Days 17 – 20; Cold, Rain and Snow

Day 17- Zero miles on a rainy day, Moore Creek Campsite.

Carrying an extra resupply and with rain in the forecast, I decided to take a zero day at Moore Creek Campsite. The water was good, the campsite was flat and quiet. Perfect. My favorite meal of the day and so far this trek has been the Cajun macaroni and cheese, today’s was with ditalini pasta which holds up in a food bag quite nicely. The meal is comprised of cheese, milk, and butter powders and a Cajun seasoning my partner picked up at Marshall’s. So dang delicious!

Taco Macaroni and cheeseTaco macaroni and cheese for dinner

River slept the day away and I read my book The Great Alone and put a dent in our food bag. Zero days on trail are very peaceful and slow, a welcome change to town days. I only ever got up to use the bathroom or cook food and we stayed very dry the entire day. Still perfect.

Day 18- 7.30 miles, 2,260’ elevation gain; Moore Creek Campsite to Wine Spring Campsite

I woke up at 0200 and was ready to rumble, but with a dog and zero rush to get to Maine, I found myself wide awake reading The Great Alone while Rivvie snored loudly from his sleeping bag. It sounded like the rain had stopped so I opened my tent to see the stars. I sat there and thought about slowly packing up for a sunrise hike, next thing I knew it was 0845. I wish I slept this late at home. Before getting out of my tent for the day I made a hot breakfast of berry oats and green tea. Another Backcountry Foodie favorite of mine; freeze dried fruit, milk powder, nuts, and seeds. Can’t go wrong with this one!

Berry oats for breakfast

As I got out of my tent the sun greeted us with a blissful hello after being absent for a day and a half. My tent was still super wet, but that’s what contractor bags are for, and I packed up camp after six hours shy of being there for two days. Not a bad place to wait out a downpour. Each morning I like to see where the upcoming water sources are and check for any posted and established sites. I would always forget but I have since started a document called my POTD, plan of the day.

Since entering North Carolina, the trail has welcomed us with long, steep inclines and I may be halfway regretting taking both resupplies. I just keep telling myself that my pack will never feel this heavy again. It may be this heavy at another point, but I’ll have the legs and core muscles for it, hopefully.

I saw my first wildflower and butterfly today near the Wayah Gap Picnic Area 4,649’ within the Nantahala National Forest. A sure sign that spring is right around the corner. As the days pass, the mountainsides are beginning to give way to a reddish hue, millions of leaf buds growing in the lengthening sunlight, eventually flourishing into the green tunnel. I am appreciating the views through the trees while I still have them.

We stopped and made camp about two miles prior to Wayah Bald at the Wine Spring Campsite. I enjoy a good climb on rested legs and a full belly. The campsite was really nice and we ended up being the only ones there for the evening. Just how we like it.

Day 19- 7.22 miles, 2,041′ elevation gain; Wine Spring Campsite to Cold Springs Campsite

The day started out as overcast but it never rained, thankfully. Living so close to the White Mountains and taking jobs that give preference to the outdoors, has made me a fair weather hiker. I knew going into this trek that those ways would quickly change. However, I’m trying to devise a plan for the Smokies and I need to slow it down even more to get all the pieces to fall into place.

Wayah Bald TowerWayah Bald Tower

The view from the Kiosk at Wayah BaldView from the Kiosk at Wayah Bald

As we crested Wayah Bald we met Patsy, another thru-hiker who was enjoying the fine, clouded views… sad day. We both heard that the views in this area were incredible but with many, many more miles of trail, we can miss a view or two. So we both continued north.

left to right: Patsy, me, George

I bumped into George at the Wayah Bald shelter when River and I turned in for lunch. He was just getting all packed up to take off for the day after scheduling a couple blog posts. He also writes blogs for The Trek pertaining to his thru-hike. Lunch was quick due to the incoming rain. I made three meat and cheese tortillas and gave River the last bite of each one.

River and I carried on down the trail for a little ways before calling Cold Spring Campsite home for the night. North of the shelter about 50 yards the campsites are perched up on the ridge at about 5,000 feet between Burningtown Bald and Cooper Ridge Bald. With room for many tents and a small picnic table it was a great little spot we had to ourselves for our time there. Except for our timing of the weather.

Day 20- 0 Miles at Cold Spring Campsite

So yeah, with my Smoky Mountains plan is slowly coming to fruition, the rain that unexpectedly turned to snow, and a good book to read, we took another zero to lighten the load and hopefully let the snow melt.

When I fell asleep last night the rain was beginning to pick up and so wasn’t the wind. I had and have made it a nightly routine to look up and check for widow makers before I turn in for the night. I was especially grateful for the peace of mind tonight because that wind was whipping over the ridge with no mercy upon my soul.

I didn’t sleep good, the sound of the rain pelting my tent turned viscious in the freezing rain and wind. I thought for sure it would punch many holes through my Nemo. Happy to report it did not and we woke up to the most magnificent sunrise on Daylight Savings.

Sunrise on Daylight Savings.Sunrise from Cold Spring RidgeSteady loves the snow.Steady loves the cold

This too was the first day River beat me out of the tent. I couldn’t get him back in. I do feel guilty, it was hike the AT or finish off the last 13 peaks on our New England Hundred Highest peakbagging list this fall and winter. He loves the snow but I think he loves sleeping in a tent every night a whole lot more than being a weekend warrior. Once I realized he just wanted to chill in the snow and take it all in, I rolled over and passed back out for another hour.

Snowy morning on Cold Spring RidgeCold, Rain and Snow.

…and still we’re headed home.

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Comments 1

  • Gwinn : Mar 25th

    All caught up! I’m enjoying your Dead references as a ‘head myself. Slow and Steady are perfect trail names, I think, and I feel for you carrying the extra weight from two resupplies! Onward and upward, you’ve got this!


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