“It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.” – Dave Barry
Miles hike today 8.6. Total trip miles 52.6.
It started raining at about 2 AM. I know that because it woke me up. And when I woke up I needed to use the restroom – or should I say, I needed to dig a hole. But it was raining quite hard, so I laid there in misery waiting for it to slow down. I dozed off and on until around 5 AM. It stopped, I got out of the tent and did what needed to be done. The rain continued to spit off and on but around 7AM it stopped altogether. We all got out of tents, started gathering gear and getting ready to hike. Below is Linda and Mark packing up.
It rained on and off all morning long. The mountains are beautiful even in the rain. The mistiness of these mountains shroud you in quiet and there is something peaceful and wonderful about walking in the mornings here in Appalachia.
Everything was wet…the ground, the trees, the air. Sometimes the trail narrows, so you’re brushing against the foliage. But I was not cold. The temperature was around 58 – good hiking temperature.
When it started raining steadily I put up my handy-dandy lightweight umbrella. I hook it to my backpack so it is hands-free. I’m going to have to get some kind of padding because it did tend to hurt my left shoulder. But, it worked like a charm keeping me dry.
Well, not exactly dry, but keeping the rain off my head. The night before while sitting around the campfire I also used it as a wind block. Loving the umbrella.
Here is an example of what the trail is usually like, even on flat walks. It is strewn with rocks everywhere, you have to watch every step you take. There is no checking your phone or even looking around unless you stop. Believe me I’ve tried and every time I have tried, I have tripped.
Today’s uphill was not bad. It just went on forever. But the slope was doable without too many rests.
But then we had to come down! And in the rain with very slick rocks, and very, very slick roots-it was a challenge.
The rock below is the one I went down on. Although you cannot tell from the picture that’s a drop off. I went down and into those leaves that you see that are disturbed. My pole flew! I landed on my butt, no harm done, but a great reminder to slow down.
It was a messy and very wet trail today.
Finally made it down to Unicoi Gap. There were other hikers there and more came because we were all going into Helen. It is a German town. Very touristy. But more rain is expected all day and through the night. So we are calling it a day.
The picture below is a young man that was down at the gap. I told him I loved the feather in his hat. He said my trail name is Macaroni. I just thought that was a hoot.
The “shuttle” came to pick us up. I just laughed, threw my pack in the back and climbed in. It was a wild ride down the mountain, but at least I was riding with Jesus! (Do you see the sticker in the window?)
https://youtu.be/OsFNdjL–yM this is YouTube video of part of the ride.
The Appalachian Trail makes you work. It will throw at you ascents that are so steep that with the umbrella on you can only see 5 feet ahead. You have to stop and arch your back to see what is ahead. It will splash you with mud, branches will try to grab you, and the downhills are like stairs made for giants. I am loving it! It is such a great challenge.
I am now all clean and dry – sitting on a hotel bed writing this blog. Our group is headed out for dinner at 6.
Warm, safe and happy.