There are trade offs with sleeping on a bald, or in this case a large open area-the wind whips like crazy! I woke up at 3:30 to the sides of my rainfly slapping against the sides of my tent. I put my glasses on, got my headlamp and went out to access the problem-I see a headlamp over in Rennisance's direction, seems he was having the same problem. The stars were amazing, they were so bright andprominent. Once I crawled back in I couldn't fall back asleep, I was wired. I tried to fall asleep, would toss and turn, and then I realized I wasn't going to fall back asleep. Around 5:45 I decided to make some mate tea so I could enjoy that during the sunrise. I lit my jetboil in my tent and started to boil the water, and then I heard the gas sound like it was turned up, it hissed and I looked over-the flame was engulfing the burner and coming out the sides. It was on fire. I tried to turn it off, I tried to open my tent, I went back to try and turn off-I didn't know which to do first but I didn't want to burn my home down. Finally I got the gass off, but the flame was still burning, I opened my tent door and put it outside blowing out the remaining flame. Well that is one way to start the morning...I think the burner is stripped-but my tea water wasn't boiled. I carefully screwed it back on and lit the stove again-this time was a success. The sunrise was beautiful, I am so happy I was able to see one especially from where I was staying. Since I was up so early I was ready to head out by my normal wake up time. I started my day with a big hike up out away from the barn. My right shin/ankle was talking to me. And then I got to the first bald...all I have to say is thank god I was alone for these next miles. My shin was hurting, the wind was blowing so hard that at times I thought I was going to fall over-I stood sideways slammed my poles into the ground and took it. I surrender I said. I would come to the top of the bald and notice it just kept going. I would walk sideways to keep moving and not fall over. Is that all you've got I asked?! Again I would get to the top and see more balds, this was like 50 balds in one. Damn. The views were gorgeous but I was hurting and being pushed around-literally. This was my living hell day, if this is hell you should see my heaven! I almost went insane during this period of time, I was singing songs out loud and changing lyrics to match the balds or North Carolina in general (and not in a happy way) in Ron Burgundy's voice "fuck you, North Carolina, fuck you." She sure goes out with a bang, oh don't forget NC let's make you walk over Roan Mountain, two balds, and then three in a row before you leave. I got back in the woods where I thought it would be better but unfortunately it was a bunch of rocks and my top part of my ankle was killing. I sat on a rock and ate the tube of buffalo wing pretzels-they were delightful and then I shoved some peanut M&Ms in as well. It was the first rough day I've had in awhile...I came down the hill and saw the leaving NC sign-instant smile, which after the photo seemed to fade quickly. I was hating the world, every step hurt. The pain was nauseating. When I have a tough day I usually put my headphones in and jam it out-the iPod was dead...the tears started to roll. The road was coming up and there was word of a hostel...it may be smart of me to stay. It was only 1pm and we had already done 9 miles...I talked with Dexter and ManBear and told them my situation and how I was going to stay at the hostel. I called up Mountain Harbour to inquire about being picked up to stay, they said they were just around the bend walking distance-I didn't want to walk another step. I hobbled down to the red barn house and remembered Alpine saying they had an amazing breakfast-I guess everything happens for a reason. I paid for a tent site, the breakfast, and a complimentary ride into town from 5-6:30 for dinner and re supply. There is a big half wrap-around porch with rocking chairs, a swing, and a hammock...I sat on the swing and massaged my leg. Shannon one of the employees came out with cinnabons to bring to the hostel...don't mind if I do! I sat and looked at the pages from my AWOL book to see when I should be expected back in Damascus, then I talked to my mom on the phone for a bit. After gathering my laundry, I sat and wrote a bit and listened to Appalachian Rain. After resting and regrouping I went and set up my tent and got ready to go into town. We got shuttled in and went to a BBQ place where I got a pulled pork sandwich and sweet potato fries. My food bag toddler was down to a premie size so I hit up the redimart and picked up the go-to pasta sides, ramen, pepperoni, fast break (so excited for this, haven't had one since working at SW arena!) two bananas, and my long awaited avocado! Back at the house (it's a bed and breakfast as well as a hiker hostel) I sat on the porch until bedtime.
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