10-20-09 day 140
start: Greasy Creek Friendly Hostel, TN/NC
end: Curly Maple Gap Shelter, TN/NC
daily mileage: 20.1
total mileage: 1834.2
To be fair, Connie (the owner of the Greasy Creek Friendly) had warned us that she has a psycho neighbor named Bill. Bill once lived all alone way out here, and apparently hates the fact that Connie has moved onto "his" mountain. He especially hates the fact that she then opened up a hostel, and invites dozens of hikers to spend the night near his once-so-solitary abode. So he's taken upon himself an unhealthy mission - to drive Connie out of business by scaring away all the hikers.
To this end, he acts like a total psychopath. We were awoken this morning to the sound of Bill driving his riding lawnmower all around the perimeter of her property with the muffler off and the hood up (to maximize the amount of noise the engine makes) at the hour of 5:30 AM - apparently a daily occurance. Sea Monster may have noted yesterday that he was playing loud music out of giant speakers on his lawn as we hiked in last evening - sure enough, that remained on and blairing all night long. Connie says that he's almost deaf himself, and so isn't bothered by it. He (illegally) takes down her signs advertising the hostel, and even has the gall to put up his own signs about her hostel - she showed us one that read "Greasy Creek Hostel Closed due to Disease." (!!!) Evidently, there are no noise ordinances way out here so the music and lawnmower are perfectly legal, and as she's never taped him in the act of removing her signs or posting his own, she cannot prosecute. Indeed, when we left she gave us a new sign to post at the gap where the AT crosses in the event that he had removed her old one (she replaces them constantly). Though he hadn't removed it that past night, we left with the firm impression that he was a complete nutcase.
Sea Monster shaved off his mohawk with her clippers in the morning before we left (it was getting "out of control," in his words) and we hiked out. We met up with Icarus, Buffalo, and Root Beer Float in a field throwing rocks at an apple tree trying to get apples out of it. We joined them for 45 minutes or so and had a veritable feast of tasty wild apples. We were all headed to the same place, so we hiked with them until we finally broke up after lunch. We all met up again that afternoon at a place called the "Beauty Spot." It was absolutely gorgeous... a ridge that overlooks a huge valley and is bordered by mountains in all directions. They're all turning beautiful autumn colors, and it was truly beautiful. We met some people who had just come up for the day, and they shared some beer with us (woo hoo!) though Sea Monster lagged behind and missed out. We then hiked the 7 miles to the shelter and built a nice fire to round out the day. Only 4 miles to Erwin!