Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 39 (26 miles)
The morning started off nice and sunny, and I got going a little later than I had planned. I wanted to hike a rather long day but I could just walk into the night a little more.
I was also a bit disappointed that my foot, which started hurting last night, had not resolved itself as I slept. It was not overly painful but I did need to be careful not to exasperate it.
I continued along the ridge, jumping across Blue Ridge Parkway road a few times. Do they clear trees along here for lookouts?
After a couple of hours watching the sun rise over the valley, the trail took me down into it. In a very unAT way, I dropped slowly as I followed a ridgeline down.
It was then time to climb! 4000ft (1300m) up over the next couple of hours as I made my way to the summit of Apple Orchard Mountain.
Near the top, I met a guy who was going SOBO. He started in September and has been ploughing through the cold all this time! He seemed in good spirits, but we did not talk for long as it was cold and getting colder.
The fine morning sunshine continued to deteriorate as the day went on. And by this point, it was drizzling, with threats of more.
I finally summited Apple Orchard in a most of clouds and hurriedly continued to get down.
My foot was also starting to give me a bit more grief. I contemplated stopping early at a shelter but decided to continue on. I know I would not make the next shelter but would camp somewhere along the way.
An hour later my foot was really becoming sore. Maybe I should have stopped earlier? I set up my tarp low with the expected storm tonight and settled in.
Well after dark I was woken by a person with a high beam flashlight stopping parallel to me on the trail. He was sweeping the forest with his light. I could not work out what he was up to, but he did not spot my shelter and I did not want to find out. Half an hour later he came back fairly quickly with another person. Any idea what was going on? Hunting?