Day 17 – Wet and Cold Describe Today

Wet and cold describe today's weather. I left Elmer's Sunnyside Inn at 6:45am and took Main Street across the bridge over the French Broad River. The Appalachian Trail soon gained elevation through the forest that burned last week. Most of the forest did not burn that especially hot judging from the fact that few trees died. As I climbed, sleet fell and the air temperature plummeted. By the time I arrived at the Spring Mountain shelter 11 miles on the day, my fingers were freezing. I planned a pleasant lunch at the shelter but ate quickly. Through hiker Meliore sat in the shelter in his sleeping bag and coat looking dejected. He wasn't going anywhere. I put on my long john top and headed uphill for a short ways then lost elevation for four miles. Then another five-mile climb to Little Laurel shelter. Blessedly, the rain ceased on the climb to the shelter. I got a sleeping spot in the shelter then cooked spaghetti, which was the envy of the other hikers. Two of the hikers somehow got a fire going for moral support. In the photo they look forlorn, possibly from anticipating the cold night ahead. Today's miles - 19.6. Total miles - 293.3.

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