Day 2 of my Appalachian Trail thru-hike started off wet and cold. The plan was to make to Gooch Mountain Shelter before the snow started (that also seemed to be everyone else’s plan as well). Unfortunately, that did not happen.
Not too many views on Day 2 due to the rain except for one, on our way out of camp!
The climb up Sassafras Mountain wasn’t too bad. Coming down, mother nature decided to throw in a snow/rain mix that eventually turned into wet heavy snow.
We were way behind and Ripley and Misti (Ripley was staying with Misti as she had no experience backpacking so we decided someone needed to stay with her at all times) were about 45 minutes to an hour behind me. I was about 10 minutes behind Jim.
I met Jim on top of Sassafras where he was waiting for me. The rain was coming down hard and the temperature dropping. After running into several other hikers who were giving us updates of Ripley and Misti (where they were) and knowing we were beginning to soak through, I made the decision we really needed to go into town.
I’m not sure why at that point in the hike I decided it, but I was overcome with an urge that we needed to get off the mountain and into town. I looked for shuttle numbers and me and Jim headed down the mountain where we decided we would wait for Ripley and Misti at Cooper Gap parking lot.
I told Jim to go ahead as he was faster. Hoping to get lucky that there would be a trail angel or shuttle driver there.
On the way down two other hikers passed me. They gave me an update on the Ripley and Misti. I told them we were trying to hurry and get off the mountain so we could get a shuttle into town when one of them declared he had a van waiting at the parking lot and would be more than happy to take us. They hiked on ahead and I let them know there was a guy, one of my tramily, ahead to please let him know.
As I started going down the mountain that is when it started to snow. It was beautiful even if it was mixed with rain.
Shortly it turned to all snow (a very wet snow). But, dang it was beautiful!
I made it to the parking lot where Jim and the other hikers were waiting. As we waiting in the warm van for the girls we told the hiker about Nikki, a retired Air Force K9 cop. So we decided when they appeared that we would have some fun since they had no idea we were in the van or going to town.
They finally appeared about 45 minutes later. The van honked, and they walked over not seeing me or Jim in the back. The driver asked them if they wanted some candy (or puppies, I don’t remember). Then he said we have your friends in the back. Ripley and Misti thought they were joking (or kidnappers) and it was hilarious! If I had been able to get to my phone I would have recorded it!
They eventually saw us and were VERY thankful we were headed into town. Turns out Misti was in the beginning stages of hypothermia.
We took the night to dry everything out and get warmed up in a nice warm hotel room.
Before bed on day 2, we had a Tramily meeting and that is where Misti let us know she was deciding to get off the trail.