Appalachian Trail Mile 457.4; Queens Knob Shelter

Sunday, June 4, 2017 (Day 32)

I had a late start. I made my coffee a double, and went on my way.

While collecting from a spring 50 yards east of the trail I heard some rustling. I glanced up in time to see what I believe was a large hawk take off into the sky, prey in talons. It was beautiful.

I was running very low on food and energy. At a gap I spoke to two hikers who were hitching in to town to avoid the coming thunderstorm. “We are really excited about it” they said in regards to the storm. It took me a moment to register their sarcasm. Thunderstorms, though often wet, are in fact exciting.

Since they were heading in to town they offered me food and, as a byproduct: new found motivation. The trail provides.

Just after the gap I passed through beautiful pastures, then over a fence and back to the woods. Going from pasture to forest so abruptly made me realize, that though beautiful, deforestation had to occur. I thought of the impact of the dairy and meat industries on our forests.

Hearing about the storm made me consider my camping options for the night. There was a shelter roughly 20 miles from where I last slept.  My guide says the following about said shelter: “Pass by the decrepit Queens Knob Shelter, which is not maintained as a proper Appalachian Trail Shelter. The lean-to should only be used in case of emergency, and even then it would be best to push on to Abingdon Gap Shelter to the North.”

I was intrigued.

At around 5 pm it began raining, then let up again. At around a quarter to eight I arrived at the shelter. It was small and vacant. It looked fine to me. There was just enough room for one. Two, if you didn’t mind getting a cozy. A little shelter in the woods to myself in a rainstorm sounded just fine to me. Though there was still daylight to be had, I decided to call it a night.


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