Day 10 - Benton MacKaye Trail

We woke up to rain and decided to stay in the tent until it stopped.  About 9:15 it sounded finished and we began to pack up, leaving camp about 10 am.  Since we once again had to follow water we had no choice but to hike a 14.4 mile day.  It's really starting to get annoying having to hike a certain way on this trail!  Since we know most water sources aren't even on trail, the map I bought in Blue Ridge has been helpful, but it's still not fail safe.  We hiked out of camp carrying more than 9 liters between the two of us.

 NoKey crossing Coker Creek

NoKey crossing Coker Creek

 

Climbing up and over Unicoi Mountain left us saying goodbye to the John Muir Trail we had been following and took us on an easy climb following old roads to highway 68.  After a short lunch and some foot surgery on both of us, we began walking again on the nicest trail we have seen yet on the BMT!  This part of the trail for several miles is also dirt bike trail, so maintenance was great!  After reaching a forest service road that maintains the power lines, it started to turn into more trail like conditions.  We were supposed to pass a campsite with water and once again never saw it, or any evidence it had been there.  We reached the top and saw an old homesite and a nearly dry spring.  We attempted to get water but it was mostly mud. Thankfully, the other side of the hill had a gorgeous spring and we were right at the source!  We completely filled out bottles and camelbaks and headed down the trail to Tate Gap, our campsite.  

 Looking ahead at our last climb of the day. 

Looking ahead at our last climb of the day. 

 

When we got to the gap, we had read that there was a secluded and sheltered site 0.3 off the old road.  I left my pack with NoKey and went to scout it out.  There was a nearly dried up spring and a HOUSE with garbage everywhere at the supposed site.  I went back to the gap and we made camp right there on the trail.  This is how the BMT works I guess - no water and no camps... Make your own!

 At least we had some pretty mountain laurel blooming! 

At least we had some pretty mountain laurel blooming!