AT – Day 5
Bob Peoples’ Kincora hostel is the only place in town now. Braemar down in Hampton is closed this season as is the Dennis Cove hostel/ camping on Dennis Cove Road. Bob still tries to accommodate all hikers who come up his driveway- he may not have enough bed space for 40 people, but continues to allow folks to shower, shuttle into town, and use the land line here ( with a credit card). I gave Bob extra cash for my donation here. $4 per night is just not enough. He told me he had just served the 17,000th backpacker.
Crazy comings and goings- Pebbles and Chris, still sleeping beside me this morning are strapping on day packs and just have sleeping bags and food for two 25 mile running segments into Damascus from here. I plan to walk it in three nights, coming into Trail Days on Thursday.
I was out first at 7:30 AM today. Cool, clear morning. After Laurel Falls I decided to take the 1 mile blue blazed trail into Hampton and bypass the 2,000 foot ascent and the 2,000 descent up to Pond Flats. Downside is that I couldn’t get a hitchhike out of town to get back to the AT, so I ended up walking two plus miles to do that. I ran into two groups of guys that I had met in the last few days, and hiked with them. I also bypassed a meaningless 300 foot climb after walking over Watuga Dam, all it took was staying on the road. I LOVE the fact that I can walk where I want on this trip. Of course, I could always walk wherever I wanted to but on the 2007 hike I walked every inch of the AT. If I see some meaningless re-route up to a viewless landing I may avoid it. I spent the rest of the day humping 1,600 feet to this Vandventer Shelter, where I snagged a bed space before the shelter filled up. There are 7 tents here as well, most everyone here is section hiking.
This hiking is tough. The uphills are really taxing. This is one of the aspects of hiking the AT that differs from hiking the PCTA, where it would be switchbacked to the extreme. The shelter experience is another novelty for me. Clearly there is much more of an instant social interaction every 8 miles or so with the placement of these simple enclosed three-sided shelters.
So far, so good.
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