Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving on the AT

Months ago, we decided that we would use the 4 day Thanksgiving weekend to go hiking on the AT. It worked out nicely that my uncle and cousin had similar plans, so we were able to coordinate with them for drop off and pickup. It's too bad we couldn't join the Parks or Dicksons who were both coincidentally in Texas, but it's hard to justify traveling for such a short and hectic holiday.

We went down to one of the best sections of the trail, near Roanoke. The section we did includes Tinker Cliffs, McAfee Knob, and Dragon's Tooth. We haven't done very much winter hiking, and this Thanksgiving showed some record low temperatures for Virginia. We packed warm, and off we went early Thursday down to Catawba.

I don't know if it was the lighting or luck or Beau developing his photographer's eye, but he took some great pictures this weekend!

heading up to Tinker
We were both in 0' sleeping bags and many many layers including thermals, down jackets, thick gloves, and multiple socks. Thank goodness for mummy sleeping bags.

Beau's face in this one cracks me up. This was the third attempt after he kept closing his eyes.
We got up bright and early Friday morning to catch sunrise on McAfee Knob. The sky was absolutely gorgeous.

the view from our shelter the first night

on the knob
 We set up our sleeping bags and made our breakfast and hot chocolate. Breakfast in bed.

Eventually we had to get up and get going. That was the hard part.

Even though it was freezing at night, the day temperatures weren't too bad when while we were hiking. The trail was pretty empty and we really enjoyed the better views that winter affords. The trail looked so different from when we were there on our thru hike because we could see through the trees and down the ridge line.

On our thru hike, we did this section going the other direction, so I had forgotten how technical the climb is up Dragon's Tooth. This would be way more fun with a day pack.

Cooking dinner in the dark. The shorter daylight hours kill me.
We had a new tent we've only used once, so it was nice to get acquainted with it. I must admit it's a huge relief to know that I never have to hike and tent in the rain again. I'm a day/occasional weekend hiker now and I love it. (Plus, on the PCT it rarely rains.....)

 The whole trip was pretty perfect. We planned just the right number of miles, brought just the right amount of food, and had a great time!

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