Waiting out the Storm, by Jay

March 14, 2017

Hiking as a couple is different than hiking alone. We had decided to visit Sarah’s parents for two days when we reached Newfound Gap.  Those two days stretched to four days when snow hit the mountains and the road to Newfound Gap was closed.  Now, more snow plus icy temperatures are pummeling the tops of the Smokies, so we are still waiting.  Sarah’s parents are paying for our room at their retirement center, and we are helping them sort their storage unit.  The arrangement gives us a work-for-stay status until temperatures in the Smoky Mountains climb back into the double digits.

It was hard for me to stay off the trail.  I felt compelled to test our skills against the cold, to continue hiking no matter what.  But Sarah and her parents helped me agree to the right decision.  Margins for error are slim when temperatures dive to near zero.  If we were to slip on snow-covered ice, or be hit by an ice-covered tree limb dislodged by the wind, it would be hard to stay warm until help arrived.  It would be foolish to risk the safety of us and our potential rescuers.

When we decided to start our thru-hike in February, I assured Sarah that we would wait out the storms in towns, and hike during milder weather.  Now it is time to keep that promise and to remember how lucky I am to have someone to love and to share this adventure.

Author: Sarah and Jay Bigelow

Hi! We live in the Carson Valley in Nevada near Lake Tahoe. Sarah is a retired elementary school teacher, and Jay is a retired fish biologist. We are in our 50's, and have been married for 30 years.

4 thoughts on “Waiting out the Storm, by Jay”

  1. Yep — any second thoughts, watch the Everest movie!! Get-there-Itis directly responsible for 3 deaths!! Stay safe and warm!!

    Like

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