Overmountain Shelter to Mountaineer Shelter – 18.0 miles
It was a great call to sleep at Overmountain shelter last night. It was nice being warm and dry, inside from the rain. Although I was against the side of the barn, the wind and rain did not come through the gaps.
I am up at 5:30 AM, pack quietly, and am out before 6:30 AM. There is no rain to start, but it’s wet and windy. At about 9:40 AM, I cross into TN, leaving NC behind for good!
Once in TN, the rain really starts coming down. It’s cold and I’m quickly getting wet. I think my Gore-Tex shell mittens are about shot, but they’re still helping a little.
About midday, I miss a turn and follow a side trail. I walk for quite a while and then turn around and retrace my steps. I am confused where I lost the trail until I finally backtrack much further until I see the missed turn, a double blaze low on a larger rock.
I am back on track, but had burned almost an hour. I was planning to do mid-20 today, but with that wasted time off the trail and the cold, wet weather, I just need to warm up and eat.
At 3 PM, it starts sleeting. I get to the shelter and call it a day. I’m bummed about the short day and my getting off the trail. The shelter is a newer two story structure with a loft and many of the hikers here tonight were at Overmountain last night (and I didn’t expect to see any of these hikers again.)
By early evening, the shelter is basically full and then the snow starts. One hiker says the weather forecast calls for temperatures in the teens tonight. Hearing this, I put on basically all the layers I have.
It’s a short day, but I’ll live to fight another day tomorrow. Marathon day.
Cloudwalker is the last person to arrive at the shelter. Most of us are already in our bags. It’s a full house and I create some room for him. We start talking and he is the first (and only) hiker, who started after me, to catch me. He started April 2 and has a 90-day goal, which makes our goal completion dates just about the same. We realize we have similar hiking styles and he mentions hiking together since it gets lonely. I said that sounds like a good idea. I’m excited to have found someone who can hang with me for a day, if not more.