Countdown – 30 DAYS!!!
The cold temperatures, snowfall, and blasting winds received in North Carolina on Tuesday night turned the Appalachian Trail into quite a challenge. I have not heard any report from my two friends on the trail, but the two stories below (reported by local NC news sources) reflect the conditions that they encountered and the dangers of the weather.
A distress call from the two hikers came to authorities in Avery, NC. The report shared that the hikers were trapped by deep snow and were being beaten down by the combination of high winds and single-digit temperatures—creating extremely dangerous wind chills. A search and rescue team was quickly formed and a NC State Patrol helicopter was standing by. Fortunately the hikers were found early Wednesday morning; they were de-iced in warm rescue vehicles; and returned to their car parked at the state line.
Five wet and cold female hikers were also rescued off the Appalachian Trail on Wednesday (3/26/14) morning after calling 911 for help. They were stranded, exhausted, wet, semi-frozen, and in need of some real help. Dispatchers from Madison, NC took the call between 7:30-8 p.m. Tuesday night. At the time of the call, it was snowing heavily and was very windy – gusts of up to 50 mph. Just as the weather app on my cell phone had predicted, it was just a miserable night. The five women, ages 19-23, attend college in Illinois and were on spring break. They were hiking for three days but were simply not prepared for the drastic weather change on Tuesday night. Spring break transformed into a winter freeze. They were unable to get a fire started and couldn’t find any water. All together, they had a two-man tent and one sleeping bag. The women managed to make their way to a shelter on the trail. All five squeezed into the one tent until rescuers reached them around 3 a.m. All five hikers are fine but I think they learned some lessons that the classrooms of college might not teach.