The Roan Highlands were not as cold as we had been in recently, but one night Brian did wrap his emergency blanket around his sleeping bag in his tent. Our first day up we passed a lot of ice on the trail and some ice on a waterfall. The highlands and the sequence of bald mountain tops in the 5,000 foot range made for some good hiking and some great views! I would suggest a visit sometime and I hope to come back for a few days as well! In the highlands we stayed at the Overmountain Shelter which is an old barn overlooking a fantastic valley.
We made our way out of the highlands and crossed a busy road and saw our first bear. Unfortunately it was dead…it had been hit on the road. It is sad how much garbage and trash we see everytime we get close to a major road crossing. It is most likely all of the fast food trash that draws animals like that bear to the road. Not only do we make nature look ugly with our trash, it can even kill the wildlife!
The hiking after Roan was interesting as we passed through some valleys, pastures, and along a wide river. We had to walk around several cows once and took a break in the front lawn of a country mountain church. In the highlands we had done some short days only hiking 9 and 10 miles but enjoying the views. Coming out of Roan we pushed hard on a 22 mile day! Brian ended up sleeping on a bunkhouse in a hostel while Ryan and hiked on and camped near a stream. The next day was a brutal 12 mile hike into the Kincora hostel. We got cleaned up and took the shuttle into town which turned out to mean putting 18 people into Bob Peoples’ truck. I sat in the bed of the truck with 10 other hikers, some of them had not yet showered, and I tried not to get car sick as we hugged the turns down the tight, winding mountain road. In town we hit several stores and I went to Arby’s and had 3 big sandwiches and fries. We all piled back in the truck and headed back up the mountain. We sat around and had a good time telling stories and talking with the other hikers. In the morning Brian, Ryan, and I headed back into town with Seiko, another guy who works at the hostel, for a good meal at a local diner. About that time my father-in-law Rod showed up, ready to hike for the next few days with us. We grabbed our gear and hit the trail.