START: Locust Cove Gap, NC
FINISH: Deep Gap Shelter, GA
DISTANCE: 81.6 miles (131.3 km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 27.2 miles (43.8 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 2117 miles (3406.3 km)
It’s a Wonderful Life…….except on Mondays: Monday, December 24…….yep, you guessed it, bucketed down all day. Occasionally in life there is a certain comforting feeling which comes with predictability. Like watching a James Bond film and knowing that no matter what dire predicament the hero may find himself in, inevitably he will extricate himself from the situation and ultimately emerge victorious. In my case, each Monday bringing freezing rain has absolutely not one iota of the above mentioned “comfort in predictability”. Indeed, the sensation is more akin to a metaphorical and meteorological black cloud which inevitably makes its way to wherever I happen to be walking each and every time the clock strikes midnight on Sunday evening. I bet Jimmy Stewart would understand……….
My Favourite Shelter: On December 26, I was hoping to make it to Tray Mountain shelter, thereby leaving myself only 26 or 27 miles to Neels Gap. Aaaaahhh the best laid plans! A dramatic drop in temperature combined with bone, nay soul, chilling gusts forced a a rethink. I cut short my day/evening by making a beeline for Deep Gap shelter…….what a great decision! Wonderfully protected from the brunt of the elements, this two story haven has an attic-style second floor, through which entered not even a zephyr, even though Mother Nature was firing on all meteorological (that’s twice in the same post…… maybe I should have been a weather man rather than a hiker?) cylinders outside.