Day 26 – Wet, Wet, Wet. Did I Say Wet?

Day 26

Start: Mollies Ridge Shelter

End: Derrick Knob Shelter

Miles Hiked: 12.1

Miles on AT: 190.0


Last night, the wind howled as it ushered in the rain-bearing clouds. I didn’t sleep well despite wearing earplugs. I had overheard the group tenting next to me planning to leaving around 6am, so when I saw their headlamps moving in the darkness early this morning, I figured I might as well get up, too. Big rain storms were predicted for today, so I wanted to get my things packed before they (and I) got soaked.

I managed to get all packed up with only a few raindrops hitting me. As I stood under the awning of the shelter eating my breakfast, the rain started to fall harder and harder. The choice was either to wait out the rain or just bite the bullet. I chose to bite the bullet. I had mentally prepared myself for getting wet this leg, so I might as well go whole hog.

The trail was dark, gloomy, and wet, and after 15 minutes of hiking, I was soaked! I had my rain jacket on over my fleece and my rain mitts on over my gloves. Luckily, I was warm and my hands felt dry. After a while, I added my umbrella to the mix, further protecting me from the vicious downpour.

After the initial shock of getting wet and having to warm up, I found walking in the rain to be pleasant. The peri-dawn light barely filtered through the cloud. It was a misty, dark green morning where only the sounds of the rain pitter-pattering on my umbrella and my slapping the wet ground were my companions. It was peaceful.

After 3 miles, I took a quick break at the next shelter. It was a much needed break, but the reality of being wet and cold sank in. I had to get moving again to warm up. I took the next climb slowly and easily, not rushing, just content with moving through the rain.

After another 3 miles, the rain finally let up and I shed my rain gear. Freedom! Next was another climb, this one leading to those classic views of the Smokies. The clouds played between the mountains, dense white in the sky. The rain brought this wonderful gift of a view, making the wet walk well worth it.

This view was the highlight of my day. I got the complete Smokies experience (no bears yet, though) of rain and a view. Speaking of bears, it turns out that a few people had their bear canisters stolen by bears at the shelter last night. Some recovered their cans and food while others weren’t so lucky. Fortunately, hikers are generous and are willing to give up their extra food (i.e. weight) to people in need.

The rest of my hike passed uneventfully. The sun struggled to come out and bits of blue showed briefly between the clouds, but the clouds ultimately won out. I arrived at my shelter at around 3 pm and set up my tent just before the last shower of the day. We had a good crowd here tonight, with more familiar faces from the previous shelter. I really enjoyed chatting with the other hikers; I’m feeling more and more like an AT thru hiker.

Tomorrow calls for sun and 70s. I can’t wait; we’ve earned it!


And that’s day 26.


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