Miles Today: 15.9

Mile Marker: 109.5 Winding Stair Gap (Franklin, NC)

The weather forecasts here have introduced me to the word “blustering”.  We get blistering in Texas, but not blustering.  It has been in the weather forecast all week.  Today had 20mph winds and gusts up to 45mph.  Apparently we got more snow last night.  I woke up to about a half inch stuck to my tent and another two or so on the ground.  I checked the weather and apparently the cold weather accelerated.  We are looking at temperatures in the single digits and wind chills in the negative numbers tonight.  I'm equipped down to the teens and can make it through the single digits in a freak storm, but I'm certainly not volunteering for it.

I've been hiking with a guy named Head First, and we were planning on doing 12 today and doing the other 4 tomorrow and nearo into Franklin to skip tomorrow's frigid weather.  I read him the forecast this morning and got a decisive “We're getting off at Rock Gap”.  Read my mind.

We got light snow and high winds all day today.  It is still kind of fun to hike in the snow once you get moving and warm up.  It's just that transition from sleeping to packing up to hiking that sucks.  I tried making a snow angel, but it was too icy and I didn't want to tear up my rain gear.  As the day went on Head First and I decided we would rather hike the extra four miles to Winding Stairs and get off there today.  It hits a more major road and it made us feel better to get it over with since we were hitting town a day early.  When we got to Rock Gap we hit more trail magic.  More hot dogs and soda, and another group brought some beer.  I begrudgingly skipped a Yuengling because I still had the four miles to do.  A beer would have zapped me I think.  I can't get Yuengling at home, so it was probably the worst part of the day having to say no as I looked on despondently at the others drinking and quitting for the day.  I'm glad we pushed on though.  New high score! We finished like champions today.  The ending couldn't have been more serendipitous. We stepped off the trail and less than 30 seconds later a woman named Hiccup pulled right in and asked if we needed a ride to town.  Marvelous.

Almost forgot, we also cleared the 100 mile marker today!  Pretty crazy that is only the 5% mark, but it still feels great.