Backpacking on the AT from Carvers Gap to Hwy 19E

My second backpacking trip was a complete success with great weather and great views and a great group of backpacker friends, old and new.

These are all taken with my Canon G12.  I really planned on taking my 7D, but with iffy weather and a backpack that was completely stuffed, I didn't want to risk a downpour while hiking with no where to put the camera.

I'm still not great at taking photos when I'm trying to accomplish other things (like hiking up steep hills, setting up camp, chatting with new folks, keeping up with fast hikers, etc) but there are a few to share.  

So here's an attempt to 'document' the trip.  First missed photo opportunity was our group of hikers (8 of us started our hike from Carver's Gap around 4pm and the next 5, a few hours later) waiting out the thunderstorm that arrived the moment we got dropped off by the shuttle service from Mountain Harbour Hostel.  Picture 8 of us huddled in the covered area outside the pit toilet at the trailhead.

Once the storm moved away, we started out.  It didn't take long to see blue skies again.

 

We went over Jane, Round, and Grassy Balds before dropping down into the woods for the rest of the hike to Overmountain Victory Shelter.  I clearly should have turned around to get a better photo, but my group likes to keep moving, so this one was taken while hiking I think.  The forest was filled with these flowers underneath the canopy.

We made it to the Overmountain Victory Shelter and set up our tents in the field next to the large shelter as it became dusk.  

Sights from the next morning.

We spent day 2 taking a few day hikes (Overmountain Victory Trail and a preview of the next day's hike over Little Hump Mtn) and relaxing on a gorgeous day.

Our final day left us with 8 or 9 miles up and over Little Hump and Hump Mountains before a nice ridge walk and then a descent down 4 miles or so back to Highway 19E.   It was gorgeous and perfect.   I started out solo as I'm a little slower than most in our group and also wanted some time to hike solo and not get behind if I decided to stop and take a few photos.  It's a nice climb to the top of Little Hump Mountain, but the short mile or so is filled with views, gorgeous forest, and ends with an open bald.  You can't ask for much  more in a short stretch of hiking. 

The view back down to the Shelter.  The tents are not from our group, but some of the 20+ tents pitched by additional hikers on night two.  There may have been 30 tents in a field, but it was the quietest 'campground' I've ever been in.

My only AT "White Blaze" shot of the trip

Looking back from near the top of Little Hump and then descending the other side. 

And a view that took my breath away (and then the climb literally did it), emerging from the woods to the gap between Little Hump and Hump Mountain.  I could have enjoyed the view for a long time, but I was already at the rear after stopping to shed a few layers.  You can see the group along the ridge in the center of the photo. 

A final shot of the ridge beyond Hump Mountain before we dropped down in the forest for good.