It was the worst winter in history! I had just found out my wife emptied my bank account, but that wasn’t it, it wasn’t that she had decided to move out and later file for a divorce either, it was the fact that this winter had the least snow I had seen in a while. Not being able to ski until half way thru the Mid Atlantic winter, now that makes a for a sad, depressing event!
Now that’s pretty much a standard winter now, in Northern West Virginia, 5 years later. I have since been able to fill the horrible void left behind by the lack of snow by kayaking more often in the winter when I used to ski.
Back to this depressing winter 5 years ago. I decided that with my new found freedom I could do the things I always wanted to do and was under the impression that we were going to do. I dug up an old plan to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, ME. Lucky for me the old plan only needed a few minor changes. Because it got cold enough for man made snow at the Ski Resort I finally got to ride however, I told my boss at the resort where I worked as a Ski Patroller that I was leaving the job early to hike the AT.
I did not keep any type of journal on this hike so every thing is from a concussion riddled, alcohol soaked brain. The timing of the events are most likely out of order.
I started my hike at Springer Mountain March 12, 2013. Beginning the hike with a good pace to set the tempo for the rest of my trip, even though I had some heavier gear due to a combination of not purchasing new gear and wanting to carry a little extra cold weather gear. My second day in I stopped to stay the night at a shelter. Immediately this asshole, in my opinion, started telling me that the shelter was full and immediately proceeded to give me advice on how to set up and use the bear hang. I set up on the leeward side of the shelter which blocked the strong winds.
That night I heard him talking to the people he was with, it sounded like he had been hired to hike with them and show them how to backpack for a while. Later I was awoken by loud voices. At least one person in his group seemed to be suffering from the cold. I am guessing it was in the -20 to -10 degree range with the windchill. The leader should have been more concerned with setting up his groups camp then my activities.
I awoke before the group packed and headed on my way never to see any of them again.
Arriving later my second day at Neels Gap, I got a room in the hostel and find a bivy exactly like mine in the hiker box. This could be an omen as to how shitty in may be to stay in a bivy, but time will tell! I get the best nights sleep in a bunk bed, from a combination of physical exhaustion and happiness from doing something I have always dreamed about, preparing for the rest of my journey.