Mentally embracing the rain, we started down the trail, determined to make it the next 6.3 miles to a place called “Hobbs Cabin.” We couldn’t help but hope the cabin (a rustic, first-come, first-serve arrangement) was available.
After about 10 minutes of hiking in the downpour, we realized hiking in the rain on a hot day was quite pleasant. Instead of feeling stinky and sticky with sweat, we felt cool and refreshed and there were no bugs while it was raining.
Tisen, on the other hand, was not so enamored with the feeling of cool rain. He did his best to walk underneath the overhang of our packs to try to avoid being rained on directly. He ended up just as wet as the rest of us, but there must have been something comforting about feeling like he had a roof over his head.
When we got to the first overlook of the “gulf” (apparently that’s what a gulch is called in Tennessee), the rain had taken a break. The sky was overcast and it was hard to tell it was noon. The break in the rain was nice, as was the breeze blowing up from the valley below. But, alas, we were trying to cover 6.3 miles before it got too late in the afternoon, so we couldn’t stop long to enjoy it.
As the trail veered away from the edge of the gulch, we re-entered the woods, and perhaps a time from the past. It was easy to imagine the first settlers finding their way through woods like these when such woods covered much of the Eastern US. Of course, they would have all be old-growth forests back then. But, these woods, mostly free of invasive plants, made me feel like we’d been transported in time. Thankfully, our gear wasn’t transported back to historical equipment–I think we would have needed a wagon.
At long last, we arrived at Hobbs Cabin and were relieved to find it unoccupied. A tiny, dark, uninviting shelter, it was equipped with 6 bunks and a table fastened to the wall. The bunks were wood planks that would require sleeping pads and bags to make comfortable. The small windows on the back wall let in so little light that even with our flashlights, we had trouble seeing inside the cabin. I had a hard time imagining spending the night in there.
I proposed we pitch the tent on the front porch, screening out all insects, putting us where we were sure to get a breeze, and under a great big roof to keep up out of the rain. We hung the rain fly in position just in case we started to get wet, but planned to sleep under just the screen for the night. Tisen was more excited than a child to crawl into the tent with us, even though we decided to call it a night around 7:30PM. It was the earliest we’ve ever gone to bed.