The odds are astronomically low that you would be hit by lightening twice, that you would win the lottery twice, or that you would get hit in the head by a flying particle from space. I wonder what the odds are that I would experience two practically perfect days in a row? When this is the view to which I woke up, it starts to seem like the odds are bending in my direction.

Appalachian Trail

View from My Tent this Morning

The two big climbs for the day were Little Hump and, not surprisingly, Big Hump Mountains. As it turned out, these hills are a continuation of the previous day’s balds that are collectively known, I believe, as the Roan Highlands. It was, without a doubt, the most glorious two day stretch of vistas that I have ever experienced. In this area, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park gets all the press, but if you get even remotely close to Carvers Gap, I implore you to consider a day hike, or a overnight trip, to explore this area. You will not be disappointed.

Appalachian Trail

Looking Back at Overmountain Shelter

Appalachian Trail

The Climb to Little Hump

Appalachian Trail

View from Little Hump

Appalachian Trail

The Climb to Big Hump

Appalachian Trail

Looking Back at Four Balds and Roan Mountain

After summiting Big Hump Mountain, I continued down a short way to Houston Ridge to get out of the wind, and took a 30 minute break. It is hard to imagine, or even describe, the beauty that surrounded me. I usually eat something on occasions like this, but sitting there watching the giant birds soaring in the thermals and enjoying the seemingly endless mountain views, my spirit was so filled that I didn’t think about any other hunger. Soon, however, I reluctantly departed Valhalla and continued my descent.

Appalachian Trail

My Break on Houston Ridge

I thought the descent to Highway 19 E would be quick and easy, but it was far from it. For some reason, the trail designers decided to have the contractors dump huge truckloads of rocks and boulders on the trail about every hundred yards, which slowed my pace to a crawl. It is my opinion that the rock money would be better applied to the switchback fund. After a while, though, the trailed opened up at the beautiful Doll Flats where I reached another milestone. I am finished with North Carolina and only have 12 states to go! Eventually, I reached the bottom of the mountain and the road junction.

Appalachian Trail

View from Doll Flats

Appalachian Trail

Rock Obstacle Course

Appalachian Trail

Two Down, Twelve to Go!

It was very hot, and I hadn’t had any water in a while, so I stopped for a few minutes to cool off. There was a shuttle truck there from a brand new hostel, and the driver took one look at me and handed me an ice cold Coke from his cooler. He said, “Even if you are not a soda drinker, I’ll bet you are now.” He was so right, and it tasted so good.

Following a 0.3 mile road walk, I arrived at the beautiful Mountain Harbor B&B, and checked in at the hostel. After selecting my bed, I got a ride to town which, in a weird twist of fate, was the same place Cee Cee had taken us to for food two days ago. Once again, I found myself back at Bob’s Dairyland where I enjoyed their pork platter (I still don’t have the nerve to tackle their Holy Cow Burger).

Appalachian Trail

Mountain Harbor B&B

Appalachian Trail

Mountain Harbor Hostel

Back at the hostel, we are all sitting around when none other than Momma Bear and Little Foot arrived! There is also a Boy Scout Troop from Wilmington, NC camping here that did a “Work for Stay” project after completing their Philmont training hike. The hostel has a loft with four beds, and one of them has my name on it. There is a really steep ladder up to the loft, and it took my last bit of effort to climb to the top.

Appalachian Trail

All the Comforts of Home

Appalachian Trail

Home for the Night