No dry day goes unpunished, so in the middle of the night it started to rain. I got up early to face another long day, and was once again greeted with a morning of walking inside of a drizzly, cold, and windy cloud. I generally enjoy getting my big climbs done in the morning, but the climb to the summit of Snowbird Mountain started at 1,788 feet and ended at 4,263 feet. That was just a little bit more than I really needed to warm up.

Appalachian Trail

Trail to Snowbird Mountain

Snowbird Mountain is a grassy bald that, allegedly, has some really nice views. There is also a FAA tower that is 50 yards off the trail that I have seen in many pictures. Today, however, I could hear a generator that pinpointed the location, so I took this picture to share with you.

Appalachian Trail

FAA Tower on Snowbird Mountain

On the plus side, I had reasonable cell phone coverage at the peak, so I used the opportunity to call ahead to the Laughing Heart Hostel to make a reservation for the following night. It was a good thing I did because the guy on the phone told me that they were almost completely booked.

After a wet and muddy descent from Snowbird Mountain, I began the climb to the summit of Max Patch. Max Patch is a huge summit that was cleared in the past to graze cattle, and is legendary for its views. A lot of the hikers at last night’s shelter had declared it to be their destination for the day, because it is a trail favorite for cowboy camping (sleeping under the stars without a tent) in order to watch the sunrise. I was torn by this, and really wanted to join them, but that would have setup a record long day to make it to Hot Springs the following night. When I arrived, I had the place to myself, accompanied by 50 mph winds and a wind chill factor that made my hands sting. Luckily, the cloud ceiling remained a few feet above the summit and the views were indeed legendary.

Appalachian Trail

View from Max Patch

After rushing to escape the wind, it was an easy decent to Roaring Fork Shelter where I had planned to spend the night. When I arrived, I asked, “Where are all the cowboy campers? I climbed all the way to the top to take your picture, and I couldn’t find anyone. They forced a chuckle as they huddled around the fire while trying to roast their socks to an acceptable level of dryness. So I’m settled in for the evening while once again the rain is pelting my tent.

Appalachian Trail

Wet Sock Barbecue