8, 1981 Wednesday From Gonzo!s Appalachian
Had a fairly terrible nights sleep last night because the
ground was very hard, and a few people pulled into the lot with their
cars at about 10:48 pm.
a big breakfast. Have been pigging out to get rid of weight since
I am leaving the trail soon. (Apparently the decision had been made
before I actually arrived at Catawba) Had a quart of orange juice,
oatmeal, Pop-Tarts and granola bars. I began the ascent of North
Mountain after leaving the Catawba Grocery, and once reaching the
crest, was on it for about 8-9 miles. I stopped for lunch just before
descending. This morning, I saw two or three deer. Descended and
crossed a small creek, and then Catawba Creek, which was inviting
me in for a swim. The later part of the morning had become intensely
hot, so I sat in the cool rapids for a while. The day seemed to
have started out cool, but had changed. Not really, but it was
probably almost as hot as it got yesterday, which was terrible.
While there, I had cheese and crackers, and peanut butter.
cooling off in the creek, I began the ascent of Tinker Mountain.
Along the trail I walked through a herd of cows with long curving
horns. As far as I was concerned, I was following white blazes,
but then they started being puke yellow. I didnt know whether
I was really on the trail or not. The route was ascending steeply
and I didnt want to go up something like that and end up finding
out I was not on the trail. I continued anyway since every now and
then I saw a white blaze thrown in. They gave me a little relief,
but I was still apprehensive. Up up and hot -hot - hot up
what was called Scorched Earth Gap. It sure was scorching
heat today! Finally reached the crest and a signpost! There were
signs pointing all over. One to Tinker Cliffs, that is supposed
to be a very worthwhile side trip I had read about in the guidebook.
I passed it up because I was exhausted from the trip up the hill!
Only .9 mile to the shelter from there. Made it there (all downhill!)
and went to the stream and saw a deer. I waited for Bob. Once he
arrived, we decided to sit around for a while before pushing on
another five miles to Hay Rock where we would camp out. That would
leave only five miles into town tomorrow.
We pushed on kind of slowly toward the end since Bobs
hip belt was giving him a terrific rash. Finally made it to Hay
Rock. The climb to the top was worthwhile and had excellent views
of a reservoir and surrounding mountains. Took panoramic pictures
and sunset pictures, and later saw the lights of what we presumed
to be Roanoke. Very pretty. Hay Rock had a nice overhang forming
an intimate campsite for us. I put up my tent so I could lay out
of my bag without worrying about bugs I discovered today
that I already have a trillion bites all over my arms already, presumably
from last night on the porch. (I also thought maybe they were fleebites
since there were many dogs around the house)
Tuna and cheese on top of the rock for supper while we listened
to good tunes on 99 FM the Q from Roanoke on Bobs
radio. In a lot of ways better than K-SHE.