Plagued with Bad Weather Through the Smokies
Bye bye Smokies
So I finally was able to say goodbye to the Smokies. What a miserable journey that was; nothing but a lot of bad weather almost every single day. And so onward we all have pushed after having everything drenched and frozen or both. I loved putting on frozen clothing in the morning.
More of the same to continue the suck.
So from the Smokies I made the run to Standing Bear Hostel, which by the way may not be perfect but is certainly a diamond in the rough. I did enjoy the stream running through it. I met Rhino, a former thru-hiker who is kind of the supervisor of the place. He was able to set me up with a sweet hammock site right next to the river. The next day I packed it up and headed back to the trail. I am about three days from Hot Springs and looking forward to it. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.
I finally made it to Max Patch on the first really nice day. The sun was out with a light breeze blowing and about 65ish degrees. This was a great day, at least until I reached Lemon Gap. Here there was a team of fire rangers doing controlled burns. So I was not going to be able to stay at the intended shelter. They instead directed a bunch of us across a service road until it connects back into the trail. Later that night there were many of us staying at Catpen Gap tent site.
Again with the rain thing.
At Catpen Gap the weather was perfect except for the occasional wind that would blow the smoke of the controlled burns in through the campsite. There was an open field where many tenters chose to set up. I hung the hammock, got my dinner, prepped for the next day, and hung the food bag. It was getting incredibly windy at that time but there were still clear skies so no worries as I got into the hammock and went to bed.
Around 9:30 that night the rain started, just a sprinkle, nothing serious, but the wind was getting stronger. By 11 p.m. the real rain and wind started. And misery began. With the amount of wind blowing my rain fly was not only blown against my hammock but also lifted. The rain was just blowing into my hammock. There was nothing I could do, because the rain fly was already as low as it could go. So for the rest of the night the wind continued to blow the rain on me. When I woke in the morning the wind had calmed a little but everything was soaked. Even people in the tents had everything wet; no one was spared. I packed everything as fast as possible and got off the mountain the 11 miles to Laughing Heart Hostel, and Hot Springs, N.C.
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