April 8, 2000

Apple House Shelter, TN 15 Miles Hiked Today 385 of 2167 Miles Hiked Total

Apple House Shelter covered with snowOld man winter gave us one last blast today. It was 42 degrees at dawn and overcast and eventually the temps dropped. It was 38 degrees at lunch and had been raining. Just after lunch it started to sleet, just in time to go over two big balds where there is no protection from the wind. Oh, the wind. It was blowing about 40 mph with gusts greater than that. At that rate it was wind chill of 0 degrees. It was exciting to be there at 5000 ft. having difficulty walking a straight line. It was the hardest wind I've been in. One bald was supposedly an experiment with using goats to keep forest encroachment down. Others believe it was Native Americans and others think aliens. One guy got hypothermia on top of one today and had to be rescued by a stranger and some others. He just fell over on top of a bald, wouldn't get up and wouldn't talk. They had to put him in a bag in a tent and feed him honey and hot chocolate.

Snake - Timer Rattler?Right near the end of the day I saw another snake. Why it was out in the upper 30s I'm not sure. It was real sluggish and moving down trail. About 2.5 ft long with a viper shaped head it didn't like being touched and flared its head at me. I held it down with the side of a hiking stick and picked him up behind the head. I didn't see any fangs when its mouth opened but the best I can tell it was a timber rattler. Maybe not though since I didn't see rattles. You can look at the picture.

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