Thursday, June 16, 2016

Day 48: I like it up here

6/7: Fork Mountain - Johns Hollow Shelter
Mile: 757.4 - 786 (28.6 miles)

Down and then right back up a solid 2500 ft climb. It looks like the trail has a few more mountains today. Lows of 900 and 600 ft and climbs over 3500 and 4000 ft. But water looks plentiful and my legs feel good.

It's funny how a recently unfamiliar landscape has come to feel like home. After Floyd Mountain the trail dips down 500 ft and I'm in a world of blooming mountain laurel and windswept rhododendrons. I'm smiling in the familiar feeling woods and my earlier hungry grumpiness seem ages ago not just 15 minutes.

The rest of the day is a bit of a haze. It seems like the signs about problem bear areas and shelter closures have been increasing since the smokies. I think it has created a little bit of a bubble and it's a quiet day.

The top of one of the climbs, satellite?

Lots of rocks, this one even had a name; the guillotine.

An outlook right on the trail but easily accessible from the parkway means tourists.

The trail crosses the blue ridge parkway and follows along for a short bit before heading off again. It's more open than usual and the caterpillars are back while the ground radiates heat. But it's not for too long and then pretty much the rest of the day is a long descent to the James River and following various creeks to the Johns Hollow Shelter. I don't like camping at shelters but it's the end of the day and the last water for 9 miles including a long climb so it seems like the smart choice. It's 20 miles to Buena Vista so tomorrow night it's back to town.

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