Monday, June 15, 2015

Day 38: A Shelter Built For Two

April 14: It sprinkled for most of the night and into the morning, and weather forecasts predicted rain all day. Because the weather wasn’t expected to improve, I left the shelter early. I’m pleased to report that the weather forecasts were dead wrong—the rain stopped after an hour or two and had I slept in late, I could have missed the rain completely.

As it was, though, hiking for an hour or two in the rain is still a huge improvement over walking through it all day long!


Near the end of the day, I passed what my guidebook called an “abandoned” shelter, which is hands down the smallest shelter of the trail. The tiny structure would be crowded with two people! Exciting stuff, eh? I didn’t stop there, however. I kept pushing on to the Abingon Gap Shelter for the night, quitting at a mere 2:30 in the afternoon.

Although it had stopped raining, it looked like the rain could start up again and I liked the idea of quitting early and avoiding that, and despite my early end to the day, I still covered 16 miles which was plenty respectable.

Later in the afternoon, the Four Horsemen arrived who I was happy to see. They’d certainly provide plenty of entertainment for the night! Also showing up for the night was a southbound hiker named Longhorn who had started hiking from Harpers Ferry and was absolutely ecstatic to finally be out of Virginia, whose border was just a couple of hours of hiking away. He described nights where temperatures weren’t merely below freezing, but well into the negatives and probably 30 degrees colder than my coldest nights in the Smokies. He dealt with a lot more snow than I did, and he told us that he didn’t think the ATC workers in Harpers Ferry really believed he was a thru-hiker because the weather was so cold and awful. Virginia, he told us, had not been easy, and he was positively ecstatic to finally be out of the state.

Trail magic! But it had largely been emptied by the time I arrived…

Lonestar had started the trail about a week or two before I did, but his experiences sounded vastly more difficult than mine. Just being further up north at that time of year made a big difference I guess.

Of course, we were excited to be going into it, and we weren’t expecting temperatures that would be in the negatives. Not that we had any major complaints about Tennessee, but progress is progress!

Later, I’d see more thru-hikers who had started in Harpers Ferry and were heading southbound. When they reach Springer Mountain, they plan to jump up to Katahdin and continue hiking south back to Harpers Ferry. I’m a little surprised at how many hikers I’ve met who are doing this, but it’s still a tiny fraction of all thru-hikers. He told us stories of what to expect in Virginia, and we told him about the trail he’d be seeing ahead—and even warning him about a couple of people behind us that he’d do well to avoid.

During the evening, the rain did finally start up again and I was happy to be in the shelter and out of the rain.

Nick Grindstaff Monument

At first I thought the monument was a chimney from a ruin, but it turns out, it’s a grave! At least I think it is…





I’m not sure what this strange structure is, but it didn’t look safe to go in!

This little shelter barely had space for two!


Unknown said...

Oh, those foggy days. =)
They're kind of eerily beautiful

-only dreaming

Debbie St.Amand said...

I went to college in North Carolina with a Sharon Grindstaff. I wonder if she's related to Nick.