Tarzan (Chris) did a great job positioning us for a heck of a sunrise (and moonrise and sunset)! We had a roaring fire and then I slept really well until about 6:00am or so when the sinuses kicked in. However today didn't seem as bad. Made some coffee today for the first time in a while, and boy it was nice!
We got to hiking around 9am, and hiked to the next shelter which was about 3 miles away. Along the way we ran into a guy that claimed to be Big E's uncle. He was hiking southbound to try to meet up and surprise his nephew. How cool! (oh man...I'm starting to use Flosser (Brian) phrases now). Anyway, he mentioned there was some good trail magic ahead after the shelter at Sam Gap. We got to the shelter and saw a sign that said "scrambled eggs, hash browns, muffins, oranges, orange juice, milk, soda, 8:15am to 2:30pm, 2.9 miles north. I'll be there as long as life allows". SWEET! We refilled on water at the shelter, then headed along, sites set on trail magic ahead. We got there around noon, and met "Coach" and Paul. Coach thru hiked in 2002, and Paul in 2007. These two are part of the North Carolina Mountain Club and enjoy helping hikers out when they can. We poured ourselves some orange juice and sat down while Paul whipped us each up a full plate of eggs and hash browns! DELICIOUS! Gone in no time. Then it was on to and orange for me, then a huge muffin, then a Sprite. I was pretty full at that point, but had they offered more eggs and/or hash browns, I would have gladly eaten more. We were told that some of the other hikers in the morning let them know that we would be coming through after them, so they made sure to stick around. We got heading out and hiked for about another 10 miles to the top of Big Bald. 360 degree view of all the mountains around us! There is a shelter about a mile further, but we decided to set ourselves up for another great sunset, and an Easter sunrise. This place has some amazing views. Very windy, but overall and incredible place to be (we will see if that statement holds true by the morning). I'm not sure what it is about Easter weekends, but the past few years have taken me to some cool places. Last year I had a Portuguese Easter in the mountains that ended with my first time shooting a handgun. Two years ago I was in New Hampshire, hiking up in snow in 70 degree weather, getting up to the top of Tuckerman Ravine (birthplace of extreme skiing) only to turn around and snowboard down some of the craziest backcountry terrain I've ever been in. Three years ago I had breakfast at the mansion Quad owns (the Brackett House) in Saratoga Springs, NY with a few fellow trainees and one of their parents who were visiting. We followed that meal up with a great day hike in the Adirondacks. This year, I'm going to sleep on top of a windy mountain around at 5,000+ feet. Currently the temp in my tent reads 35 degrees at 9:15pm. Tomorrow morning will probably be a chilly one, but with my tent opening facing east, hopefully I'll be able to catch a beautiful Easter sunrise from the comfort of my 20 degree sleeping bag! A few other hikers went to camp lower, due to the chilly wind, but plan to hike back up for sunrise. I really wish were going to be in town for Easter service tomorrow, but unfortunately we are still about 15-20 miles out of town.
Here's to hoping the wind doesn't rip our tents down, and that we stay warm enough. Wonder how low the temp will drop...
I'll post results after.