The cold and the snow started last night off in a proper dismal setting. I didn’t sleep very well in the shelter and I didn’t want to get out of a toasty sleeping bag this morning. My mood was dour and not positive in the least.
As I stepped out and around the shelter I stood gazing at the most beautiful mountains and the clear blue mountain sky and I was awestruck. The first thing that came to my mind was “This is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.” All of a sudden I felt energized and ready to hike!
I started out hiking with one of my shelter mates and shortly after we started he dropped back but I kept going. The reason I wanted to get an early start was so that I could hike 16 miles and get to Franklin, North Carolina for a little R&R. I needed to wash — myself and my clothes. When we left the shelter it was still cold out and the snow on the ground was 2 to 3 inches deep. It was soft but not sloppy. As I hiked through the day it became very muddy and messy going, especially in the areas exposed to sunlight.
I had a difficult time going up Albert Mountain. It is straight up with no switch backs and mostly snow-covered rock. I couldn’t manage more than this picture hanging on to my trekking poles, the phone/camera and my balance! There was a moment when I truly wondered if I was going to make it without technical climbing equipment. At one point I was hiking on a 12″ wide path of snowy, wet rock and a 70′ sheer drop on the right. (Don’t tell my wife, she will haul me home!)
Speaking of my wife, I sent her a text message mid-afternoon asking her to help me get a ride into Franklin. She contacted Beverly Carini, a hiker-friendly soul who shuttles hikers to and from the trail into town and back. Franklin, NC sits about 10 miles from the A.T. Beverly stopped what she was doing at home and drove to Winding Stair Gap and Hwy 64. I had just arrived. (Thankyou Beverly!) She shuttled me to my hotel to drop off my gear and then on to Willies Barbecue where I ate myself silly! Brisket, fries and cobbler with ice cream! No need to worry about calories out on the AT and I highly recommend Willies if you find yourself in Franklin, North Carolina.
Starting MM 93.9 Carter Cap Shelter at 8 a.m.
Arrived MM 109.8 Winding Stair Gap at 4 p.m.
15.7 mountainous miles in 8 hours. I’m resting tomorrow.
From The Trail,
P.S. SlimTim, I got my first boo-boo today. I’d show you but then I would have to explain it to Catherine!