Miles Hiked: 12.7
Ending Location: Flint Mountain Shelter
As stated earlier it had started pouring around 4am and the rain was still going strong when we all woke up. None of us particularly wanted to venture out into it so we all used this as an excuse to sleep in. I didn’t feel guilty about this approach until other hikers came dragging in to the shelter soaking wet and I still hadn’t made it out of my sleeping bag yet. Eventually Vegemite had to answer Nature’s call and went outside only to return with all our food bags so we had breakfast in bed. It actually wasn’t a bad way to spend the morning.
Eventually the rain stopped so Owl and I reluctantly left the shelter around noon. The day started with a lot of ups and while it wasn’t actively raining, we were basically hiking in a cloud. The temperature was also rapidly dropping and we saw patches of snow everywhere. These were the conditions we were dealing with when we had to make the decision on going up the exposed ridge line trail or taking the AT approved “bad weather bypass”. We of course took the ridge trail since it sounded more fun.
The trail had a lot of interesting rock scrambles and I’m sure the view would have been fantastic if we could have seen more than 20 feet. The bad weather didn’t affect us much but I did come very close to making two nasty falls before my hiking poles saved me. I wish I could blame the slippery rocks but the first time I got unbalanced due to my pack and the second time I simply tripped. It’s probably a good thing sections like this are rare until we hit New England.
Around 4pm the sun finally decided to make an appearance and shortly afterwards we met up with Tog and Wiki at the next shelter. They were trying to figure out whether to press on or not since Tog didn’t have any cold weather tenting equipment. The temperature was currently hovering around freezing with it supposed to fall into the high teens that night so if he couldn’t get shelter space he was talking about hiking through the night. My 40 pound pack is a huge pain but in these circumstances I do appreciate my gear as it gives me a lot more options.
With three plus hours of daylight left and a general unwillingness to have two low mileage days in a row, Owl and I headed out for the next shelter six miles away. Even with our late start we arrived and managed to pitch our tents before we lost the last of the sun. Considering we hiked almost thirteen miles I’m very happy with our current hiking speed!