4/10/2018 – Day 32

Overmountain Shelter to US 19E – 6.9 miles

1 month on the trail. Commemorated with sunny skies and a relatively warm day. Really windy coming over the balds, but with beautiful views. Had a bad fall coming down one of them and landed on my hand. Nothing is badly hurt, but I definitely twisted my wrist a bit. It hurts to move it too much. Packing my bag is going to be really slow for the next week. When I got to the monument on top of the bald, I played some pBone and one of the guys who stayed at the shelter with me took a video and picture. Waiting for him to send it to me. Made it to Mountain Harbor before 11:30. I mentioned my mom and Andy and the owners immediately recognized my mom’s name. They added a food truck to the hostel, and I got a BBQ/bacon burger with fries that was amazing and then some nachos later on. Braden and Rachael got here last night too! Around 5:30ish. There are 2 overweight cats, at least 4 dogs, and a goat that are all super friendly. Crazy Brit and his son stayed here too. I got 2 Heinekens from them! Very excited for breakfast in the morning!

I was sad to hike away from Overmountain Shelter but happy to be hiking towards Mountain Harbor today. I had a beautiful 7 miles to hike over balds. It was very cold overnight so the trees and ground were all covered in frost. The sun came out quickly though, melting a lot of the frost. I was happy for the warmth from the sun but soon realized that the melting frost was making the trail very muddy and slippery. I had a lot of close falls going up and over those hills.

At the top of Hump Mountain, there is a plaque built into a rock commemorating Stan Murray. When the Appalachian Trail was first completed in 1937, a lot of it was on private property and there were concerns that without federal protection, it would go away. Stan Murray did a lot of work to protect the AT and especially Roan Mountain and the balds in the Highlands of Roan where his plaque now lays. It was at this spot that I stopped briefly to pull out my pBone and play some music. 360 degree views and sunny made it the perfect venue. I later got pictures from another hiker who came up over Hump Mountain as I was playing. He tried to get a video too, but you could not hear any sound. Hiking on from Hump Mountain, I slipped on a particularly bad patch of mud and caught myself with my hand. Not good. The fall was hard enough to cover one side of me in mud and twist my wrist. Thankfully with nothing broken, I continued on and was able to stay on my feet the rest of the way to the hostel.

Mountain Harbor hostel is a special place for my family. Before thru hiking, I had stayed at the hostel once with my mom and a second time we left her car there while we went on a section hike. My mom has been there more than I have and even met my step dad – Andy – at the hostel. She stayed there with a hiker meetup group that Andy was also with and the hostel was accidentally over booked. My mom and Andy ended up having to share a room in the main house with one of them sleeping in the bed and one in a cot and by November 2016, they were married. Checking into the hostel I mention my mom’s name and the owner immediately recognized her and even had a story about another couple who met there and got married.

Mountain Harbor is a big house with a lot of animals including 2 cats, 4 dogs, and a super friendly goat. I always had something to do because there was always one animal that required attention. The hostel had some new additions just this year including a food truck that I took full advantage of. A hiker named Crazy Brit who I had met the day before while getting trail magic was at the hostel too and had Heineken with him! He let me have some while I told him about my time studying abroad in Ireland and backpacking around Europe.

Later on Rachael and Braden made it to the hostel but had to tent because all of the hostel beds were taken. I got some more food with them at the food truck and made sure to tell them to splurge on the breakfast that the hostel offers. Mountain Harbor BnB and Hostel will always have one of my favorite breakfasts. It is all homemade, AYCE, and absolutely delicious! Worth every penny!

Playing my pBone by the Stan Murray plaque.

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