Day 43: May 27, 2022 Ponds Flat to N/Spring Elevation Profile +2622/-2829 11.0 Miles; Total 436.5 Miles

Another wet and stormy night. The rain was relentless, pounding our tents all night long. We were across the trail from the Ridgeline so added insult to injury. The wind was terrifying as I heard a tree come crashing down around midnight. Our saving grace; the wind did not reach us as we were shelter by enormous and well rooted trees. Our tents were strategically placed on high ground so we didn’t water flowing inside them. And our tents are bombproof! Well at least mine is. Blue said she had droplets dripping on her head throughout the night. That’s no bueno! Around 7am, the rain let up long enough for us to pack up and head off this mountain.

The Only Creature Around These Parts Who Enjoys the Endless Rain

We made it to the turnoff for Boots Off, a local hostel where most all the sane people stayed last night. We stopped, pulled out our soggy tents, rain gear and anything else that needed drying and used the glorious sunshine and a chain link fence to start the drying process. Another couple stopped and joined us. This little stop allowed us to carryon with about five pounds less water weight in our packs. Hallelujah! The little things that give me joy.

All Gear Dried and Packed

Our morning took us around Watauga Lake. It’s a pristine body of water that fisherman, jet skiers and boaters use alike. It was too cold, both outside temperature and water temp, for my liking to swim in, but I’m sure on a warm summer day, it is used by many. We followed the white blazes around the lake and through the forest. It was an easygoing walk and before we knew it, it was time for lunch.

Lake Watauga

We stopped just short of the Dam and ate our daily selection of Tuna, cheese-like crackers, sun-tea and a nutty bar. I think about the lack of calories I’m consuming for all the hardwork I’m doing. There’s no doubt I burning my excess blubber around my mid-section. Not all of it but enough to keep tightening my backpack waist belt. I wouldn’t choose hiking as a diet plan but if you thinking of loosing weight, this is a win-win. You get to see incredible places, eat pretty much whatever you want and get rained on regularly. What is there not to like?

Overlooking Spillway of Watauga Dam

After lunch, we walked across the Dam Road. It’s funny that no one seems to get all bent out of shape when you walk across Dam Roads around here. Back in California, they have armed guards and there’s no walking, hiking or boating within a few hundred yards! Here in Tennessee, no problem. The clouds started moving in and we all know what that means. Beat feet for suitable camping spots.

Watauga Lake & Pond Flats Mountain Our Prior Wet Campsite in Background

Blue and I started up our required climb and it felt like I had cement for legs. Yesterday, I was cruising up and down without any issues but today, no such thing was happening. I was beat tired. I figured that my lack of motivation was due to a sleepless night! The lack of rest did nothing for my recovery and my body was not having it. Our game plan was to make it to the Shelter for our final snack and carryon to the next tent site. But nope, nada, nilch, I wasn’t having it. I talked with Blue and explained my blight and she was feeling a bit sluggish too, but could push on if needed. We grabbed some water from the local watering spring and headed up towards the shelter. Just a mile up the trail, Blue found us a perfect little camp spot and we hunkered down. Thank goodness because as we were building our homes for the night, the wind kicked up and the skies poured down liquid water. And did it ever rain. I actually had to build a trench around my tent to keep the water at bay! When it rains around these parts, it is like Armageddon. There’s no tip toe through the raindrops, it’s all out war! We both made our homes and retreated for the night. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day full of rainbows and sunshine. I can only dream of such perfect conditions on this wet and ever-so rainy trail.

Blue Overlooking our Next Destination

As I think about today and the beauty, the mountains, the water, and even the rain, I realize that our Creator, the Lord on Most High, Jehovah, our One and Only God created all of this for us. There are times when I curse the rain, and get all uptight when it’s hot and humid (what I would give for some of that right now), but in honesty, I am unappreciative! This environment that I have the pleasure to walk through is not because of anything I did, but what He did for me! It is heavenly designed, and is His masterpiece. I cannot begin to wonder what this world would be like if I created it?! What a mess! So today I want to be more appreciative of what our God has done for me. What a beautiful and lovely place I am in. Rain, Sun, Moon and Stars. It is all because of Him. So thank you my Heavenly Father. It is absolutely and utterly lovely!

“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is his name.”
‭‭Amos‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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