Hot Springs, NC ( 1,336 feet) mile 274.9 to Allen Gap (2,226 feet) mile 289.7 for a 14.8 mile day. We ascended 4,467 feet and descended 3,725 feet.
For the first 6 miles, Kelly and I hike with Pickles. Pickles is a Golden doodle that Kelly and her husband James have, and she is an awesome dog and is a great off leash hiking companion. Pickles will walk in between the two people walking, she may slow some here or there but then she runs to catch up as to not slow the person in the back down.
Just outside of Hot Springs, NC is Lovers Leap Rock, a great place to see the town of Hot Springs as a whole.
We hiked the six miles with Pickles and then met James, Kelly’s husband, at Mill Ridge Road to drop off Pickles.
We crossed Tanyard Gap (2,259 feet) and started the climb of tree limbs cut into two and a half foot length pieces laid on their side, to form stairs. It’s super cool out here the way a vast majority of the things that create the trail are from the land.
We finally finished this climb and came to Rich Mountain Fire Tower.
Kelly hurried to the top of the tower to get a nice spot to enjoy views and lunch, but instead found a man asleep, at 1:30, in a sleeping bag. We later talked to someone who saw him move so we know he was alive! It just didn’t seem right so we walked up the trail a ways to a campsite and found a nice log to sit on for lunch!
One of the things I was looking forward to during this hike, was the chasing of spring. From dormant trees at higher elevation and walking down in elevation and seeing trees budding and greening out to flowers starting to bloom all around. One beautiful flower I have started seeing is the Lady Slippers Orchid.
Tomorrow we have a long day, we are going into the 20’s for the first time, our plan is to hike 21.4 miles!!