Day Nine - Coffee, Pineapple, and Soda

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Blue Mountain Shelter (MM 50.1) - Tray Mountain Shelter (MM 58.2)

NOTE: We are currently hiking through the homelands of the ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ (Tsalaguwetiyi/Cherokee) people. While some remained, most of the ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ were forcibly removed from these lands by white settlers, beginning with the Spanish in 1539 and culminating in 1850 with the United States' program of ethnic cleansing called the Trail of Tears. ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ people continue to live here and are actively working on reclaiming sacred sites and stolen land. You can learn more about the ᏣᎳᎩᏱ ᏕᏣᏓᏂᎸᎩ / Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians by visiting:

It was cold last night. Blisters stayed warm, his bag rated for slightly lower temperatures. Trek woke up at one point to fetch the trash compactor bag he uses as a backpack liner and placed it over the bottom/foot box of his sleeping bag. It worked and kept him toasty the rest of the night.

We left Blue Mountain Shelter at about 11:15 AM and ran into Ronen, who we met last night when we reached camp. After a couple of miles of chatting and hiking together, we arrived at Unicoi Gap. We noticed a tent set up with "Christian Motorcyclists Association" across the front, and as we walked by it, we were greeted and invited over by an elder called George. He offered us a cup of hot coffee and some chocolate and told us some stories of his days serving in the US Navy and his career with NASA. Breaky was already there, having received some of this trail magic. Ronen hiked on, but before Blisters and Trek left, George asked if he could pray for us. We said sure, and he offered a heartfelt prayer for our safety on the trail.

Breaky joined us as we hiked out of Unicoi Gap. We passed Ronen and stopped together to get water from a lovely cascading creek. While walking, we met Jennifer along the way, and the four of us hiked together for some of the day.

After summiting Rocky Mountain, we hiked down into Indian Gap around 3:20 PM, where we met Catfish, Ragnar, Rambo, and Xena, offering trail magic! It was a hearty feast which included sausages and pineapple, and it helped us all get up to Tray Mountain Gap, where we ran into yet more trail magic offered by Tickle Me Elmo. A soda and bag of Cheetos later, we were on our way.

We got to Tray Mountain Shelter at around 5:15 PM to find many of our trail friends were here as well. We set up in the shelter, had dinner, and explored the site. We went to bed just as the wind began to pick up.