April 10, 1998

4/10/98 Overmountain Shelter

13.9 miles (374.0 total)

Next morning with the beginnings of a snow storm

In the morning, I was cold and still waiting for it to stop raining. But the sound on the tent was wrong, more like sleet. Sure enough, I pop my head out and discover an inch of snow and sleet. So a quick pop-tart and off I’m going. I wanted to get to the shelter before EWOS and Smiley left. Actually I was only about an hour away. The data book seemed all screwed up in this section. I found EWOS, Smiley, Ghandi and Orco still in their sleeping bags. Even though I tented, I probably was warmer last night.

Ghandi, Smiley, and EWOS had snow covering
the foot of their sleeping bags this morning

Orco is a kid from Ohio. We ended up breaking trail for everyone else in the fresh snow. I was so glad I ended up closer to Roan Mountain. It was a long climb with each of us changing the lead. Believe it or not, we still met some day-hikers. Once on top of Roan, Orco and I missed the turn off for the trail.

The snow was getting deeper as we ascended Roan Mountain

We ended up in the visitor parking area with the wind and snow getting worse. When trying to backtrack we found our first footprints already filled with snow and obscured. Finally found a blaze and headed down again. Met up with everyone at Roan High Knob shelter. Where they proceed to tell Orco and I about the trail angel that fed them soup, muffins and hot cocoa. Yes, I was envious (I sort of didn’t believe them but the oranges they had proved it).

At Carver’s Gap things changed dramatically. I didn’t know we had a bald to go over also, which in this blizzard was even worse. The wind felt incredibly strong and you couldn’t see 20-feet in front of you. Plus the fact that the blazes were probably covered with snow, made this a place easy to get lost. Once off the bald, the trail was easier to find but no easier to hike. I was a man with a mission; get to the Overmountain shelter.

The sight of the huge red barn was a very welcome sight after a day like today. Already in residence were Chopper & Lightfoot, and an older couple just out for the weekend. Later, three kids, also out for the weekend, showed up but they were very unprepared. They didn’t even have a stove. Ghandi offered me space in his tent, so I helped with put it up in the loft of the barn. While there were large spaces between the boards of the walls, it had a very good roof. But it was still a cold night sleeping.