First Day Hiking the AT in TENN


My first day of backpacking in Tennessee started in the rain. Bob Peoples dropped me off at Carver’s Gap,at 5512′. The parking lot was full and hikers were congregating in the alcove to the pit toilet, and huddled in the kiosk for the AT. The wind was strong, but it was warm out, in the high fifties. I had a trash can liner inside my pack, and a black trash bag over the pack. I put on my rain jacket and rain wrap, and struck out for a 6 mile run to Overmountain Shelter, a big red barn with a second floor. The place holds 40.
I just kept walking for two and a half hours. There was one hiker ahead on me and we tagged each other back and forth. He had hiked the AT before, just like me.
There was a lot of wind. None of the usual problems that one expects came up this time- my hands stayed warm, and I didn’t slip and fall in the mud that often coated the trail.
Despite the rain blowing around, the hiking was world class this afternoon. So many spectacular scenes, but no views at all. Cloud world.
There were about 20 hikers here tonight. One family with a boy, and girl under 10 were there just napping and drying out. They took off around 5:30 PM to try and hike 6 more miles. The parents looked angry and stressed.
People were friendly. A crew of three guys built a good fire that they cooked on. One of them tipped his pot of almost boiled water back into the fire, and launched a huge smoky cloud that blew back into the shelter.
I awoke in the night and went our to pee, where I saw many stars sparkling in the sky. Later I awoke again, to the sound of hard rain drumming on the metal roof. My crazy start to this trip is now fading, as I bathed my sorry self in contentment and the warmth of my down sleeping


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