That was flat-out scary last night for the Appalachian trail thru-hikers. The temperature flipped 30 or 40 degrees in a matter of hours. Worse, the wind shook the forest, and stirred the hikers’ deepest fears.
Many hikers apparently got caught in it. Neel’s Gap was jammed packed. When I spoke with them this morning, they had taken in all they could, and were sending people down the mountain to seek safety. Where is Miss Janet? She is supposedly thru-hiking the AT this year.
But the bottom line is–and this comes from a fair-weathered hiker–bad weather is existential to an Appalachian Trail thru-hike. And the worst weather you face is probably gonna’ come early, not late. Northerners are often dumbfounded to see just how cold it can get in Georgia in the spring. Yet every year’s class of thru-hikers has gory tales to tell, often in the Smokies which you hit on the third week. But it’sall offset by the fabulous trail magic you get in the first two states. That’s a fair tradeoff.