Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 12 (20 miles)
I woke up at Red Hats house to an offering of scrumptious omelette. I stuffed them down in ernst and then started to pack up and hit the trail. As I was halfway through getting my gear organised I discovered that a few things that I had shipped ahead of myself from Amazon were delayed and would not arrive in time. I spent the next hour organising this. It is definitely the painful side of Thru Hiking.
When we finally got going, Red Hat drove me back to the trail and Standing Bear Farm where @yeayeahhh a hiking mate of mine sent a care package of healthy food for my next leg.
The day was bitterly cold but ever so beautiful. There was a kind of haze in the air that when combined with the sun, created a beautiful layering of the mountains around me. I continued to admire this landscape as I climbed from the highway back into the mountains and back into the trees.
I have to say that today is a perfect representation of landscape of this trail. 95% of the time I was in thick foliage and heavy tree cover with the occasional tree free viewpoint to look over the valley.
Today was an exceptional viewpoint in Max Patch, an extremely lovely bald mountain top. On top of this, I was lucky enough to hit Max Patch at lunch time where I sat down few a few minutes in the biting cold weather as I eat a deliciously yuppy Mountain House while enjoying the rolling hills ahead of me and the large Smokies looming behind me to the south.
The rest of the day was spent trying to cover ground as quickly as possible to make up for my slow start to the day. I actually managed to get my heart rate up and strip down to minimal clothing I was working that hard.
I eventually arrived at the shelter that I wanted to stay the night at just after dark. The last couple of miles I privileged to witness a lovely, colourful sunset to end the day. There were three others there and I was unsure if I wanted to continue on and camp for the night. Their fire and my desire for dinner tipped the balance and I set up camp.
P.S I wish I had pushed on with the constant snoring that I had to hear all night.