Day 36: Pond Flats to Iron Mountain Shelter

Today’s mileage: 19.1
Total mileage: 440.8

We got up a bit earlier today to make sure we packed everything up before the rain hit. The first 8 miles or so weren’t bad at all. We had to take a detour however near Watauga Lake since it had flooded recently. Trees, benches, and picnic tables were now in the lake. We got a little trail magic there however in the form of apples. We ate them as we took the detour past a few homes and horses.

It had rained a little on and off in the morning, but just as we hit the ridge line we would be hiking on for most of the day, it started to pour. I had been sweating with my raincoat on beforehand and not ten minutes later, I was soaked. The wind was blowing so hard and the rain was just coming down like no other. I have a rain wrap instead or pants, which I thought was a good idea when I bought it last fall. Today I wish I had the pants. The damn thing kept riding up exposing my legs to the elements. I had really liked it up until today. Instead I was cursing at it all day. Not that it mattered. I was soaked from top to bottom with sweat and rain. Hey, at least me feet didn’t really hurt today. Maybe it was all the water in my boots and socks. It must have provided me with some extra cushioning. 😉

I was super frustrated dealing with the rain wrap, the cold caused by the wind, and the fact that my hands were freezing. If I didn’t keep them moving, they froze up. Both of us were having a hard time doing anything with our hands up until we got to camp and warmed up. It wasn’t as cold as it was a couple of weeks ago, but a driving rain and high wind make everything miserable. I got hungry, but I didn’t want to stop, take my pack off, and get cold. Not to mention delay the time it would take us to get to camp. I was in survival mode. I just wanted to be warm and dry.

Thankfully, we made good time and hiked the 19 miles in just over 8 hours. We even did a little jogging to stay warm. I didn’t know it was even possible for me to run with a 30ish lb. pack on my back.

We could have stopped at the second shelter we passed today like we did in the Smokies that day when there was freezing rain. But we knew even if we took a break there, we wouldn’t want to move on. What got me through today was the promise of crossing over into Virginia tomorrow. We’ve still got a long day ahead of us tomorrow, but I really can’t believe we’ve made it this far. Heading into Virginia and at almost 500 miles! Next time I report in we’ll be in our fourth state. Here’s to hoping for a sunny day tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “Day 36: Pond Flats to Iron Mountain Shelter

  1. You two are troopers hiking so long in the rain, but i guess that is what you got to do. I hope warmer temps will help you out.

    We are spending alot of time in front of the tv here regarding boston. one suspect is dead and the other is in custody. been a long day and boston law enforcement have done well! everyone can sleep better tonight and maybe some answers will come out.


  2. Your athleticism and sports competitiveness have been kicking in lately, allowing you to persevere through all tough conditions and still hike 18-19 miles. Plus, you did all that road racing to get in shape, which was a great idea. Though you’re not road warriors like the Kenyans and Ethiopians, you can climb the mountains as well as anyone. Tomorrow you’ll be in my home state. Hope you get a real long stretch of sunny weather for good ole Virginny. I enjoyed the mountains and the Shenandoah Valley by car, but the scenery always passed by too fast. Now you can enjoy it all the right way, and this time I’m envious. Take care, Dad.

    On Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 9:31 PM, Dirigo Bound

  3. Hi guys! Enjoy the day…..beautiful trail into Damascus! Will u stay at the Place? Its run by the Methodist church, and a great trail facility! Take a couple days off….WE rented bicycles and got a ride up the Creeper Trail at a shuttle service and had a great day all down hill! The creeper trail is very historic, fun, loaded with waterfalls! Well worth exploring! Damascus is a milestone…..congratulations! PS I echo your Mom’s relief about Boston, the brother terrorists lived about 2 blocks from my daughter, her husband and my 1 yr old grandson…….too close! Very thankful this emotional week is over! Time to celebrate! Sherpa

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