Began the day with OJ and hash browns from McDonalds. My first breakfast other than a Clif bar on this trip. Got the shuttle to Winding Stair gap driven by a guy named Ron Haven, who owns Baltimore Jacks, a local hostel, and who apparently once owned the Sapphire Inn. He was quite a character, who claimed to be a former pro wrestler – he visited Martinez, Stockton, and LA in California during his pro career. Pretty conservative guy, but hey, liberal hiker money is just as good as anyone else’s. He was very friendly and gave some good advice for the trail.
He dropped us off at Winding Stair Gap where, in my rush to get out of the rain the day before, I had left my poles. Realizing how important poles are to hiking the trail, I had purchased a single pole at the outfitter store. To my delight, both my poles where were I had left them the day before. I gladly grabbed them and set off on my way. The day was quite cold and I’m glad I had a pair of gloves, although they were not as insulated as they could have been and my hands kept getting cold. This continued for several hours.
The first stop for the day was at Siler Bald. Which provided a terrific 360 degree view of the area. I took off my pack and took a short 10 minute walk to the top. I came to learn that a Bald is a mountain with a meadow on top.
After a few more hours of walking I came to Wayah Bald, which had a fire tower, and more Trail Magic, for which I was grateful.
After Wayah Bald, I hiked a few more hours to the campground just outside Cold Spring shelter and arrived around 7 pm. It was quite cold and I quickly made dinner by heating water with my jet boil to have my last rehydrated meal. After a day hiking, these dinners taste sooo good. It has been a long day, although with the shuttle ride, we didn’t get started hiking til about 10 am, so not too much longer than the other days.
This was to be my last night on the Trail this trip. I was camped with a group on the ridge and it got cold as the sun was going down, I got into my sleeping bag as soon as it got dark. My feet were cold during the night – need better insulated sleeping socks next time.
I did make my only wrong turn on the trip today and went in the wrong direction for about 15-20 mins, but realized I was on the wrong trail and back-tracked. The Gut Hook app I had bought for my phone confirmed this, so Im glad I had the app. The trail was marked, but I wasn’t paying closed enough attention. Also ran into a family hiking there Trail. The father was 0n a few month sabbatical and one of his kids suggested they hike the AT. It was great to see the kids running and laughing down the Trail as I struggled to climb the next hill!
From the top of Siler Bald