Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 24 (21 miles)
I woke up with a start to rain hitting me in the face. I was confused as I was in a shelter but quickly realised that the wind had changed direction.
I got up, threw my sleeping bag against the back wall, and started to set up my tarp to block the entrance. I looked at my watch as I started and realised that it was only an hour before dawn. I abandoned the tarp and packed up instead.
I got hiking just before 6 am. The rain was light but the wind was strong at 50mi/hr (80km/hr). Getting started early probably helped me out anyway as I needed to get into Hampton to resupply.
The morning walk was quite boring and nothing of note happened. I spent a couple of hours walking down to a road and then the next three hours walking up and over a small Mountain to arrive at Watauga Dam.
I hitched into town and got some bacon and 4 eggs. That did not fill me up so I headed across to subway for a footlong sub as dessert.
I waited for an extra half an hour at Subway to charge my phone, resupplied at the Dollar General, and then went to the post office to collect my replacement shelter. I chose to get my MLD Patrol Tarp sent and still use the shelters most nights. (Thanks @colahikes for mailing it ASAP!) I got a hitch within a minute back out to the dam. It was 9 miles to the shelter and I should get there about dusk. An early night!
The contrasts between each side of the ridge were immense. On one side was the dam; it had heavy clouds, high winds and a little rain. The other side was normal forest, blue skies and a lovely setting sun.
The dam did remind me of a Scottish Lock with some cloud laden Highlands behind it. Rather beautiful in a harsh kind of way, but it did bring back some memories of past adventures.
I got to the shelter to find it right on the ridgeline. Luckily for me, it was facing in the right direction away from the wind. Hopefully it does not switch directions like last night!