Beauty Spot Gap (354.5) to Ash Gap (375.5)
I’m not sure how long the rain and snow continued last night, I slept like the dead. It was cold, well below freezing. When I started hiking I was wearing every layer of clothing I had. My hands were tucked away inside the pockets of my puffy down jacket. Why did I get rid of my gloves!!!!
The climb to the top of Unaka Mountain was surreal. Everything in nature conspired to make it a photographers paradise. The light, the cloud, the snow and the scenery was the best I’ve seen on the trail to date. If the amount of photos I take is representative of how much I liked the trail then I liked it x80. Sorry, I’m only putting a couple of photos on the blog.
In the midst of the snow covered summit there were icicles hanging from anywhere and everywhere. I love extremes of weather. Many years ago I lived and worked in Canada in northern Saskatchewan. I endured the winter that had temperatures as low as -45, with the wind chill it was -63C. Despite hating the cold I loved the experience of such a brutally cold temperature, oh Lloydminster I hope I never visit you again.
When I was at the summit there was another hiker enjoying the serenity. He mentioned that he was a model railway enthusiast and he modelled the landscape on these mountains. Apparently an old railway line ran through these mountains somewhere. He was out enjoying the place at his own pace, taking it all in.
After cresting the mountain I put my head down and made a few miles. It wasn’t until 11.30am when I took off my down jacket. It remained cold all day which had me eating much more than normal.
As the afternoon wore on I contemplated where I might camp. Initially I wanted to camp at the highest shelter on the Appalachian Trail. At 6249ft, Roan High Knob Shelter was my goal, but the afternoon grew very cold very quickly. A couple of miles short of my goal I found a sheltered site at Ash Gap. At 5300ft it should be warmer and there were some nice campsites. As the evening progressed several other hikers appeared, mostly faces I’d never seen before.