When the sun finally comes out after a number of consecutive rainy days it’s an amazing thing. The moisture was still clinging to the air and the trees were dripping, but the sun finally came out!
I’d been hearing for days that Roan Mtn was some of the best, prettiest hiking on the AT. I’d hiked a couple of shorter days hoping to get nicer weather for this supposedly awesome portion of the trail. Roan Mtn is also the tallest mountain between here and the White Mountains in NH.
Cee Cee at the hostel the night before had said, “you’ll moan and you’ll groan, going up Roan.” She was right. The trail going up Roan was long and was in the process of being redirected to add more switchbacks.
When we were about half mile from the summit, we ran into a group of three or four people that were surveying the trail and they gave us some bad news, the section between us and the summit had an additional 0.4 miles due to the redirects… Instead of 0.5 miles to go, we had 0.9 to go. The new trail was nice, but they hadn’t figured out the drainage for it yet. It was very wet and muddy going.
We got to the summit and there was a parking lot and an ok view… Not at all what I’d expected based on trail rumor. I ate my lunch there and pushed on.
I came down from the summit, hiking through the alpine hemlock forest, and just zipping along when I came around the corner to another parking lot that was chock full of cars. I looked up at the trail ahead, this was clearly what everyone was talking about. The trail stretched on and on over beautiful grassy Balds.
The trail rumors turned out to be true! It’s been phenomenal hiking for the last two days.
Eventually we descended from the final bald and into the woods. Not long after, I came to the sign indicating that I was done with hiking North Carolina. It definitely ended on a very positive note!