Well I’m headed into my third day of rain. And I know what you’re thinking, it’s just rain, sure. I can handle rain but the last few days have been another set of rain, wind, and cold.
Monday was hard, mainly because I started to have flashbacks of my bad weather day at Clingmans Dome…cold, rain and heavy wind gusts. I hiked out of Hot Springs and pushed the 11 miles to the shelter I had planned to call home for the night, and got there around lunch time. I ate and shortly after just started to get way too cold. The wind had caused my clothes to soak through so after awhile I just started shaking and couldn’t stop. My options became to change into my only dry clothes and hope the windy rain entering the open shelter wouldn’t get them too wet or keep hiking in hopes of getting warm again. A couple girls next to me started discussing a hostel just 5 miles down the way, which immediately perked my ears up. Warmth. Inside. Dry clothes. Done!
I headed out and arrived at the Hemlock Hollow Inn about 2 hours later and regained a normal body temperature shortly there after.
A group I met in the bunkhouse that night offered up for me to join their slackpack for the next day, which sounded so nice! A slackpack is when you hike with a limited pack, and the hostel or kind soul offering to slack, drives your pack to your ending location for that day. With the rain again today, a slackpack allowed us to go 20 miles and have are packs delivered dry! Hallelujah!
Luckily today was a steady rain but less wind. We even had brief moments where the clouds opened up and gave us a view at lunch, which was great timing since we chose our own adventure and hiked the AT ridgeline and ignored the “extreme weather bypass trail.”
Shortly after lunch, I hit the next milestone, 300 miles! Time sure does fly!
The rest of the rainy day was consumed by a Big Butt. No literally, I spent the afternoon climbing Big Butt Mountain!
Luckily once we hit the top, Big Butt provided a nice, peaceful foggy decent to end the day.
Here’s to hoping the rainy forecast for the rest of the week is false and the sun comes out soon!