Day 9 was a zero-day for me as I try and get my head back in the game and dodge the frigid cold temperatures of the day (windchill made it feel like single digits).
I used this time to make a video reflecting on what I was feeling. I feel like so many YouTubers do not talk about what really happens on the trail and instead only shows the rainbows, unicorns and glitter farts.
Feel free to watch day 9 video below:
DAY 10: Hogpen Gap to Unicoi Gap
Day 10 was a much better day. I headed out to complete a 14-mile day from Hogpen Gap to Unicoi Gap. I checked the weather before heading out and it said possible snow flurries ending by 11am.
I chose to leave behind my microspikes and all food (except for the day’s snacks and lunch) back at the hotel since I would be returning. I took all of my other gear with me.
When we got to Hogpen gap it was mighty cold but beautiful.
These 14 miles were going to be easy (compared to the rest of the trail we had already completed) or so I thought.
The first 7 miles showed me that I’d have these 14 miles knocked out my 3pm, then the flurries started.
No problem, I’m still booking right along; then the flurries turn into full-blown out wet ice and snow. Before we know it the ground is quickly becoming covered and it is still coming down and coming down hard.
You can no longer see the trail or what it is you may step on below the snow as it accumulated to 2-3 inches.
My pace had come to a screeching halt. Every step your foot slides. The trail might of as well of been an ice skating rink. The last 7 miles took me 5.5 hours, the first 7 took 3.5 hours.
I said goodby to 2 Cents at Blue Mountain Shelter and found out that Search and Rescue were on their way up to rescue a lady who had gotten injured and was waiting at the shelter.
Shortly past the shelter, I ran into a guy with a chainsaw. It was the fire department clearing a path for their ATV. I talked to them for a minute, told them I had hurt my knee and ankle too, but I was going to try and hike myself out. He told me to follow their tracks and if I felt I couldn’t do it to sit and wait, they’d be back around and give me a lift down if I decided to change my mind.
I continued my way to the top so I could start my descent down. I passed a 2019 SOBO and talked with her for a bit and then continued my trek.
Eventually, the Fire Department came back around with the injured and asked again if I wanted a ride down. I politely declined and he asked, “are you sure”? I’m fine, I’ll be good. Apparently I should have taken him up on his offer. As I started my descent down the mountain, I realized just how stupid this idea was.
The snow covered the big boulders of rocks, the roots, and even holes. I fell so many times that I lost count and at one point literally almost slid down the side of the mountain. My knee and ankle took an even bigger beating and by the time I made it to the parking lot where my shuttle driver was waiting, I could barely walk.
Once I was back in my hotel room in Hiawassee, I Facetimed my husband (an EMT) who gave me a quick assessment. ER was not needed, but I would need to RICE it for a couple of days. Tomorrow the pain would probably be worse but should start getting better on Day 2. If not, I needed to go to the ER. I guess I won’t be doing the 17 miles I planned to do on Sunday since finding out this morning that no one could get up to Tray Gap (according to my shuttle driver)!