Day 7 – Friday, March 16
Made it through the first week with only one big adventure and one trail magic with precise timing.
I was about half way up Tray Mountain heading for the Tray Mountain Shelter on Thursday afternoon on my first 15 mile plus day when the sky completely dropped out on me. Within just a couple of minutes, the trail was turning into a river and the ground around me was covered in pea sized hail. It hurt and I went from very hot to trying to find my rain jacket for some warmth. On top of this, I was on an exposed ridge with lighting and thunder that was as close as I’ve ever felt (with the exception of being on a peak out in Wyoming one time with my friend Henry,) but this was very scary. I crouched down beside the trail hoping that the storm would pass, but after about twenty minutes, I knew I had to move on just to generate some heat. So I walked keeping my head low (like that was going to do any good,) but it made me feel like I was doing something anyway. The lightning was starting to get further away and the rain less intense when I came up on the forest service road .9 miles from the summit and to my surprise my first trail magic – couple of fine guys grilling these monster cheeseburgers complete with all the Mountain Dew you could drink. It was heaven!! A number of the other hikers that had left the Low Gap Shelter that morning were all beginning to congregate there and tell their own stories aout the storm that we had just survived.
From Tray Mountain Shelter the next day, most of us hiked out to Dick’s Gap and went into town in Hiwassee. I was picked up by my brother Mark and his wife and we headed back towards the cabin in Blue Ridge for an evening of food and spirits.
Out of Georgia and into North Carolina tomorrow.