Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 23 (29 miles)
I got up just before the first rays of light. I’m usually awake before sunrise as the nights are so long, but today I decided to get out of my warm sleeping bag to make up some of the miles I ditched yesterday.
The going was easier with the sun up, but it still took me time to walk around the ice-covered trail as I descended from Roan High Knob.
The predicted clear skies had not eventuated. I slept in the clouds which caused a fair amount of condensation to wet my sleeping bag, and now I was walking through it all morning.
Between the icy trail, high winds, steep and continued climbing and the surprising amount of muddy trail, I made little progress by noon.
I then made my way down from the Roan Mountains. It turns out that this range was in clouds, but everywhere else had little wind and nice blue skies. Go figure!
I spent the rest of the day enjoying the warmth and the bright sun. I also stepped up the pace. I would not be able to hike the 34 miles I hoped, but if I worked hard I could hike 18 miles this afternoon to a shelter.
The time passed quickly as I made my way along a couple of semi-frozen creeks and up over countless passes. Only two things of note happened.
The first was two people acting oddly and quickly getting into their car and driving away as I approached highway 19. I made nothing of it until I saw the signs saying the car park has a high rate of theft. Maybe I inadvertently prevented the one parked car being broken into?
The second was taking a side trip to Jones Falls. It was a sizable waterfall that was only just starting to defrost. It was rather the interesting to see and might have even been climbable a couple of days ago.
I pushed on hard into the night and arrived at the shelter around 8 pm. Unfortunately, the spring servicing the shelter was dry so hopefully, I can fit water early tomorrow.
A fairly successful day considering I made 9 miles by noon.