Day 30 – Roan High Knob Shelter to Campsite near US19E

15.5 miles, 42,036 steps, 245 stories climbed

401.8 miles, 1,096,892 steps, 10,870 stories climbed
An exciting day today.  I’ve crossed the 400 miles mark and now have less than 1800 miles left to go. On top of that, for the past few weeks I have been crossing the border between North Carolina and Tennessee on an almost daily basis. 
The border between the two states is the ridgeline of the various mountain ranges and for the most part that is also what the trail follows, so quite often the trail represents the border.  Today, however, I have crossed into Tennessee for the last time and have said goodbye to North Carolina.  2 states down and 12 to go.
  
It’s a bit weird having spent so much time in North Carolina a where both my brother and his family as well as one of my closest friends and his family live yet not being able to see either of them because the both live on the other side of the state pretty far away.  Oh well, I’ll be back…and next time with a van 😉.
Again, I find myself alone for the night.  I started the day a little early, heading out a little before Stretch and Not Yet.  The pace started very slow today.  On the way down the Roan Mountain, there was a ton of very thick ice which made for very slow hiking for a while.
  
After getting past the ice and out of the beautiful evergreen forest I started the climb up towards the balds where I ran into Axon and Shruggs.  They always manage to start super early.  We stopped and spoke for a bit and then hiked on…and then stopped to take pictures of a beautiful view of the valley and then hike on only to stop a few minutes later for another beautiful view.  This was how the day went for a while.
   

 

Eventually I broke away but after about 2.5 miles of hiking on the day there was just too beautiful a spot. I took some pics and started to hike on but decided the spot was too good and headed back to it.  I waited there for Axon, Shruggs, Not Yet and Stretch so we could all get a picture together.
In the end it took about 2 hours to do the first 2.5 miles, which is really slow.  Not Yet and I headed on while Stretch stayed back to walk with Axon and Shruggs.
We started making up some of the time and a large group of us ended up stopping for lunch together at the Overmountain Shelter, which is an old barn that had been converted into a shelter.  We didn’t actually head to the shelter since it was a whole 0.3 miles of trail but we all stopped by the entrance to the side trail. 
I left a bit before the group and didn’t see anyone the rest of the day.  Many of them were talking about staying at the campsite right by the border crossing but I got there a little after 2pm and felt like hiking a bit further.
A little over 2 miles away I came across a campsite not listed in AWOL’s guide that is actually pretty nice.  The campsite is rather large with a stream and is surrounded by cliffs on all sides except the entrance to keep the wind down.  It even has a little cave for anyone willing to make the little climb.  It seems like everyone stayed at the border though because I have the campsite to myself.  Oh well.
I can’t believe it’s April already. I’ve been out here almost a month already.  It feels like I just started climbing Amicalola Falls a few days ago!

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