Sunday, February 3, 2013

Snow Storm Adventures Part 1

Like any true adventure, I learned more and ended up having way more fun on this trip than a typical trip where things go according to plan.

After setting up the shuttle, the trip began at Bushy Head Gap on the Benton MacKaye Trail.  The plan was for an overnight backpack on Sections 8 and 9 with a guy I met on the Hammock Forum hang.  Rain was forecast in the evening, but the morning started off cool but dry.
By mid-morning the first snowflakes began to fall.  "Surely the snow won't stick!"   The forecast didn't say anything about accumulations...
Gorgeous snow quickly transformed the forest.
Nevertheless, several inches cloaked the forest by lunchtime, and the large puffy flakes showed no sign of letting up.  I was prepared for cold temperatures and rain, but this?  Continuting on meant higher elevations, more remote terrain, and potentially dangerous weather.  We decided to hike back out to Bushy Head Gap.  It turned out to be a good call- I would later find out that my car (parked at Watson Gap) would not have made it down that steep mountain road with all that snow for a few days.

The road was so slick and steep that we didn't make it even a mile before my friend's truck got stuck in the road.  Local guys, driving around in their trucks around seemingly for fun, offered to help move the truck.
A rope tied around a tree prevented the truck from sliding down the cliff...
...though unfortunately it still ended up stuck in the ditch on the other side of the road.
 I was quite impressed how everyone was so willing to help out.  (Though granted their path was blocked...)  Some of these guys willingly put selves on the downslope side of a truck on such slippery footing -- for complete strangers-- this was dangerous stuff.  It was something else!

And the kindness didn't stop there!  A couple who had stopped to help also offered a ride into town in their jeep.   We lucked out because they knew where to drop us off too--  the Waffle King, the local hangout and place to be in Blue Ridge (waffles AND beer!) where there were more offers of help along with the endless refills of hot coffee.  Seeing our backpackspacks and overhearing our story, strangers (whose nephew had hiked the AT) offer to buy us a hotel room.  More sweet folks at Waffle King offered advice and wrecker service recommendations, then finally offered us a ride to cars- offers that we didn't accept but for which I am grateful.

As evening approached, I informed my super-awesome friend Kellye and also my wonderful roommate Karen of my situation.  Let me tell you-- there is nothing in the world like getting a message saying "Do I need to come get you?" on a snowy day when you are a hundred miles away.  Due to the hazardous road conditions, we ended up staying the night at a hotel.  But the next day, my friends totally came through for me- both ended up driving me parts of the long, long way home.  Now that's real friendship! 

But the adventure wasn't over yet....  Stay tuned for Part 2...

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