100% Chance Of Rain? Backpacking To Plum Orchard Shelter

The weatherman said there was a 100% chance of rain today, and he was 100% right!  It rained all morning, and all afternoon.  I confess that  I'm still not sure how I was talked in to this trip, or how we got away with it at all.  Despite the gloomy weather (and our ventures in to Panthertown Valley just last weekend), the wives reluctantly gave the OK – and here we are climbing “As Knob” on the Appalachian Trail about an hour before dark.

Our destination is Plum Orchard Shelter. It was built in 1992 by the U.S. Forest Service with help from the Army Rangers (who helped fly it in via double prop helicopter). Despite the lousy weather, it is occupied by a northbounder and a southbounder who hiked all day in the rain.  They earned it, so we venture back up to the gap and pitch camp about 20 yards from the A.T.

The storm passes, and a full moon rises to the east.  Here comes the cold front as winds shift from the South to the Northwest.

Fortunately the 6 lb. Duraflame log that we packed in (after cutting it in to three pieces) makes for an effortless fire, and we are able to get some heat from the fire as the temps drop in to the 30's.  Here's the dog snuggling up around the campfire.

The next morning, the sun greets us as we wake around 8am.  But it is fleeting – we spend most of the morning in low level clouds and fog.

I head down to the Plum Orchard Shelter to get a few pics.  It is unique in Georgia for it's three level interior on the Appalachian Trail.

Here's a shot from the second level – which is smaller than the other two and can only fit a few hikers.

Back on the Trail, we hike through leafless trees and shoot some really cool pics as we hike back to Blue Ridge Gap.  Here's Boone Dawg hiking northbound on the Appalachian Trial.

But the ride out of here is rutted and really rocky.  Don't do this without a 4×4 …. seriously.

Then as fate would have it – the sun comes out as we leave the trailhead.  At least we didn't get rained on this trip, and it turned out to be quite a good one.  I have a feeling we'll be back  – to head northbound next time and visit Bly Gap.  Stay tuned for that.

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