The weather was even worse than yesterday. Gale force wind gusts and rain pelting sideways with a little bit of hail thrown in the mix, just for variety. And, like yesterday, we had the opportunity to hike across two unprotected grassy balds.
I will say this: on a nice sunny day, this was probably a delightful hike. The trail meandered all around, giving you the opportunity to take in the views of the valley below from all angles. For us, however, it gave us the opportunity to get blasted by the wind from all directions. My pack cover blew off my pack and was dangling by the one strap that clicks behind the arm straps, essentially turning the pack cover into a parachute. My rain jacket hood blew off, the Cliff Bar blew out of the outer pocket on my waist strap. The mucus was blown out of my nose! (Gross. But at lease I can now say I've mastered the farmer's blow) Miraculously, my baseball hat remained on my head. Several times, I ducked down onto all fours to let a gust die down before getting up and pushing forward.
And these two balds? Were endless. We walked for like, 3 miles unprotected in the wind. Climbing over fences and getting blown off. Walking with one foot on either side of the trail to avoid the water and mud. Crouched over, head down, eyes about 5 feet in front of us.
Finally, we entered the forrest and began the descent into Roan Mountain. For all that weather to contend with, we covered 9 miles in 3 hours 45 minutes. Not bad.
Since the weather was so bad and there were so many hikers taking refuge in town, we ended up getting a room in a lodge in Newland NC, 10 miles outside of Roan Mountain, TN.
And the day ended with us showered, warm, full bellies from a little restaurant called The Mason Jar, and reclining on the bed watching TV while our gear dried out in the room.
Just imagine the smell!