13M Appalachian Trail Run - North Carolina/Tennessee Border
Sam's Gap to Big Bald Mountain (out and back)
Sunday, August 8, 2021



Training Run 1140 to 1500 - 3H 20M
80 degrees and sunny
many backpackers and day hikers
nabbbed the only parking space left 
on a busy weekend
AT crosses interstate where
Highway 23A crosses under I26
about 80 miles north of Great Smokies

gentle, winding trail made for 
an easy start on a warm afternoon
many Sunday hikers out, so very social

after a two-mile mild climb
the trail opens up to views east
before dropping down to cross
back road at Street Gap

grade remains mild for another 3M
before steepening on final approach
to Big Bald Mountain
lots of undergrowth
and some water
trail is well used and mostly wide

needed to walk some in final mile
Big Bald Mtn at 5516'
opens up to 360-degree vistas
mostly clear this day
with some smoke from western fires
hanging lower amid the hills

slowed for a couple miles to chat
with two brothers from Durham, NC
very enjoyable

negative splits with mostly downhill
on return
no falls, few stumbles
legs good
and feet great in new Hokas