AT Happiness: Leaving North Carolina Feeling Like a Bad Ass Hiker
So I started this morning at Overmountain Shelter, an old converted barn that sleeps 21 people. I shared the shelter with a boy scout troop out of Raleigh and they were great.
The hike for the day was a little over 10 miles, two big climbs over four miles and then six miles downhill. Not bad right? Well the wind came up at night, thirty mile an hour gusts. The rain started at five in the morning. I hit the trail at seven thirty.
The rain got much heavier as I climbed, at 5000 feet I was on top of the first bald. The rain was now coming down sideways and the wind blowing over 40 miles an hour. I was quickly getting soaked and then the sleet started.
The sleet was hitting the side of my head so hard it was stinging my ear through the hood of my rain jacket. After the third false summit I was starving. The only problem, now I was soaked, the temperature was about fifty degrees with the windchill probably in the thirties. There was no cover so stopping to eat meant risking hypothermia.
So of course, I starting singing at the top of my lungs in the wind and the rain and the fog. I marched across three miles of balds signing like a crazed viking seriously worried about my health for the first time on the trail.
It sucked! But I was laughing and happy, you have to embrace the suck, there was no other option, so why be upset. I was relieved to hit the treeline, right up until I relized the descent was full of muddy rockfalls.
The descent improved, I even found a dry spot under a rock ledge to eat a candy bar. By the end of the hike I had actually caught and passed five other hikers. My speed was above my normal daily average. I fell once, I tweaked my left knee, I left North Carolina for the last time on the trail and I was soaked to my underwear. However for the first time on this trail I felt like a bad ass thru-hiker and I had a very happy day my friends. – Rev Kane