Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 9 (21 miles)
Christmas Day! Better yet, a white Christmas.
I woke up at Derrick’s Knob Shelter. It was cold at around 15F (-10C) and I did not particularly want to get out of my (ever so) warm sleeping bag. After 30 minutes the need to go to the toilet overruled the temperature and I got up and packed up quickly.
A little under an inch of snow fell last night and I got excited to explore this awesome park.
The air temp was cold but the windchill was frigid at around 0F (-20C). I would walk into the windy side of the ridge, put on some warm clothes just to overheat 20 minutes later when I was on the sheltered side of the mountain.
It was absolutely wonderful walking through the fir forests covered in snow. Up and down the ridges towards Clingman’s Dome I went. As I approached the highest point of the trail, the clouds lifted and the temperature dropped some more. But the views…
When I finally got to the high point and climbed the lookout tower. The wind was strong and was blowing me over. I took a few quickdraw photos and a selfie of my frozen beard before escaping from the wind.
The rest of the day was wonderful and I continued along without a complaint in the world. What a wonderful Christmas!
I eventually arrived at the shelter for the night and discovered Phoenix there, a SOBO Thru Hiker finishing off the last section of her hike. We spent the night talking from our sleeping bags before sleep overtook me.