Sunrise on Noland Divide
From Regina’s 2013 Journal –
Winter Walk on the Benton MacKaye Trail
It’s our fourth morning on the trail. It’s still dark, but the short day length nudges me to wake up and get started before daylight. I listen. “It’s not raining! Hurray! “ The lack of falling rain, however, does not mean that it’s dry! Here at 4,000 feet elevation in the Great Smoky Mountains, it’s not raining because we are in the clouds.
Warm and snug in our double layer down sleeping bags, I can imagine pacing down the trail feeling warmed by brisk walking in the cold, foggy air. That will feel great! What deters me, however, is resisting the transition from being warm inside to being warm outside! In between, there’s a careful, methodical procedure of striking camp that promises a comical dance with cold and wet that unfolds in quickly executed steps. You see, we don’t carry extra clothes, just one set of inside clothes to wear in the tent, and one set of outside clothes to wear on the trail. Since it rained yesterday, our outermost layers are wet. Our dance goes something like this: