Winter Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike – Day 7 (22 miles)

I woke up at 6 and started hiking shortly after. Like yesterday, it was raining and I was walking through the clouds. The light of my headlamp was reflecting off both off these to such a great extent that I could barely see what I would step on next. It made for some slow progress until the sun decided to show.

From then on I moved as fast as I could. I was running late to meet up with @grantwalkson for a little day hike. He hiked the PCT this year. I never met him on trail, but he was looking to get some hiking in this weekend and I’m always up for the company.

In the end, we both arrived as the car park at the exact same time. He even brought a friend along. After exchanging introductions, and I shoveling some food into my mouth, we headed up a steep climb and then rolling hills. The rain combined with a strong wind made walking the mission. We continued for almost 3 hours until we arrived at a shelter. Here we stopped for an extended lunch and could actually communicate.

We got going again and shortly later lightning could be heard a few valleys over. It was not overly concerning in our case. We climbed over one ridge and started our long descent to Fontana Dam.
I slipped on a wet, mossy rock, kicked my hiking pole and then took a short trip. I ripped my nice wool shirt (sorry, @thunderboltsportswear) and damaged my watch, but I wasn’t hurt.

We got down to the road and started the 2-mile road walk into town so I could resupply and so they could hitch back to their car. Unfortunately the road was closed due to a rockslide and there was no traffic for them to get a ride from. They eventually called a nearby trail angle and arrange a shuttle back.

I’m ready for the Smokies tomorrow! It is going to be cold up there, with a high on Christmas Day of 19F (-7C) and a windchill of 0F (-18C)

P.S. I have looked up some new words for rain. Not all of them are good and some of them are brilliant (cloudburst and liquid sunshine). I will have some new words for the next deluge.

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