One might think that because it is April, and a ways into that season called "Spring," one might no longer be encountering freezing temperatures and white stuff falling from the sky, but alas that is not the case. Nope, on April 5, 2013, one could find a number of hikers trudging through 6-8 inches of snow. Again. 

The day didn't even start out good. The previous night I spent tossing and turning unable to sleep. Finally, at 6:30 I stopped trying to return to that blissful state of rest, and begrudgingly unzipped my cozy sleeping bag, immediately being greeted by cold air. Eating, dressing and packing my belongings as fast as possible, I headed out to tackle the 24 mile day we had planned. 

For reasons I could not explain (though it probably had to do with the fact that I had gotten approximately 2 hours of sleep the night before) my energy levels were hovering at just about 0%. It took me an embarrassing five hours to walk a measly ten miles to the first shelter, just as it had started to sleet and rain. A nice winter mix you might call it. 

After a delicious tortilla and peanut butter sandwich for lunch, I headed back out again and was greeted by a drop in temperature resulting in large snowballs falling from the sky. Yep, the white stuff was back. Five hours later you could find me alone, shivering, and trudging through ankle-deep snow frantically brainstorming an escape plan off the trail, including a one-way ticket to my warm, cozy bed back in MA. 

When I got to the next road-crossing, I was ever so thankful to find Aloha, Skeetbutter and Arrowhead waiting for me, letting me know that we were all going to hike the 2 miles into the nearby town. Except, it turned out to be 5 miles away. After walking for a few minutes one guy in a truck rolled down his window and instead of thoughtfully asking if we wanted a hitch, informed us all that we were all "nuts." Great. Thanks. Like I didn't already know that. 

After three miles of trekking down the highway we finally did catch a hitch from a nice older man, and all piled into the bed of his truck, and endured a very cold and painful (switched back to sleet) ride into Bland. He dropped us off at the Dairy Queen where we inhaled a ton of food (I had my very first Blizzard!) before heading over to the motel, only to find out that it was full. 

Getting desperate, we called a guy named Bubba (wish I was kidding) and got a ride in his truck over to a motel 12 miles away. Aloha and Arrowhead ever so bravely rode in the bed of his truck on the interstate, in the snow! Snaps for them! We arrived at the motel safe and sound however, and were incredibly grateful to be warm and dry once more. In the morning Bubba gave us a ride back to the trail head, where he entertained us during the ride by telling us stories of his youthful past. 

That day it was warm and sunny, reaching 70 degrees. 
Hiker bums


04/08/2013 6:07pm

Yeah, you guys are nuts.

Glad you got warm!

04/09/2013 7:58am

Mary after the day I just had Ithink I finally understand what ur going through. Mummy and I spent a grueling 1.5 hrs hiking in sweltering 70 degree heat while I carried a 10 lb bag of moms books...Life on the trail I guess

04/09/2013 8:15am

Wish you were here. I think you'd love it though you'd be impatient with my lack of speed.

Gail Wright
04/09/2013 12:44pm

April in Virginia - snow?????

Sue Doisneau
04/10/2013 11:47am

Hi Mary, I actually found out about you from my cousin in Hawaii! Small world. My son is also doing a gap year - graduated from Needham HS last June. After working in Maui for 9 months, he's also on the AT - approaching the VA border in a few days. If you bump into California Tin Man (although he's never been to CA - just looks like it!) say hello. And, I appreciate your parents apprehension about doing it alone! So glad it's working out. Your blog is great! What a wonderful journey - snow, rain and all!

Bobbi Fisher
04/15/2013 5:10pm

Hey Mary, We love you in MA and are sending you warm thoughts. Keep that Iona stone in your pocket or in your heart.


Leave a Reply