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What a terrible night. I was woken up around 2 am to the rain slapping the top of my tent and the sides flapping like machine guns. The wind had picked up quite a bit in the few hours I was sleeping and so did the rain. I can see flashes of lightning in the distance and this worries me a bit because we are on a mountain top. The wind is so bad that it’s unstaking my tarp which grabs more wind and flaps louder and let’s in the rain. I literally have to hold up my trekking pole to keep the tarp from just totally collapsing on me in the middle of this. I do this for a while until a small break in the storm. I jumped out and restaked my tent as quickly as I could and hopefully this holds up. I stare at my tent walls for the next few hours. There’s nothing else to do. My tarp has basically collapse on me at this point, laying directly on top of me like a blanket. At least I’m not that cold. Everything is wet though and I’m just waiting until it gets a little lighter so that I can get up, pack up, and start walking.
Finally 6:30 rolls around. The rain has finally stopped, the wind dies down, and I haven’t slept since 2 am. I pack up and get the hell out of there. The rest of the day is intermittent rain and fog and wind. The weather has not been kind to us.
The original plan was to do 13 miles into Roan Mountain, resupply and get out. But after last nights debacle and lack of sleep we decide to stay in town over night. Except every other hiker in a 20 mile radius has the same idea. I called every single hostel, hotel, and b&b to find a place but everything was booked. Ended up with a tiny home Airbnb that was about 3x overpriced but at least we found something.
Combing into road 19E which is the entrance to Roan Mountain, there was some fantastic trail magic. A family was cooking burgers, hotdogs, with fresh fruit, chips, hummus, candy, sodas, and even a cooler of beer and wild turkey 101. Couldn’t have been happier. The best trail magic is when you least expect it. We stayed here eating and talking for about an hour. Our Airbnb is way across town so we decide to start hitching.
I know I keep saying this but the people of the south are the absolute kindest people I’ve ever met. A couple by the name of Shannon and Wes picked us up and we hopped in the bed of their truck. Shannon was talking to us through the back window the whole time. They knew exactly where we were staying when we described it to them because they rolled hay for them and this is a small town and everyone knows each other. They dropped us up and gave us their numbers in case we needed anything else.
We take care of hiker chores, and by the time they are finished we are hungry again. The hunger never actually stops it just gets less noticeable. We walk into town and decide to have dinner at a place called Bob’s Dairyland. We order a couple platters of smoked pork and chicken and eat until our hearts content. Meanwhile the weather outside is going nuts. A tornado warning has been issued and it’s literally sunny out while pissing rain and somehow also hailing all at the same time. I really have no idea what’s going on here except I know I’m so glad we aren’t camping tonight.
Our Airbnb hosts are the sweetest as well. They messaged us totally unprompted right as we were finishing dinner and asking if we needed a ride back to the Airbnb because they didn’t want us to have to walk in this weather. Absolute gems. They picked us up, stopped so we could buy some beer and took us right home. Southern hospitality is a real thing. Anyways, we take second showers, enjoy drinks and watch a little tv until it’s time to go to sleep. It’s nice to feel a little normal out here sometimes.