AT (19E, N to Bob Peoples Kincora Hostel), 2/10

Feb. 13 & 14, 2010

24.6 miles

For the last trip of the season Bob and I were trying to find a low elevation trip that wouldn’t have too much snow.  After this incredible snowy winter we decided to do the relatively low elevation section of the AT from 19E, just north of the Roan Massif, to Laurel Fork gorge.

I called Bob Peoples, who has shuttled us before, to check on snow levels and if he could do a shuttle for us.  He said no problem, only about 2-3 inches of snow at his place.

We drove up early Sat. in new snow and through Wilkesboro the cars were sliding off the road all over the place and we almost turned around.  We got to Bob’s Kincora Hostel about 10:00 and turned around to take the truck back to park it in Hampton and then on to the trail head.

On the trail by 11:30 and it was windy and cold.  Pretty quickly the snow turned to 6 inches deep of light powder.

It snowed lightly all afternoon and we passed only one other couple out day hiking.  We passed by this great set of water falls that were all frozen up.  Temps never got out of the 20’s.

We slogged on to the new deluxe Mountaineer shelter around 4:30, which we had all to ourselves.  Nearly 9 miles since noon. Nice fire that night and to sleep like babies.

It snowed all night and we woke up to at least 8 inches and 17 degrees.  It was very slow going all day with lots of knocking of snow off the rhododendrons and down our backs, we were barely averaging 1.5 mph.  The sun did come out though and it was very beautiful even though it never got above freezing.  We came to one great overlook with good views towards the Roan ridge.  We later heard that the drifts were waist deep up on Roan.

It became a death march and as we moved along we quickly began thinking about stopping short in Dennis Cove and getting Bob to take us out to the truck.  We knew that another storm was coming in on Monday and we figured it might be wiser to get back over the mountain before it did.  So we thrashed on and hit the road after dark, 6:30.  Almost 16 miles in the snow today.  Bob does take us to the truck and we head home.  Another death march.

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