Day 15 – Predawn Rain Brings Morning Mist-eriousness

Day 15

Start: White Oak Stamp

End: Carter Gap Shelter

Miles Hiked: 11.7

Total Miles on AT: 93.5


This morning before sunrise we were awoken by an unpleasant sound. It started softly at first, but then picked up speed and volume. 


It was about 6 am, well before our typical wake up time, so I laid in the tent, watching it dance with drops of rain and hoping it would end before we had to get out and start hiking. Suddenly, a flash of lightning shone white across the dusky blue tent, followed shortly by a loud boom of thunder. This wasn’t looking good.

I don’t mind hiking in the rain, but what I dread is having to do morning or evening camp chores in the rain. There’s just something so demoralizing about scrambling to keep things dry while getting cold and soaked before I can get warm. Hardcore hikers laugh at the rain, but I guess I’m not that hardcore yet. Check back in with me in a few months to see if things have changed.

Luckily, the rain started to taper off around 8 am and we were on trail around our usual time of 9:30 am. Today, it was my reluctance to give into the rain that earned us a late start. Secretly, I was much happier to have a later start than to have a wet start.

Our morning hike started off misty and mysterious. The fog left behind by the storm gave the forest a whole new atmosphere, a little spooky and otherworldly. I loved it!

As we climbed up and around our first mountain, the land dripped with the freshly fallen rain. Everything was green and vibrant, the moss stood out and seemed to breathe in the new revitalization. As we reached the top, the low-hanging clouds weaved in between the distant mountains, floating up and around the trees before disappearing in the rising sun’s light.

At Deep Gap, a trail angel graciously let us drop off some trash. We continued our way up to Standing Indian Mountain a little lighter. The sun shone brighter and all thoughts of past storms were behind us.

The climb up was gradual today, making light, steady work for us. We seemed to follow an old forest road up the mountain until it transformed into a true footpath. We quickly emerged from the tree cover onto a skinny ridgeline with 360 degree views.

The wispy clouds floated so close to me I could reach up just above my head and touch them. I think this was one of my favorite views on the trail so far. I could see in all directions for miles and miles. We made our way a bit further up to the top of the mountain and enjoyed lunch shaded in the trees.

On our way down, I had to start moving slowly. My knee was killing me. I finally gave in and took an ibuprofen, but still tried to rest periodically on the way down. I’ll have to find a solution for this knee pain when I get into town. Maybe some KT tape or a knee brace will do the trick.

From here, we started moving slowly. The fiance was dealing with a case of what looked like poison ivy; that combined with his dwindling food resources kept him moving slowly as well. Near the bottom of our descent, I got some water, ate a snack, and instantly got a final push of energy.

We had only 3.5 more miles left to go to our campsite and I wanted to make it there before my hunger really kicked in again. I practically flew down the trail, just focusing on moving, moving, moving. I took a few small breaks to rest my knee, but I desperately wanted to get to our campsite.

When I did, it was as busy as a small town. There were so many tents and campers scattered about, it was a bit overwhelming. I found a suitable although sloped campsite for us and left to get water. When I returned, the fiance had found our spot and was drying our tent from the morning’s shower.

Tonight, I’m prepared to pass out and into a deep sleep. We’re going into town tomorrow, so I just have to hold on until then.


And that’s day 15.


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