April 7, 2000

Roan High Knob Shelter, TN 15 Miles Hiked Today 370 of 2167 Miles Hiked Total

Imagine the Luxurious Cloudland HotelWith apologies to readers who dislike profanity, Roan Mountain is a mother-fucking ball-breaking bitch. In non-hiker vernacular, let me try to describe it. Imagine you are going to a sporting event. First, you park your car 12 miles from the stadium. in the 12-mile walk you go up and down several bridges. Now after 12 miles imagine you start climbing up the ramp to your seat's section. Up and up you go, alternating between ramps and steps, for 3 miles! By the way, its 80 degrees, there's little to no shade, the concrete is broken and jumbled and you carrying a 40 pound cooler. Now imagine that you get to your row but can't eat and drink everything in the cooler and there's no beer guy and now hot dog guy. But, when you turn around, you realize the game is being played just for you and you have the best seat! You get a little choked up and a tear comes to your eye and you smile because you realize you are a baaad man and you just kicked some ass. And then you thank God for the ticket.

Tonight's shelter is pretty cool. It is an old fire warden's cabin with two floors. It could sleep 25 or 30 if need be, but so far, its 7:15, I'm the only one here. It is supposed to be the coldest of the mountains and the shelter is the highest on the AT. Tonight's/tomorrow's weather, thanks to a gentleman out for exercise, calls for thunderstorms throughout late night and dropping temps tomorrow if it is in the 20s as predicted. Roan mountain also used to be the site of Cloudland Hotel, 1/2 of which was in TN, the other 1/2 in NC. A line went down the middle to show which was which since alcohol was only allowed to be drunk in Tennessee. The sheriff from NC used to sit and wait for people to cross the line, apparently. The hotel was demolished by loggers in 1915 when they harvested fir and spruce.

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