Sunday, April 19, 2015

Day 18- Momma Told Me There'd Be Days Like This

Double Springs Gap Shelter(196.5) Clingman's Dome Visitor Center(199.4) 3.1

An unexpected Nero in Cherokee, NC. Last night I spent a very wet night in a damp sleeping bag and hammock. We had pretty severe weather overnight and throughout the day. I had planned to hike 7.5 miles to the next shelter, but Mother Nature had other plans. I teamed up in the morning with HVAC and Lorax, a retired couple from Helena, Montana. We didn't leave the shelter until 10, because of lightning and thunder. The temperature hovered around 55 with 20-30 mph winds. Within minutes of setting out I was soaked from the waist down. I decided on hiking without rain pants, I'm not really sure why. The trail was more like a stream than a footpath. I decided on sure footing instead of hopping around in a fruitless attempt to keep my feet dry. Most of the walk was through a beautiful spruce forest, but I couldn't take any pictures because I didn't want to ruin my camera. About a quarter of the hike was on an exposed ridgeline that left me soaked to the bone and shivering. It took us 2 hours to walk the 3.1 miles to the Visitors Center. I usually hike that in a little over an hour. Like I said earlier, I had planned to hike on, but HVAC, a retired family practice doctor, didn't think that was a good idea. I was probably a little hypothermic, with little chance to warm up given the conditions. We called for a shuttle to Gaitlinburg, but nobody picked up. The best we could manage was a cab ride to Cherokee. As we waited for the cab we stood in a bathroom to stay out of the wind. I was shivering so bad, they sent me back to the visitors center to wait. Once the cab came, Lorax walked up to get me. It was nice to have such great people looking out for me. 
We split the cab with another retired couple, Putt-Putt and Tumbles. Once we arrived in Cherokee we discovered only 1 hotel had vacancy, apparently the World Cup of Poker is in town. The motel we are at only had 2 rooms available. Lorax and HVAC were kind enough to allow me to share their room. We were able to take showers and the motel did our laundry for us. Then HVAC went on a beer run, the day was looking up already. All of us went for dinner at an all-you-can-eat(AYCE) Chinese buffet. I think I had 3 plates of food. Then we went to a grocery store to resupply. I had planned on making it through the Smokies without resupply, so I only bought a few snickers bars and fresh ziplock bags. I'm currently laying in a real bed, with a full tummy and dry clothes. The only way this day could be better is if this motel had HBO for Game of Thrones. It's funny how earlier today I was miserable and near tears, but now I'm full and happy. I only got 1 picture today, but it was perfect. 
View from the motel

Hopefully tomorrow will be better, but more rain is forecasted. I'll be happy if it holds off until after Clingman's Dome. I'd really like to see the view. 

"People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing.  That’s why we recommend it daily." Zig Ziglar


  1. A huge thank you to Lomax and HVAC for looking out for you. Wonderful people. Remember that .5 mile paved trail we talked about at Clingmans Dome-you not only got to walk down it to the parking lot today, you get to walk back up that .5 mile paved trail to continue your AT! How ironic. Also you haven't written anything about the replacement shoes so I am guessing they are working out ok.

  2. I am at our house in NC near Asheville and it has been raining since I got here Saturday. I can't imagine what you are going through. Thank goodness for the kindness of fellow hikers and hope the weather improves.

  3. I am at our house in NC near Asheville and it has been raining since I got here Saturday. I can't imagine what you are going through. Thank goodness for the kindness of fellow hikers and hope the weather improves.

    1. Asheville is beautiful. I hope to hike in DuPont forest some day. They filmed the first Hunger Games movie there and the woods look amazing there

  4. Hope you're getting some awesome views today, Katie. Enough rain and mud for a while!!!!! Neat that you're meeting so many nice people on the trail! Be safe and enjoy!

  5. Beautiful picture! The kids liked it. Some questions from the twins. They wanted to know
    1- what area/scenery you are most looking forward to on your trip (from your research).
    2-Riley wants to know how many miles you walked in the mud so far.
    3-kallie wants to know approximately when you will make it to PA.

    1. I'm really looking forward to the Roan Highlands in VA, there will be herds of wild ponies all around, close enough to touch. Also looking forward to the presidential range in New Hampshire and Baxter Peak on Mt. Katahdin(end of the trail and amazing landscape).
      Riley, I walked approx. 56.4 miles in significant mud.
      Kallie- I'll be in PA from June 12-25, give or take a week.