We found rime ice (frost that has formed on cold objects by the rapid freezing of water vapor in cloud or fog) but that’s all.

So, the good news is this: it was not raining last Saturday, but the bad news is that it was super cold. At Neel Gap, we had wind gusts up to 30 miles an hour. We were frozen after being outside for a few minutes. It brought back memories of the hike up to the top of Clingman’s Dome!

About this time, I go to Mountain Crossings at near Blood Mountain every year, because it is still one of my favorite places to visit in the winter. Actually, there were hikers in there that were ready to begin their trek to Maine! I listened to a couple and watched as they looked at various things that they needed. It was fun but that hike is something I probably will never do. I would like to give a short trip a try along the AT. (smile)

The Appalachian Trail goes through a part of the building—not this part. LOL! It’s the place where most new-to-the-trail people stop and repack and restock their backpacks.

Over the years, the store has changed and now looks more like a small REI than a quaint stop on the trail. In fact, Anne looks like she could be at REI in Atlanta.

When I saw this food sack, I immediately thought of our hikes this past summer. If it is bear proof, wonder what in the world it is made of?!!

Then there are the many Leki trekking poles that we looked through. I found some that look like mine, but none that were made for photography.

Pat flipped through shirts. One of the guys there was making coffee and he thought I wanted to buy a sweat shirt. I said, “No, I’m following you with the coffee pot!” It was so cold and the coffee was really good.

Usually, I take off and hike up the mountain but not on this day. It was way too cold. We ran outside and quickly retreated to the store. On the way back down the short trail, I noticed something on the ground.

It was my first official spring sighting! Daffodils peeking up through the ground already. I’m ready!

And here I landed, and here is where I wanted to stay—in front of the rustic buck stove.

Actually, thought of UK friend Jill Shaw when I took this photo. It was so cold that the Mountain Laurels were folded up. They do that to protect themselves.

The AT goes straight through the building.

At one end is a simple book where Thru Hikers can sign in and leave a message to those behind them. Or they can simply proclaim the fact that they are on the way to Maine!