Day 21: Chasing waterfalls

Monday April 1, 21.0mi/33.8km

Piano Bar Hostel TN (407.4) to Boots off Hostel TN (428.4)

When I woke up at 7am, it was still very cold outside, 20F/-7C. So I had a leisurely morning, eating breakfast and reading. Bob and I finally left the warmth of the hostel at 9:15am. At least it was a sunny day!

I noticed that when it’s below freezing, the rhododendron leaves curl up, almost like they’re trying to hide.

After an hour of hiking, I came across this waterfalls, and it had a cool name. I think it’s named for the local trail maintenance crew.

The trail stayed up on a ridge all morning, and I kept moving to stay warm.

Just before I stopped for lunch at at Road crossing, there was a creepy abandoned cabin. It smelled like formaldehyde…I i did not poke around further.

After lunch, the trail entered a gorge carved by the Laurel fork creek.

There were hundreds of stone steps down into the gorge and the base of Laurel Falls, I think I counted 250 steps.

The falls has a nice swimming hole. Normally I would swim, but I suspect the falls wasn’t even in liquid form last night…

Bob had stopped off for lunch at a nearby hostel, and he caught me at the end of the gorge. The trail was cut thru rock and had many bridges, as it followed the river. It reminded me of state parks back in Ithaca.

We left the gorge and climbed one more small mountain, before descending to Watauga lake.

We planned to stay at a hostel again tonight, to avoid the extreme cold. This is starting to feel like the Te Araroa, with all the hostels! We arrived at “Boots off” hostel at 5:30pm, had a quick shower, and caught the 6pm shuttle to town for milkshakes.

The showers were very interesting.

It was a nice short and easy day, hopefully it’s warmer tomorrow.

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