Thanks to Tom's advice, I am hiking SOBO from Iron Mountain to Beauty Spot Gap. Tomorrow I'll do the remaining section of Beauty Spot Gap down to the Nolichucky River. Although there are a few small hills to climb (including Unika Mountain), the elevation drops over the entire hike which is why going SOBO is ideal for today's hike. Plus, I'm looking forward to my fist SOBO hike. I'm not sure why it took me so long to travel SOBO, but it's all good. At least I haven't jumped ahead on the trail (yet) - still chipping away at it a little at a time as I make my way north towards Mount Katahdin. Being late March, the trees are still without their new leaves which means some normally hidden vistas may reveal themselves. Tom meets me at Uncle Johnny's and I follow him in my vehicle to Beauty Spot Gap - leave my car here - and ride with him to the start of my hike, Iron Mountain Gap.