June 13, 2015
“Just get out and do it. Just get out and do it.”
Between Bald Mountain Shelter and Erwin, TN there is only one shelter, No Business Knob. The trail gossip said that bears were coming into the camp at No Business looking for food. Plus, there were burgers and hotdogs Erwin that were certainly not located on the trail. I decided to hike in, as did most others.
It is 5.7 miles from Bald Mt. to Spivey Gap. The views were very nice: Little Bald, Whistling Gap, High Rocks. The wind was blowing; the sun shining brightly.
There is a small climb out of Spivey Gap for two miles and then the trail reaches Devils Creek Gap. I don’t want to say that this section was unremarkable, because the pines and evergreens mixed together are very nice, but there are no views until Nolichucky River. The trail undulates over and over and over.
I hiked by myself almost all day, until I ran into Journeyman at No Business Knob Shelter. He is 70 years old and going southbound. He was a very nice man and we talked for several minutes.
I made pretty good time and finally emerged at the Nolichucky and Uncle Johnny’s hostel. Uncle Johnny is a mainstay of the trail. On his wall are pictures of him through the years (even with Earl Shaffer – the first thru-hiker) newspaper articles and memorabilia.
Everyone was already there or trickled in: G.T., Cous, Socrates, Atlas, Chief High Brow, Mike and Larry. I had only been on the trail five days and it pained me to leave these people behind. Maybe that is what makes the Appalachian Trail so wonderful: this shared, tough experience. Everyone is together, everyone is getting rained on. Every time I step foot onto the AT, my faith in humanity is restored. I’ve had people offer me food without solicitation; you ask each other if you are doing ok, you help someone at the drop of a hat. I know of no other place in modern culture where it is similar. I truly love it.
Total mileage is 16.9 miles.