Leaving Carter Gap after a night of rain and gusts with a belly full of peanut butter and bagel, it was a steady up and over, and onto Mooney Gap; the bottom of a helluva climb to the summit of Albert Mountain. I’d passed some locals in the area and they’d all warned me of the difficult ascent ahead.
The trail was narrow and rocky, so a speedy ascent was difficult. The final 355′ were easily at 75° on the vertical, and a very slow going rock and boulder scramble to the summit and fire tower.
I met up with a lot of the Carter Gap crew at the summit and also bumped into Piper, whom I first met at Hawk Mountain Shelter during my first night on the trail.
A few obligatory photos and I was off, back down and heading for Rock Gap, 13.9 miles from Carter. Downhill and a small PUD over 5.7 miles, Olive Oyl and I were the first to arrive at Rock Gap Shelter. It was a clear and mild afternoon, so we cooked up an early dinner and chilled. In groups of two and three, the others from Carter Gap — Road Runner, Mountain Goat, Goober, Mellow Johnny, Han Solo, Blue Bonnet, Yank, Peanut, and C B Dubs — we were in pretty high spirits.
Han volunteered to hitch into Franklin to pick up some beers and boxes wine. Our spirits were lifted even higher when he returned with the goods.
Piper and I fixed a camp fire, and it wasn’t too long until we were huddled around the warmth.
I decided to sleep in the shelter as pitching my hammock was becoming a pain, so I inflated my sleeping pad (which is brought in case of a hammock failure) and I climbed into my quilt around 9:00pm.
I awoke to heavy rain and couldn’t get back to sleep; from about 2:15am through 7:00am I was in and out — mostly out — of sleep; literally the worst night of sleep ever.