Today we woke up to blue skies! Yay! Overnight we heard a chorus of owls like I have never heard before. We camped overnight at Beech Gap, underneath the canopy of a rhododendron thicket. One of the best camping sites yet. We camped with Amy and Jacob, a couple of few words. Amy always gets up, packs up first, and hits the trail before Jacob. I guess he just walks until he finds her each day. I wonder which one carries the tent?
I'm very fortunate, because although Keith walks much faster than I do, he always hikes behind me. We have found that it works best this way, instead of him getting ahead, and having to always wait for me to catch up. I think I would also find that frustrating. I wonder is Jacob is frustrated??
The thing I notice today on the trail is signs that say, "North Carolina, Bear Sanctuary." We have not seen very much wildlife yet. The woods are totally barren and quiet still. Not very many buds on the trees even. We stopped at Carter Gap Shelter for lunch, where it said "Coach 2011" on the side, in the graffiti. Keith was glad he did not choose Coach as his trail name, because apparently it is a common one. We met Dakota Dan, who is hiking with his daughter, but she is a day behind him. She found a group her age and is hiking with them.
This was the most pleasant day yet hiking - blue skies, nice cool breezes, and fairly easy trail the whole way, that is, until we reached the last mile and a half. At that point, we began going up, and the last .3 of a mile was the steepest, rockest trail we have encountered. However, the climb was worth it, and we ended up at the Albert Mountain Fire Tower. This was also our 100- mile mark on the trail!!! We climbed up and took turns taking pics with Einstein, and later, Frodo, and the went on our way. The Fire Tower building was locked, but I think further north we hit some other fire towers that we can overnight in. I think that would be really cool. We were lucky to hit this view on a clear day. If we had hit it yesterday, we would have seen nothing but clouds. We hiked on, and camped for the night at Glassmine Gap, where, during the night, I heard a really loud roar! I am guessing it was a bear. Sounded like it came from around where Keith hung our bear bag for the night, but we were not going to go check it out! I told Keith he was mad because Keith had done such a good job hanging it, and he could not get to our food.
(Some pics from Albert Mt. Fire tower)
(Camped at Glassmine Gap)