Day 31 – Ash Gap to Doll Flats

I might have had the best night of sleep on the trail last night yet. Definitely top 3. Part of it was certainly the fact that I’d had only 5-6 hits the night before (would totally do the home zero again – worth the short night!) but maybe more of it is I decided to bring the hammock pillow I picked up a while back. So far it always got cut from the packing list. But I threw it in for this segment and now I’m not sure I’ll camp again without it.

This morning big was a super lazy one in camp. I was t in a big hurry since I had planned for only a 15 mile day AND it was really cold so I kept thinking it would warm up a little the more the sun came up. I cooked and ate breakfast sitting in my hammock (something I should do more of…quite comfy!) wrapped in my quilt. I eventually ran out of things to pack up in the hammock, so got dressed for hiking and packed the rest of the way up. I left camp after 9. The latest yet for sure. I also donned a setup I’d not warn since Georgia – base, mid and outer layers. I was comfortable but needed the heat from the climb to get feeling into my fingers.

The first couple miles was a climb to the highest shelter on the AT – the Roan Mountain Shelter. A few THs I was yo-yoing with yesterday stayed there and they were coming out as I passed, reporting a super cold and windy night. The next couple of miles was a descent to Carver gap…where everything changed!

The climb out of Carver gap was a bald. Most of the rest of the day was balds or fields. It was by far the most exposed I’d been on the trail so far. Glad I replaced the sunglasses I broke when I was home for my zero – I wore them pretty much the whole day.

I stopped for lunch a little after noon on Jane Bald. I took the opportunity to change costumes, dropping my thermal tights (have to change quick on balds!). I stopped a half mile later to drop the fleece. It was a no win clothing day. You could either be hot or cold. I chose a little cold.

The rest of the day was spent traipsing across open fields with views for miles, mostly in some pretty strong winds but bright sunshine. The sun hoodie was put to good use today.

I made camp a little after 5 and lounged a bit it my hammock. I got up and cooked dinner with the only other hiker in camp (Milk – out for a weekend but did his TH last year) around 6. We talked through dinner and hung our bear bags. About that time camp got a lot more full with a few hikers I’d met a few days ago (Spaceball, Padfoot and Jazz) and the one I’d played cornhole with at Uncle Johnnys a few days back.

As I was writing this Padfoot and Jazz were feeding a mouse in the site next door…when an owl swooped down and took it!!

Tomorrow will be a day of milestones. I will cross 400 miles. And I might cross off North Carolina from my AT trail list…I say might since I might have done it today. There was a sign. But the maps say tomorrow so 🤷‍♂️.






2 responses to “Day 31 – Ash Gap to Doll Flats”

  1. Joshua Mitchell Avatar
    Joshua Mitchell

    What is this three letter word “sun” you write?

    That pillow is on my list – I’m positive it’s a game changer

    1. Chris Avatar

      Sorry about the weather you had. If it’s any consolation, it’s 20 degrees colder.

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