Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 3 (24 miles)
The southbound thru-hikers that were staying in the same shelter woke up and started packing up at 5.30am. Way too early for me. I like mornings, but not 2hrs before sunrise.
Eventually, I gave in and started packing up with them. It was very hot, and I was sweating. Quite the change from the 2ft of snow last week.
At around 10 am, I walked upon a family of AT Thru Hikers, with the youngest at nine. Nine! A remarkable achievement. I walked with Lori (@livingourhappylife), their mother, and heard all about the family adventure. Great people, great spirit. I wish them all the best for their final few days on trail.
Eventually I had to leave them as I wanted to make some miles and get to Hiawassee and get more food before the shops close.
I pushed on hard and really started to feel tired on one climb. Damn, the hills are not big, but they are steep. As I was eating, the weather broke. One minute it was a hot breeze and the next it was cool with clouds coming in behind. I thought that heavy rain predicted for late tonight/tomorrow might be coming early?
I got to the road at 2.30 and got a hitch with the first car. It was 30 minutes before that car showed up, but I’m glad he stopped.
By the time that I eaten and re-supplied, it was already dusk and I would have no hope of hitching back in the dark.
I walked towards the end of town with thumb out. It was not looking promising, but I got a lift about 10 minutes before I would have to give up.
Halfway up the mountain, the clouds opened up. I put on my poncho and began walking in the dark. My plan had been to walk in a mile or so and make camp but I ended up going an extra 3 miles to a shelter instead.
The rain made the wooden logs used to form the trail very slippery. So I had a bruise and a slightly stiff knee to show for the nights endeavour.
I did see a skunk though! Another animal ticked off my list.
I was surprised to see a guy at the shelter. I’ve forgotten his name but he’s hiked the AT 10 times. He was a nice guy and we talked for a while.