Day 25 – Hogback Ridge Shelter to stealth site about 13 miles from Erwin, TN

One thing I forgot about last nights shelter: the walk to the water added at least another mile to the total for the day. In have seriously never seen water so far away from a permanent shelter.

Whew, ok with that out of the way, today was a weird weather day. We left camp about 8:30 since we weren’t in any big hurry today, with a plan of only 13 miles. For the the first couple hours / first 5 miles, it started like the last couple: cloudy with moderate temps and a few sprinkles. Honestly perfect hiking weather if you can stand the dampness.

We stopped for lunch a little early (luckily) after about 6 miles by 11. As we left our lunch spot it started to sprinkle a little harder. As we started the major climb off the day to reach the “peak” of big bald (it’s a pretty flat peak) we came across some trail magic that a local hiking club had left out. Since we had been so late getting out of camp, all that was left were a few cuties, but it was delicious. They also had trash bags which was welcome.

Nearly as soon as we left that trail magic, things started to get dicey. The rain picked up, the wind really picked up and the temp dropped. For the first time we actually stopped to put on our rain gear. We continued our climb, missing the bad weather by pass trail 😔. Fortunately there was no lightening, it was just really windy, rainy and cold. At the peak, I nearly got blown over a few times.

The band continued for quite a ways, which meant we were exposed through all of it. We did get a little rest from the wind when we came down the backside, but we were right back into it when we started another climb. After another couple miles we made it to the shelter…which already housed every other hiker within a 5 mile radius 😂 (I’d guess about 20). We all managed to cram in the bunks and porch and waited out the storm. We both had to change clothes to stay warm – you loose heat fast when you stop hiking, especially when you are wet.

The wind and rain died down about 45 mins later and we set out to cover the last 3 or so miles to our intended camp for the night. Good news is we had a climb in front of us, which we used to get warm. Bad news is the last 2 miles was mostly downhill after that and with all the rain was more than just a little slippery.

As we hiked, the sun started to burn off the clouds and the fog. After some careful footing (and a few wipe outs) we made it to camp around 3:30 and it was some of the best weather I’ve had on trail yet. Bright blue skies, clear sun, perfect temps and low humidity. I was imagining trying to make some hot chocolate when I got to camp under my tarp and instead I setup my hammock (sans tarp) and took a nap!

I saw some more weather was coming in (writing this from my hammock in a lovely light rain and thunderstorm) so we prepared dinner a little early, around 5:30. As we finished up we were joined by 4 other THs.

Hopefully the rain passes through and we have a good hike into Erwin. Either way, we’ve got a cabin and town food to look forward to. I’ve got to take Josh out for his Birthday to the finest restaurant in Erwin, TN!






One response to “Day 25 – Hogback Ridge Shelter to stealth site about 13 miles from Erwin, TN”

  1. Michele Avatar

    So proud of you! And also happy you didn’t get hurt when you “wiped out”. ❤️

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