Sunday March 24, 21.1miles/34.0km
Standing Bear Hostel TN (241.5) to Kale Gap NC (262.6)
I slept in until 7:30, it was so nice waking up next to a warm woodstove. I get packed up, and head to the kitchen, since I’ve heard a rumor about breakfast burritos. And the rumor is true! Chorizo, hash browns, eggs, peppers, onions, and sauces… heaven in a tortilla.
As I’m leaving, I get a few more photos, this place is so unique.
I leave at 9am, and it’s a big 2500ft/750m climb up to Snowbird Peak. The trail is nice and gradual, and it’s pleasantly warm out.
At the top, the trail break out of the trees, for some nice views.
And also at the top… trail magic! It’s quite surprising, given we’re on top of a seemingly inaccessible peak, but this lovely group of people found a way to drive up an old gravel road!
I sit and chat for awhile, and eat a sandwich, some delicious homemade bread, pop, and cookies. What a treat!
The views from up here are nice too, and there is a piece of aviation navigation equipment.
I say goodbye to the nice folks and continue down the other side of the mountain. Not far to Max Patch!
There is a descent and re-ascent to another peak, and all along the way are signs of spring.
And then, a mile before the summit of Max Patch, is a young couple parked near a dirt road with Trail magic! Truly surprising again. They are Cornsilk (AT ’15) and Hunter, and they have plans to do the PNT (Pacific Northwest Trail) in summer 2020. Close-call and Captain show up too, and we relax with some snacks.
Soon after, we hit the famed Max Patch, a Bald summit with 360-degree views, a rare thing on the southern AT.
We hang out there for a bit, but it’s getting cold, so the 3 of us head downhill 6 miles to camp. Along the way…more trail magic!!
Fresh Ground runs the “leapfrog Cafe” every year for the last 5 years during AT hiker season. He makes stops all along the trail, gradually headig north to Maine. So cool! We stop for an hour and enjoy some pasta, fresh fries, kool-aid, and other snacks. There are already 8-10 other hikers camped out nearby, since they also cook a nice breakfast. We continue hiking another 2 miles to camp, since we are trying to be in town before noon tomorrow, when the rain comes.
What a ridiculous and amazing day!