Let’s just say last night was an “experience”! It got very cold, the snow fell, and the wind blew. The wind sounded like a freight train coming up from the valley, blowing over our tents, and flowing down the other side of the mountain. Setting up and tearing down a campsite in the cold\rain\snow is neither easy or fun.
Even though it was cold today, it was really nice to get hiking. We had a very steep hike up to the top of Blood Mountain. At the top was an open air stone cabin built during the depression era by the Conservation Corp. The path down Blood Mountain was tougher than the climb. For over a mile we were faced with traversing smooth, huge rock formations. With the ice and snow it seemed impossible without hiker poles. However, about halfway down we started getting passed by young military men racing down with heavier packs than we are carrying. It turns out they were Army Rangers from Washington training for the “Toughest Ranger” contest. Amazing!!
The Appalachian Trail is marked every 100 or 200 yards by a white paint stripe (blaze) on a tree. Where trees are sparse they paint the blazes on rocks. Those were some of the rocks we were “following” today!
We are staying at Neel’s Gap tonight. Hopefully, we’ve seen some of the worst weather and terrain for awhile.
I’ve heard that by Neels Gap one-fourth of all thru-hikers drop off the course. Lee and I will pass that point when we start out tomorrow, so we got that going for us. 😀 (for all Bill Murray fans, note the Caddyshack reference).
Happy Trails, SlimTim