4/9 Day 23

We got up early and hiked 2.4 miles to Sam’s Gap where we were happy to see the trail magic wasn’t just a rumor. Two local men and past thru hikers put on a breakfast for current hikers with muffins, orange juice, hash browns and eggs. Paul had completed a NOBO (northbound) trek in 2007 and a SOBO (southbound) trek in 2009, while Coach had completed a NOBO in 2005. They cooked us huge portions and we ate every bite. Our biggest climb of the day was up Big Bald. We climbed up to 5,516 ft for great 360 degree views of the surrounding area. The strenuous, near vertical climb allowed for some hikers to see the hash brown breakfast for the second time. We dipped our swollen feet in a creek near Spivey Gap while we enjoyed a snack with some other hikers. Our last climb of the day was up Ogelsby Branch alongside a waterfall. We made it to No Business Knob Shelter by dinner with tired legs and feet. We hiked 20.7 miles for the day.

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