April 11, 1998

4/11/98 Apple House Shelter

8.1 miles (382.1 total)

Today was a day of angels. Because of the bad local reputation between Roan Mountain and Moreland Gap shelter, we decided to do a short 8.1-miles, so we could be rested for a 20-miler to the Kincora Hiker Hostel tomorrow. That and the fact that it was still cold made it awfully hard to get out of the sleeping bag. Because the barn was so enclosed, it was hard to realize just how sunny it was. Finally about 10:30, we started to filter back out onto the trail.

The shelter is a renovated barn with a sleeping loft
Even though it was very cold, the sun was a blazing

Smiley enjoying the winter spectacular

What a day! Within 10-minutes, we were getting rid of layers, because of the hiking and all the sun reflecting off the snow. It was a nice steady climb up to Little Hump Mountain, another bald. But as we neared the top, we could finally see Hump Mountain. The thing that made this bald different was that it was bare except for grass, not only the top but the entire mountain. Add to that, all the snow and it was a magnificent sight compared to other mountains we had climbed. Only with the lack of trees, the wind was pretty strong. Smiley and I were the first one’s headed up and had to bundle up against the cold. As we went up, all I could think of was those old National Geographic pictures of climbers up Mount Everest. I also saw my first large wildlife, a white-tailed deer, as it bound it’s way over the top. It’s still kind of weird all the day hikers we meet. Met two older gentlemen going up and a lot descending the other side.

Smiley hiking up Hump Mountain
All I could think of was the first Mount Everest climbers

Smiley and Dragon's Breath
at arm's length on Hump Mountain

Yesterday left horizontal icicles
from yesterday's storm

Soon the white snow gave way to wet, green vegetation and finally dry brown dirt. We arrived at Apple House shelter warm and dry, and excited because someone had left Coke’s inside. No sooner had we caught our breath, when Smiley got us a ride to the store and restaurant from some day hikers walking by.

We stopped by the restaurant but it was closed, so our lift dropped us off at J’s Market. He’d only been gone a few minutes when he came back to tell us the ‘open’ sign was lit up at the restaurant. He really went out of his way. We’ve been trying to remember to get people’s addresses when they help us so we can drop them a ‘thank you.’ So Smiley, Ghandi and I ate as far from the other customers as we could.

We didn’t need to worry about EWOS because another trail angel dropped off a load of groceries that included beer, coke, chips and salsa, fig newtons and bananas. EWOS was only too happy to share. Surprisingly, others showed up late, including Chunky, Piper and Lynx. We all squeezed in and waited for another cold night.

Eating a little 'trail magic'