100 Miles / 5 days: The Appalachian Trail (Day 2 – 11.23.14)

Fallen tree over the trail

The second day, I woke and started moving with a purpose: to outrun the rain that was on the way! I had been checking the weather like it was my favorite t.v. show the week leading up to the trip and I knew the second day was going to have thunderstorms in the afternoon lasting through the night. I had 16 miles to cover and the bad weather was supposed to roll in about 2pm. I woke up, made breakfast, packed up my gear and sipped down my last bit of coffee as I let out onto the trail in the dark.

I trekked a few miles by headlamp, downhill to Jennings Springs where I filtered water for the day ahead of me. The morning was chilly and filtering the cold water was a chore in and of itself! Once complete I started the uphill battle towards Thunder Hill about 3000 feet above my current elevation. I had some work to do! The sun slowly rose but never peaked through the overcast morning protecting the cool canyons where the creeks trickled through. On one such creek crossing I stumbled upon Bryant Ridge shelter, this was well built sizeable double decker was meant to house 20 people! I took a quick break here before pushing on through the woods to my next stop.

Bryant Ridge Shelter

As I trekked upwards towards ridge where I planned to camp a creepy fog rolled in. I knew this was the precursor to the thunderstorms which were marching towards me. The low lying cloud engulfed the twisted woods around me and reminded me of a scene out of sleepy hollow. To add to the fun I walked past a tree that had been freshly stripped of bark from about 9 feet up to the base. There was no mistaking that this was bear sign. Only thing I could do was keep trekking.

Bring on the Fog!

It started to sprinkle just a mile before my destination, I quickly threw on my rain jacket and pack cover and pushed through the fog. I finally reached the empty shelter and set up camp, filtered more water, and got into my tent ready to read the rest of the rainy afternoon. Just as I went to zip the tent closed a cold wet nose came sniffing my hand! To my relief it was a German shepherd named Chaos (and not a bear). A southbound through hiker and his dog “Chaos and Company” had just arrived to seek haven in the shelter from the rain. They had started hiking in Pennsylvania for a short 4 day trip which turned into a 2 month excursion after they decided just to stay on trail. They were a funny crew: he told me about only treating AT water with bleach, special all natural dog food for Chaos, his homemade couscous StoveTop Ramen meals, and his weakness for coffee (guy had a full bag of sugar and creamer, obviously lot too concerned with weight). It always amazing the people you meet out on the trial! I finished a few pages of my book and passed out to the sound of rain on the shelter roof.

  • Up up we go! Leaving Bryan Ridge Shelter getting ready to climb to Thunder Hill


  • Weather: Hi 50s, Low in the upper 30s, Overcast Thunderstorms
  • Water: 5 liters
  • Food: 2 Nature Valley Peanut butter granola bar, 2 Clif Bars, 1 meal replacement protien bar, 1 bag of beef jerky (3oz), 1 via starbucks instant coffee, 1 Quaker Real Medleys, 1 Mountain House Beef Stroganoff meal, pro bag energy gummys, Doritos, 3 Oreos
  • Time: 8 hours day 2
  • Distance: 16 Miles one way from Cove Mountain Shelter to Thunder Hill Shelter


  • 58 liter exos osprey backpack
  • Big Anges UL2 tent
  • Flash REI sleeping pad
  • Cosmic Down Kelty Sleeping Bag (rated to 20 deg F)
  • Cocoon Sleeping Bag liner
  • Jet Boil – Sol
  • Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Sawyer squeeze water filter


  • Smart wool 195 long sleeve shirt
  • Smart wool beanie cap
  • Serius Ski Facemask
  • Patagonia Pants
  • Arc’teryx Mid layer Hoody
  • Merrell Mid Moab Hiking Boots
  • Smart wool medium weight sox and liners
  • Giro Mountain Biking Gloves

4 thoughts on “100 Miles / 5 days: The Appalachian Trail (Day 2 – 11.23.14)”

  1. Wow, the temperatures are milder than I thought they would be. We are getting 10 degree days here in New England. I’d love to be on the VA trail right now with 50 degree days.

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