Journals From A 2003 Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail (by Loony)
Entry #38 – April 30, 2003
8:05 PM – We started out the day with great expectations. Radar had mentioned that there may be Trail Magic @ Big Bald at noon. Andy & I left camp before 8, hoping to beat the majority of the people. We hauled butt and made great time. We were atop the Big Bald right around noon – 9 miles up up up in 4 hours. To our disappointment, there were no hot dogs waiting for us – nothing. Didn’t stay atop the Bald long, as we thought there still might be something waiting at the shelter a mile down the way. Got there and once again found nothing. We were kind of disappointed, but at least the day went by quickly and fairly smoothly.
The weather was pretty clear and hot early in the day, but as we left the shelter, we could hear thunder in the distance. Almost thought of staying the night, but wanted to get further. A couple miles later, the rumbling was getting louder, and a mile more we hit a campsite @ Whistling Gap. Stopped for a break and debated whether to go on. Staying would mean the day would be done in case of rain; going on to the next Gap would mean only 10 miles into town the next day. We decided to go on. We were about a quarter mile up the hill when the thunder started picking up even more. Just as we started into a bit of a gap, the rain started – but only a few drops. Took off our packs to get our rainjackets and pack covers and suddenly the sky let loose. We were getting wet, and fast. I was fumbling around with my raingear when I realized it wasn’t even rain, but 1/4″ hail! Andy took off with the tarp, telling me to hurry up! We threw our packs down near a tree in the “valley” off the trail, draped the tarp over us, and began to wait. The hail seemed to come down forever, but was probably only 15 minutes or so. We just sat hoping it wouldn’t get any bigger, as it was already hurting. Eventually, it let up, but then the lightning began – the thing I hate most! We watched as the bolts came down in the distance. From there we waited it out, and were on our way in a half hour or so.
Made it to Spivey Gap – here with Radar, Hepcat, Kodiak, Sassy, George, Mike & Scott. Tomorrow it’s 10 miles only, and then everyone’s planning on heading into town. It hasn’t been too long since Hot Springs, but we need to resupply, shower & do laundry anyways.
Oh, and when we got here, Wendy was here w/fruit for us – YUM! If I haven’t mentioned, Heather and her mom Wendy are always around – Heather started in Key West, is going to Canada, and her mom follows in the van. She’s always around with Trail Magic! 🙂