Last night we could all see the mist coming into the shelter and feel little tiny drops on our faces so I thought to myself before sleeping that it was going to snow inside the shelter overnight once the temperature dropped and sure enough, we were all covered in snow this morning. I had been worried that if my down bag got wet enough I would freeze but I was warm all night. It helped that I had thrown some extra layers on just in case. We went to bed so early because of the cold and mist that I had had to go to the bathroom since around 9pm but refused to get out of my bag until morning. So once the first person started moving around and packing at 7:30, I booked it to the privy, only to find it frozen shut. After a few kicks, the lid and seat were separated. Oh and this privy also has no roof, which is lovely in the rain and snow.
Most of us had decided to catch a local inn’s shuttle into town at 9:15 so I packed up quick and got going without breakfast by 8. It was 2.4 miles and over 1,000 feet down but I made it in an hour. I was not missing that shuttle. The trail was mostly snow covered frozen mud, which was quite easy to walk on, but the rocky parts did require some caution. The Budget Inn shuttle pulled into Unicoi Gap by 9:20 and brought us into Hiawassee. Turned out they had no rooms open because people weren’t checking out due to the weather so we grabbed a hot breakfast at a cafe and then decided to stay at the Holiday Inn Express farther up the road. We walked up and checked in, got hot showers and clean laundry once again, and I took care of some calls and emails that had been piling up before figuring out my schedule for the next few days, cleaning mud off my gear, and going to the grocery for my resupply.
The plan for tonight is dinner at an all you can eat steakhouse and hot tub before bed.