May 1 - Overmountain Shelter (382.9)

Today was hard, as Roan Mountain proved to be a difficult climb, and despite preparing for it, found myself stopping - a lot. The trail was wet and muddy, walking through dense pine and as I got higher the fog rolled in. Like parts of yesterday, with the pines blocking any view out or up,  the only thing I know for sure was I was on the AT.

At the top, there's a parking lot and not much else. Dig in pocket for my guide (several pages inside a plastic bag) and it's gone. Must of dropped it and a few minutes later JetCat walks up with it. Thank you!

Continue on to Roan High Knob Shelter, the highest on the AT, but it's a disappointment. Two stories, with a door that closes, both positives, but some one (again) left their trash in the shelter and it stinks. The shelter is surrounded by trees, so no views. Eat a light lunch, and decide to continue on.

Trail down is basically a stream for the first half hour, and then just rocks. Make progress but slow. Cross road and enter base of Round Bald. Trail really well maintained, but this is a casual hiker area. Make it to top, another wide grassy area, and feeling a bit beat up by Roan slip off the pack, shoes, and socks and watch the swallows and hawks.

Get back on Trail, up a rocky narrow path to Jane Bald and then Grassy Ridge Bald before beginning descent toward Stan Murray shelter.  I'm beat and just want to find a place to call it a day.

Arrive at shelter and Mozey from Rhode Island is there, and dump my pack saying "I'm beat and I'm staying." Then three more hikers show up, they're all going to the next shelter (my original destination, a renovated barn, but 2 more miles away!). I relent, grab my pack and follow two, from Switzerland, there.

It's a red barn in a field overlooking a valley, renovated in 1983 and two stories tall. The sun should come up over the opposite hills, and we are able to set up our sleeping bags to an open-air view of the whole scene.


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