Sitting It Out at a Shelter

Day 33

Spence Field Shelter.  AT mile 184

Card of the day – none drawn

Well that was a long first night in a shelter and I got no sleep.  At some point my sleep pad deflated, which was probably caused by the atmospheric pressure more than anything else, but it still left me on a cold hard surface.

There was serious thunder and lightning through the night and rain like the heavens were collapsing.  I’ve very rarely known weather like it, and I’ve never camped out in it.  I was actually glad to be in the shelter as I’m not sure it would have been safe in my tent.

Forget the Fontana Hilton, this was the Chesterfield Smokies!  We made it as comfortable as we could.  We had strung up a make shift tarp out of ground sheets and had enough fire wood to keep us warm.  The shelter was actually quite spacious, I’m sure at a push we could have taken in at least a dozen more people.  One thing I would say is that the chimney did not work so it got quiet smokey, but imagine coming into the shelter out of the rain and there being no where to get dry!

The wind and rain were out of this world.  It was a really difficult decision to zero in the shelter and although the head said yes, the heart was saying get out and hike!  “No rain, no Maine!”  But this was different.  The downpours would have soaked us through to the bone.

We all ended up either sleeping, listening to pod casts or watching films.  It was a long old day!  Elie would have had us playing cards or dice games. But we kind of went in on our selves, and got a bit of cabin fever.

Although I was thankful for the fire, and it gave me something to do, it was really smokey at times due to us burning wet wood, which made it a tad uncomfortable but hay, needs must.

Howie decided that he would leave around 5 for the next shelter.  He needs to get into town to fix his phone, which was broken by the rain the day before.  We all try to talk him out of it but he is adamant.  We make sure he has enough food and dry clothes and tell him to text twitch and glitch once he is safe, and off he goes.  He should probably have gone around 2 when the weather broke, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and we were still expecting more rain.  And oh boy did it rain!  We then got the message that Clingmans Dome road had been closed due to wind.  So things were not looking good for him!

At some point in the evening, 2 guys came in.  They were thankful for the fire, saying they had smelt it for a mile or so.  They were soaked through but reported that the hiking had not been all that bad and they had been sheltered from most of the wind.

I finished up the day by having dinner and then bed more or less.  There really is not much to do when you zero at a shelter!

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