Random Campsite: 1768.6
The Green House: 1786.5
Total miles: 17.9
It rained a bit over the night, but not for a long time or heavily. We wanted to get an earlier start to try again to catch Jill and Joe but it was tough to get moving after a late night. We were hiking by 9 and to the top of Smarts by 10:10. Tyler ran into the tentsites looking for Jill and Joe, which were all vacated, as was the shelter. We didn't know what had happened with communication since we had solid reception at the top of the mountains at least. Still, while we were at the summit, we wanted to check out the fire tower. We could see far off into the upcoming mountains. It was exciting and intimidating for sure.
After we came down off the fire tower, Duck Fart arrived, looking crazy eyed and sweaty after his full ascent up the mountain. We continued on down the mountain and eventually met up with Ben. Ben asked for us (Yeti and Huggables) by name though we weren't sure who he was. Our friend Rachel, MIT comrade and thru hiker from 2011, was visiting her sister Debra in Hanover and wanted to provide some moral support and trail magic. Ben is Debra's husband and envoy to the others. Five or so minutes down the trail we met up with Debra, Rachel, and a sleeping Sam (Rachel's toddler). Rachel informed us that she had seen Jill and Joe and they were three or so miles ahead of us, so we were happy to hear that they were indeed alive. We chatted with Rachel about her own hike, things back in Cambridge, MA, and ate clemintines, pretzel bites, sticky buns and drank partly frozen Gatorade (one of which we packed out and drank delicious chilled Gatorade essence water all day). Sadly, in the interest of miles and catching the sister we didn't chat too long but hopefully Rachel knows how much the meet up meant to us, Duck Fart, and Patch (and all the other hikers like Scribbles, Chip, and J Boogie). Thanks!
We grabbed water before the climb up Cube Mt. where we planned on eating lunch. There was a fantastic view from the top of Cube, and we also got a taste for some of the colder temperatures we would be encountering soon. We got a chance to chat with Scribbles, Chip, and J Boogie a bit more too, and we're looking forward to seeing them at the restaurant at the end of the day. We pressed on.
*Scribbles (in blue), LL Cool J (behind Scribbles) and Chip
There were views upon views as we climbed up granite faces and even more peeking out through the sparse trees. We started moving fairly fast. We also decided not to run into Hexacuba shelter to check for Jill and Joe since we figured they probably hadn't stopped or left a note. A few miles later, after crossing 25A, we encountered a strange shelter that belonged to a guy named Omelette Man, a well known trail angel who makes incredible omelettes for hikers during the week. Of course, he wasn't there now as it was nearly five, but there was some water and bananas which we enjoyed. We also found a note from Jill saying that they were sorry they hadn't been able to hike with us, which was our first nearly direct communication. We still hurried up the trail hoping we would catch them at their car at least.
*View on Cube
When we hit 25C at 6:15, though, they were already gone. Guess we need to be more fleet footed next time and have better plans.
*Thank you Rachel
We walked the quarter of a mile down to the Green House, our dinner for the evening and, turns out, our home for the evening too. The place is run by Gary and Cheryl who recently moved to the new location with a ton of help from the local community who provided everything from flooring, to work, to funds to do the moving in the first place. They were also super nice to us hikers, well, nice also came with a fair amount of jabs to make fun of us for being stinky crazy hikers. We even played some pool on the table Gary built and Gary, the okayest pool player around, showed us some pool tricks.
At bar close time near 9, we headed out back with Chip, Scribbles, and J Boogie to set up our shanty town. We made sure to hang a bear line since we were warned that a bear know as Bad Larry liked to frequent the dumpster. Though we were disappointed we never caught Jill and Joe, we ended up having a relaxing and fun night before our return to 4000 foot mountains since Roan Mountain, Tennessee. Hope we're ready!