This morning wasn’t as cold. We hiked about 3 miles up to Big Stamp, where there were several bird blinds, nets, and people doing bird catching and releasing for research purposes. We walked across an open field then up to Big Bald at 5500ft – and were rewarded with beautiful 360 degree views! The sun was illuminating the fog in the valley to the east in North Carolina. It’s as close to snow as I’m going to get, I guess. We spent a bit of time at the top enjoying the sun and views. There was a ring of rose petals on the ground around a makeshift tent site that looked only a couple days old – I guess someone got romaric-ed up there!
We spent the next 7 miles lastly descending down to Sam’s Gap at 3300ft, where Ryley and I stopped to wait for our ride into Asheville, TN. We high five Brown and told him we’d be on his tail soon!
Lane (trail name Tiki – a hiker Ryley met on the PCT) picked us up at noon, drove us the 40 min or so into Asheville, and came and had lunch with us at a restaurant we asked him to suggest. Asheville has been lauded as the “Portland of the eastern US” – it has 18 breweries, coffee shops with good coffee, and restaurants that locally source their food. Kind of felt like Victoria, too 🙂
I had a salad for lunch! Hurray! Topped with fried chicken, don’t worry. Ryley had a burger and we both had a local beer. Lane then went back to work so Ryley and I went to have a coffee at Malaprop’s bookstore them wandered around the town a bit. I believe we both voted it best coffee on the trail so far! Yum. Town was fairly small and easy to walk around, and jam a good vibe. Pretty hippy for southeast US, and lots of people watching to be done. We made our way to Vortex Doughnuts around 3pm where doughnuts were 2 for 1. We ordered 6 and turned down the “to go” box, and got another coffee to share. They were really good! We wrote down the kinds below. We Remer up with Lane, grabbed an “after work” beer at Green Man Brewing, then went back to his and his girlfriend (Sarah)’s house to do a load of laundry and shower (hurray).
Lane and Sarah finished showing off their town by taking us to dine at the local hot spot – the roving Thai Truck which parks at a nearby gas station on Thursday nights, and which has a “Brew Pump” beer window serving local beers as well as a seating area to drink them and eat Thai. Awesome. They had us home by 9. We booked some plane tickets (duh-duh-duh) and hit the hay.
Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest (Asheville, TN)
Green man Porter (Asheville, TN)
Dark horse stout (Marshall, MI)
Green Man ESB
Mystery Brewing Papa Boise Summer Stout (Hillsborough, NC)