This morning we hiked the remainder of the vertical to hit the top of Roan Mountain at 6,285 ft. In the late 1800's there was a hotel built at the top. Today only parts of the foundation remain, along with a parking lot, picnic tables, and restrooms. We enjoyed the warmth of the sun and the availability of trash cans for us to discard ours into. Gotta get rid of any extra weight we can. The hike down was pretty chilly. There were even a few spots that had ice covering the trail. Eventually as we went further down, we got warmer, and the trail turned into a really well done and maintained section. It was actually some comfortable, smooth hiking on it. We got to a water source and decided to get some. Go figure...my filter decides to be problematic again. Ugh. A brand new (due to replacement from the last one breaking for no good reason) filter should not have this many issues. If it continues, I'm going to be forced to drop money on a new one, because it's something that's necessary. Some people don't filter the water, saying it's clean, but I'm not willing to take a chance and get ghiardia. Not worth the risk. A lot of people have had good luck with the Steripen Adventure Opti. I think that's my backup should this one continue to perform like it is.
Made it down to a road crossing and ran into Houdini (used to be Jersey Steve). He was eating some lunch so we hung out for a while with him. In the meantime, a lady came up and introduced herself as Maine-iac's mom, and offered us soda. Sweet! After that and a trip to the extremely clean public restroom there (thank you US Forest Service), we were on our way up into the Roan Highlands. It was cool being in a different type of environment for a while. One bald to another, not socked in by trees.
Ran into an older couple, Pops and Gweem, who had pre-packed trail magic grab bags with things like hard boiled eggs, crackers, Handi snacks, snickers, a cutie (orange), and a butterscotch candy. Got to the next shelter just up the way and made all that trail magic disappear in a matter of a minutes. If there was any doubt in my mind after our last McDonald's experience that the hiker hunger they talk about had hit me, I was assured of it today. I don't have all that exciting of food in my backpack for the next few days, but I wanted to bust it open and eat it all!!! Dang the hunger. It's getting crazy!
We decided to stay at Overmountain Shelter, named after the Overmountain Men (note to research these guys more). The shelter was an old barn that had been restored for hikers to stay in. Great setting! Houdini and I went out and brought a bunch of firewood back. Ate dinner, crappy ramen, and a chunk of Houdini's Cabot cheese (note to buy some at next town), then we got a mean fire going. Eventually decided to all it a night. Slept in the top part of the barn. Says it can hold 20 people, but I'd say closer to 40.
Lacking with our miles, coming in at only 9 or 10, but worth the cool place to sleep at.
Oh, so supposedly this is one of the most haunted shelters on the AT, where people have heard and seen Confederate soldiers on the grounds (tied into the story of the Overmountain Men), and it's Friday the 13th! Some say scary. I say cool!