Thursday, June 1, 2017 (Day 29)
Shortly after beginning my hike I passed Yellow Mountain Gap, the junction of the Appalachian Trail and historic Bright’s Trace route used by the “Overmountain Men” to cross the mountains enroute to the Revolutionary War Battle at King’s Mountain, NC. A nearby barn had been restored for use as a hiker shelter. I was curious and decided to take a look.
As I continued on, I found it difficult to move quickly. The views were paralyzing.
The trail then passed a cemetary. The tombs were carpeted with recently mowed grass enclosed by a wire fence. A tree with brown needles stood at its center. I stared. I turned my neck to keep looking as I continued on the trail. To my surprise the trail turned towards it, hugging it from behind. It did not feel right to take a picture. Instead I studied it and contemplated the concept of cemetaries. The backside of a small, purple-shawled statue of jesus, hands raised above two rectangular headstones inscribed “Mom” and “Dad” capturing my gaze as I passed. Many were decorated with brightly hued artificial flowers. There were upwards of 100 tombs. Then I passeed a small Baptist church at the end of a road and reentered the woods.
As the sun began to set, I followed the trail along the Elk River.
I found my home for the night beside a stream that fed in to the river below. The flow from the stream was too strong to harbor mosquitos, instead moths and spiders were my bedfellows. They did not bother me much. I watched sleepily as a moth extended it’s tubular tongue and drank the condensation from the outside of my nalgene.