Day 77: Mile 703.4 | Four Pines Hostel
We got up early. I was still EXHAUSTED. We packed quickly. The rain had stopped. We ate a quick on the go breakfast and made our way down to the gap. We got there with half an hour to spare. We hung out with the rest of the slackpack crew until the truck would arrive. Joe, from Four Pines Hostel, showed up in his truck around 9:30am. He loaded our gear in the back and we hiked out into the humid, warm day.
We hiked hard, uphill almost the whole day. We climbed a steep but switchbacks mountain up to The Audie Murphy monument, a veteran who earned meant medals and had crashed nearby the memorial. The climbs were beautiful, although difficult. The heat melted our candy. We kept climbing all day, drenched in sweat. It was so nice to not have my pack on though.
We saw some lady slippers:
We hiked hard and my Achilles started hurting again during the afternoon. My legs were tight. We passed 700 miles and stopped for a break:
We climbed up Dragon’s Tooth as a storm came over the horizon. It rained on and off while we were up there. The views were incredible but we were so tired.
We ran into Poe and Savage up there who said they were trying to go to the local family style buffet as soon as they got back and offered to share their ride there with us. We happily agreed. We took in the views and rested for a moment. The way down was rocky and winding in the dimming light of the rainy afternoon. We sped down the mountain and caught up to Poe and Savage again. We walked with them to the hostel, following the little green trees on the road there.
When we got to the hostel we set up. I grabbed a bunk and Miles decided to stay on a couch.
We were so hungry that we didn’t even shower or change, we just went right to dinner. Midnight (remember him from Greasy Creek?) drive us all over to The Homeplace. A historic restaurant with a family style all you can eat dinner. We waited an hour to get a table but it was so worth it! We got ham, fried chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, and gravy for $16 all you can eat! We also got ice cream and or cobbler for dessert. It was DELICIOUS. Best fried chicken and roast beef I’d ever had!
(Our group Pano photo came out a little weird...)
After dinner we went back to the hostel. We caught up with Josh, Mark, Kevin, and Tang, Ahab and Tiger Lily, and Rick James. I went to bed around 10pm in my bunk. I tossed and turned all night but I couldn’t get comfortable. I was so overtired that I couldn’t sleep. I read a little bit and I still couldn’t sleep. It was a long night. When 7am finally rolled around I think I slept only a few hours.
(The garage is the bunk house)