Today we left Rural Retreat with weather threats of rain and high winds in the afternoon and snow overnight. We pushed to make it the 23 miles to Chestnut Knob Shelter, an old firewarden’s cabin made of cement and stone with a door and bunks. We climbed Little Brushy Mountain, Big Walker Mountain, Brushy Mountain and we saw our first blooming rhododenron. The final climb to the shelter was across a huge bald. The climb was reminiscent of our hike on Whitetop Mountain with high winds, fog and snow. We were relieved to hit the shelter before the weather got worse and were relieved to make it to a shelter that would keep us safe and warmer than other shelters.