What a beautiful morning! I packed my day-pack and headed out to Carver's Gap on the North Carolina/Tennessee border to hike all the peaks in the Roan Range above 6,000 feet. There are three of them: Grassy Ridge Bald which I hiked a few weeks ago, Roan High Knob on which is the highest shelter on the Appalachian Trail, and Roan High Bluff which I have never been to.
It was a pleasant drive into North Carolina through Allen Gap and up Franklin Mountain Road, through the Shelton Laurel area, and back into Tennessee at Devil Fork Gap. Then I drove through Erwin to the town of Roan Mountain and up, up, up to Carver's Gap. I parked along the road at Carver's Gap. I arrived early enough that the trail was not too crowded as I followed the Appalachian Trail south into the spruce forest.
The hiking was extremely pleasant. The trail was not too steep and the air was nice and cool. I made good time as I climbed to the spur trail that led to Roan High Knob Shelter and the summit of Roan High Knob itself. The last time I was up there was during my AT thru-hike in 2000. A dog barked at me as I approached the shelter, an old firewarden's cabin.
On the AT I headed south towards Roan High Bluff. I passed the remains of an old chimney
Eventually I made my up to an overlook at Roan High Bluff. There were sheer cliffs below the overlook.
The hike to Carver's Gap went pretty quickly. I was surprised to learn that the Cloudland Trail is a designated ski trail, probably the only XC-ski trail in North Carolina.
The hiking back to the gap went fairly quickly. I did, however, stop several times to admire the wonderful views and take some photos.