Missing Dragon's Tooth

Wednesday, June 8
4 Pines Hostel (AT Mile 701.8, 26.7)

Out at 7, drank lots of water last night.

Figure I'll work to hit that next shelter 15 miles away. Today's trail goes up and over Cove Mountain, 1,100 feet of elevation. The usual challenges getting up, and at the top there's "Dragon Tooth", a famous bit on the AT, but I feel compelled to keep moving. With 4.2 miles behind me, still feeling pretty good, but it's 10:45 and 10+ miles to go.

The way down is amazingly rocky including handles in rock to get yourself down. Rock climbers would probably scoff at this section as easy, but it's probably the most technically difficult rocks I've dealt with. Get down off mountain successfully, reasonably tired, but still prepared to hike. Just before the road at the base is a sign, "Four Pines Hostel, 1/3 Mile up on the left".

So are they saying go left, or up? Think about it for a minute and realize no one cares if I make that shelter, hike your own hike. So grab bag, guessing "up" is the operative word, and up the road I go to my right looking for hostel on left. That turns out to be right.

Get to hostel, Eddie welcomes me and shows me around. Can sleep on one of the beds (community room, with couches), or up in a barn, or camp any where on the expansive lawn.  Donations accepted but no set fee. Owners gone for a funeral, so he's helping out.

Decide to set up my tent, since main room will likely be noisy at night. Spend afternoon watching chickens and pea fowl, farmers mowing hay, and played a little guitar. Dinner is down at the local market (cheeseburger, no fries, we're out).

Back at hostel, reading materials and a plaque indicate hostel is operated by a couple who's son did the AT, and was in the Rangers, and died. Unclear how, but this hostel is their gift back.

Off to that other shelter tomorrow.


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