2/21/10, 6:00AM, Day 2: Sun up at 6AM. Oatmeal and coffee are the morning’s priorities. I break down my tent and fill up on water—not sure how long the creek will follow us up the mountain. By 7AM, Coop and Bigfoot wake and join me at the fire pit. Photo ops take up a few minutes after breakfast. Bigfoot tries out my poles out of curiosity. At 9AM it’s time to gear up. Coop and I part ways with Bigfoot and continue up the trail. Nice to be hiking on an actual trail. For the first hundred yards it’s hard-packed snow. After that, we’re off trail and following Bigfoot’s tracks from the previous day.
Not all those who wander are lost.
– J.R.R. Tolkien
The mountains of North Carolina are a thing of beauty when viewed from afar. They are an even greater spectacle when you experience them up close. And when snow blankets the ground they are truly wondrous. Until they’re not.
This past weekend my buddy, Coop, and I set our sights on the Shining Rock Wilderness for our first winter backpacking trip. We monitored the location via webcam, checked the weather forecast daily, and packed the essentials we thought we’d need. We planned everything out meticulously, and fully expected a flawless trip that we’d remember for a lifetime.