It was so worth the effort of getting up the mountain to hike with him. Definitely one of my best days on the trail, ever.
From reading his blog and looking at the AT guide, I had a good idea of where to expect to see him early afternoon. It was raining hard at the house, and harder on top of the mountain. The parking area at 6000' was so socked in I couldn't see across it. I guessed (correctly I later learned) he would make a short day, head for Clingman's Dome, and meet Fin in Gatlinburg. I knew the tourist traffic would be minimal for a hitch with the bad weather, so I decided to try and meet him. Even with the weather I had a good hike. I was the only southbound hiker that day. As I'd meet hikers coming up the trail, I'd ask if they'd seen a tall, fast, ginger hiker. "Oh, you mean the ultralight guy?" Yup, that'd be him.
Finally I saw him coming. Once he recognized me, I could tell he was glad to see me. After hearing of his sleepless night in the shelter and rough morning, I was glad I made the effort to meet him. We both enjoyed a good walk and conversation back to Clingman's Dome parking lot.
Late in the afternoon the rain stopped, the wind died down, and there were about 2 hrs of nice hiking weather, despite the temps falling from 55 to 37 over 3 hrs (it slid on into the 20s by dawn). The clouds were solid below us on the TN side. It was clear on the NC side with views of Fontana reservoir, and the sun was breaking thru the clouds above us, highlighting the spring green creeping up the ridges. The smoky mists the park is named for were rising up on both sides of the ridge. You just can't get that kind of experience in fair weather. It was awesome and beautiful.
Stormcrow is a great guy to hike with. Just know everything you've heard about him hiking fast and far is true.
My only consolation was knowing I had the car keys.
All fun aside, if you have opportunity to hike with him do so, even if just for a partial day (recommended).