The Danger of Weather

Countdown – 30 DAYS!!!

HikeItForward-Final-MediumThe 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.

Categories: Uncategorized | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “The Danger of Weather

  1. Nicole Scott

    Seems crazy to leave this early, when there have been so many people having problems with the weather. Stay safe out there, everyone.

    • Seems rather ill advised doesn’t it. But depending on how long a hiker anticipates his/her hike to last, the start date may vary. The thru-hiker needs to get to Katahdin before October. Baxter State Park will close down and not allow hikers to climb to the summit if the weather gets bad. Leaving in March allows the hiker adequate time to reach the goal before the snow prohibits the climb. Snow in the south slows you down – snow in Maine ends your hike.

      • Nicole Scott

        Exactly. I know they close in Maine in October… my husband and I are going to be slow flip floppers in a couple years. It freaks me out to keep reading about all the people who are having troubles so early on. Be careful out there, sweetie. Take care of yourself. Stay warm.

      • I really think that many who have problems are not prepared to take the hike. There are always freakish accidents but a proper prep and careful execution raises the possibilities of success. Speed is not as much a factor as is a mental awareness of what awaits on the trail, a positive attitude in the face of difficulties and some physical preparation for the challenges of the mountains. Having not done this before, I hope this is true…I am depending on it being true….

        May God direct you as you make your plans for the flip flop in a couple of years! Your adventure has already begun.

  2. janloyd

    Wow! The romance of it all is dampened, isn’t it? More reason to pray!

    • Romance is found in the mind. Romance can be found in the lightning of the storm, in the ankle-deep mud, in the slippery rocks and in the slithering snakes….if I can just embrace the adversity as a means of growth, as an avenue to adventure, as the challenging test of endurance. If I can view myself as the knight in shinning armor conquering the rain dragon, Robin Hood stealing the fears of the forest and Joshua defeating the giants of the land, I can pull the romance of victory into the Appalachian Trail. I can easily say this in my warm comfortable living room – but how to make this happen 35 days from today? I agree with your answer- pray!

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