Sunday, November 22, 2015

McAfee Knob, round two

Another attempt to see the sun rise from the iconic Appalachian Trail perch at McAfee Knob this weekend, much more carefully planned:
  • Nighttime temperature above sleeping bag rating of 20 F, barely
  • Forecast morning dew point below air temperature, no fog
  • Forecast sky conditions "partly cloudy"-- a reasonable gamble, since the previous and following day's forecasts are clear 
  • Experienced hiker support of my mentor and good friend Kirsten Elowsky enlisted to provide expert common sense advice and safety alerts.
Ready!  After a reasonably unimpededdrive down Interstate 81 and a stiff climb up to camping area, we were able to set up camp and cook hot meals shortly after the sun disappeared over the western horizon (14 hours to go, brrr ...) 

Kirsten even built a campfire and provided chocolates to finish off the evening.

Only half an hour after the 3:00 a.m., our packs were stripped down to minimum essential for the hour-long climb to the summit. On arrival at McAfee Knob, we found ourselves alone on a chilly (20's) windswept (also 20's) fog-free granite ledge, looking at a starlight sky about 20 percent occluded by clouds

almost all on the eastern horizon.

We made hot chocolate and wrapped ourselves up to wait for two hours, hoping the sun would break through. Then, back down the hill to strike camp, hike back to the parking lot in the tardy sunshine, and drive off to meet, eat, commiserate, and affirm plans to climb the ridge once again.

Not likely before spring, though.

Photos follow.

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