Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 25 (21 miles)
The rain started early this morning. It was heavy and sounded like bombs on the roof of the shelter, but had moved on by the time I got up at 7am.
I got going to blue sky and a subtle orange sunset over Watauga Dam. I was continuing along the ridge that parallels the dam and it let me get a sneak peek into the valley for some great views.
4 miles in I got to my first water source. I ran out last night and the shelter’s water was dry. It took me a few minutes to find this spring as it was so slow, and then a long time to scoop it out ounce by ounce with a ziplock bag. I desperately wanted the water though, and there is nothing like thirst to make me appreciate the taste of “raw” water.
I got to to Low Gap and hitched into Shady Valley. I had 2 subs for lunch at the only restaurant and only a open in town. And then started discussing hiking with Jess from Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. I was a bit nervous about this but it turned out to be fun reminiscing about past adventures.
Jess drove me back to trail and got a few shots before she left to drive home.
I continued on and the good weather turned in an instant. One minute it was cloudy but nice, the next raining about as hard as it can rain. At the same time, the temperature started to drop. Great!
This shelter was tiny and could only squeeze 2 people in. Better yet, the wind was blowing the rain straight in and soaking everything. I hung my tarp over the entrance to solve this problem.
It was still reasonably early in the day and had time to think as I listened to a couple of albums. I’m now 20% through this trail! At this rate I’ll be finishing early / mid March (a bit on the early side of an extreme winter), but instead I might try to use this hike to visit the east coast. Walk hard, but take time off to see the towns and cities along the way. Maybe visit the museums in DC, see New York, go skiing for a weekend, visit friends, etc… Basically, it an opportunity presents itself I will take it.