Miles Hiked: 9
Miles Left: 2185
Ending Location: Springer Shelter
We woke up at six, and amazingly enough B and I were both packed up and ready to go by seven. We then went to breakfast at the hotel for one last hot meal and to look for a ride down to the approach trail. Luckily this turned out to be easier than we expected as we came upon a nice family who had just seen their nineteen year old son off to hike the AT. They were very worried so B and I traded stories about the trail for a ride.
Once down at the visitors’ shelter we registered as through hikers, (we were #25 and 26 in the ledger). Then it was 600 stairs up the waterfall at the start of the approach trail. Both of us were very happy we left our packs up at the top of it, especially since we were joined by a couple other through hikers lugging their full gear with them.
After that we picked up our gear and we were hiking for real. It was a winter wonderland with the trees covered in snow and ice. Also it was warming up, getting into the high forties.
If you saw the problem with that last statement you are smarter than us. Partway through our hike ice started showering from the trees. At first it was cool but it soon turned into a string of cussing whenever the wind blew. Falling ice hurts! It got to the point where B and I would hear the wind and immediately bend over so our packs would protect us. We called it turtling up. Long story short, that was not the safest thing we’ve done.
Our hike lasted about two miles longer then we would have liked it. We rolled into the shelter as it was getting dark, only to find it packed. Luckily there was still room but basically we only had time to lay out our sleeping bags and cook dinner before everyone started turning in.
I would say that night was memorable but I have a feeling it’ll become normal shortly. The first time a mouse ran over my hat and down my neck I bolted upright and smacked my head into a wooden beam. Those mice and I got comfortable after a whole but I certainly cheered when someone else killed one of them. Other notable events was it snowing when I had to use the restroom, snow blowing in through the window onto me, and a massive rumbling of all the ice sliding off the roof that scared the bejedus out of all of us.
So that was day one on the trail.
At the start of the hike
Falling Ice Hurts!