Day 20 – The Green Tunnel

The Appalachian Trail is commonly called the green tunnel due to the dense green vegetation that frequently lines the trail as in the photo. The tunnel effect is especially evident where rhododendron shrubs prevail. Much of today's hike ran thru the green tunnel. Yesterday evening's quiet turned into a blustery night with high winds and periods of rain. But I kept warm and dry in the shelter. I got going later than usual because clouds obscured the morning sun. I spent most of the morning descending to Erwin, TN, particularly Uncle Johnny's Nolichucky Hostel. I called Mom on the phone to wish her a happy Mother's Day. I picked up my food box at Uncle Johnny's and bought alcohol, Snickers bars, Gatorade powder, and an ice cream sandwich. Most of the other hikers were waiting for the free noontime shuttle to an all-you-can-eat pizza joint. I packed up and left with section hiker Slip. We hiked together for a bit then I moved ahead. Four miles from Uncle Johnny's, I ate lunch at Curly Maple Gap shelter with Slip. I continued uphill for another four miles to Indian Grave Gap and a paved highway. Following a break, I headed uphill again past a few rhododendrons and mountain laurel shrubs starting to flower. I'm looking forward to seeing them in full bloom. Four more miles brought me to Beauty Spot Gap, a scenic bald. I camped at the north end of the bald in a sheltered spot. I was pleased that I was able to hike a full day in spite of starting late and taking time to resupply. Apparently, yesterday's long hike didn't do me any harm. Today's miles - 18.9. Total miles - 354.8.

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