We were on the trail shortly after noon with a bright blue sky overhead. The trail began with a slight elevation gain, crossing wooded area's interspersed with rocky sections. Big Cedar Mtn provided our first view with a nice overlook. The trail undulated for the next 5+ miles until we reached Jarrard Gap where the climb required a little more determination. We spotted a couple of other backpackers ahead, and by the time we reached the turn off to Woods Hole Shelter, we had already decided to tent camp at a campsite near the trail instead of using the shelter. It was getting near dusk by the time tents were set up and we had walked down a trail to get our water. It was darn cold by the time we finished eating. The stars twinkled bright against the night sky and as much as we were enjoying the company, the temperature encouraged each of us to retreat to our tents where we spent the night listening to the wind howl up the side of the mountain.
The next morning we pretended we weren't freezing while we ate breakfast and drank hot drinks. I had a near tragedy when the wind knocked my mug over (it contained my coffee mix). Explaining that it would be a tragedy for Linda and Bill as they would have to deal with grumpy ole' me all day without my caffeine fix, Bill quickly reached for the leaves where the mix spilled and gently coaxed it back in my mug! He's a keeper. By the time we shoved off the wind had calmed down a bit and the blue sky was back overhead. The white blaze led us up toward Slaughter Creek Campground which we explored a bit before continuing on up Blood Mountain where we spotted snow on the trail. A short distance away, we found Blood Mtn. Shelter with remodeling in progress.
Since we had covered 6.5 miles the day before we only had approx. 4 miles to go so we took time to enjoy the vista's along the massive rock faces on top of the mountain. As far as we could see, gentle ridges folded together framed by a vivid blue sky.