Erwin, TN to Damascus, VA: 343.9-470.2

Mya actually sitting for a sec…at Beauty Spot Bald, near Erwin, TN

We left Erwin, TN in beautiful weather; following the Nolichucky River and then climbing up and down, up and down as the AT does….over and over.  It took us 2.5 days to get to the tiny town of Roan, TN.  We hiked in just in time for our favorite meal of the day: breakfast.  It was 3 miles into town. We were a hiker family of 5 plus the dog.  We were wet.  We heard it was a hard hitchhike into town (yes, that’s how we get around when we’re in ‘civilization’)  So we called Happy Cafe, where we were headed, and the cook came and picked us up!   After an embarrassing number of pancakes, we headed to the grocery store to “re supply” for the next three days.  This included Cold Potato’s birthday.  How do you celebrate a birthday in the woods?? See the photo below…

The next section of trail included stunning Roan Mtn. We hiked through three “balds” which are open fields on the top of mountains.  Balds have dotted the landscape of NC and TN: it’s unknown how they originated.  Many are kept open through the work of grazing animals and volunteers now.   We had beautiful views at Round Bald and Jane Bald….then weather started creeping in.  By late afternoon, we found our beautiful day has turned into pea sized pelting hail and cold wind.   A passing hiker snapped a photo…see below.   And that was the way we left North Carolina for the last time: in swirling misty clouds and rather soggy.

Yummy snacks on Beauty Spot Bald, thanks mom!

Someone’s got some chainsaw skills. 

Home sweet home at Ash Gap campsite, 2/3 of the way up Roan Mountain. 

Roan Mountain, Round Bald panorama. 

Mike and Mya enjoying Round Bald

Looking back at Roan as the storm approaches. 

Brave souls climbing up Hump Mountain during the hail storm, with Mya leading the pack! (photo credit to Shinner)

  So long NC

Jones Falls, en route to Laurel  Falls no climbing we promise 

Mya thought the falls were noisy and scary and felt safest under cover

   That’s right 400!!

Thats Hump Mtn way in the background, where the hailstorm was

  Happy birthday Cold Potato! We packed out a dozen donuts and frosting for him and Su created this amazing “cake” for him!

Spring is blooming!


Laurel  Falls Tennessee 

  Watauga  Lake

Some “wild” life along the way

  Old AT shelter

  That’s right! Another state in the bag!! Here comes ~500 miles of Virginia…

Mya’s ready for VA too!!

And into Damascus we go after putting in a 20 and then a 24 mile day to get in in time for… breakfast!  Damascus is the second town (Hot Springs was the first) where the AT actually goes right down the main drag.   It’s population of 800 will swell into the tens of thousands two weeks from now, when the annual “Trail Days” festival attracts hikers to town and the whole town turns into a tent city.   We’re taking a zero here to rest up, then we’ll move on.  We’ll have a quarter of the trail completed at mile 574… A mere 100 miles from now.  

 And before we left….An awesome Surprise visit from an old friend! thanks for taking a break from your cross country road trip to pay a visit!

Our next mail pick up will be around May 17th:  Su or Mike c/o Holiday Motor Lodge. 401 North Main St, Pearisburg, VA. 24134…..hold for AT thru-hiker…

Much love and thanks for your support!!

2 Responses to “ Erwin, TN to Damascus, VA: 343.9-470.2 ”

  1. Joe Kolakowski

    Great pictures. I am a relative of your dad’s neighbor & have hiked in NH. Looking forward to viewing ur journey.

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