased to find a fire tower. I liked the moment because I got a great view and this summit marked only 100 miles left on my trip. It's a good thing too, because I'm just about ready to be done. I think it's a phenomenon similar to how you feel when you have to go to the bathroom really bad and you're almost to the toilet. You could wait longer, but it doesn't feel like it. That comparison really does no justice to the AT. Anyway, I found those rocks on the backside of Albert Mountain, but they only lasted for a quarter mile. I sighed and continued on my smooth sailing.
My stop for Second Lunch was at Carter Gap Shelter, which immediately preceded a long (but very easy) walk over Standing Indian Mountain. My mind had been wandering too much to the finish line, so I played some music again to drown it out. Today we had Arcade Fire followed by Bon Iver's Bonnaroo set. That got me to within ten minutes of the shelter, which peased Lord Rooster immensely. I got water, located the privy for the morning, and now I'm in my bag after having dinner. Not much else to do but daydream about going into Hiawassee tomorrow and fall asleep! Maybe I'll find a way to have one more hotel stay. Hmmm...
Pictures: 100-miles-to-go celebration on a fire tower; my last 5000-footer.