I was on the AT just south of Chattahoochee Gap the night before last and experienced a new low of 7.7*. The day time temps never got above the low 20's. I was in my HH Clone with overcover, 3" baffle RMS Clone and JRB Nest below me, REI 20* bag and Neat Sheet weathershield somewhat over me. I had a 1" 3/4 length UL Thermarest with me but was trying it out with out it. All was warm except my feet because they were on the windward end of the hammock. I ended up opening the Thermarest and using from my butt down to me feet. My feet did eventually warm up but I don't think the Thermarest had anything to do with it. I slept warm except for the several bio breaks during the night.
There was a nice light blanket of snow on the ground and the only tracks were mine and the animals.
I had planned on staying out one more night hiking from Unicoi Gap to Neel's Gap but I didn't take appropriate actions to keep my water bottles from freezing up. I had to bail out when I got the Rd. 348. My prayers for a ride were answered. Little did I know that there were road blocks on thru traffic on that road so I wasn't likely to get a ride and the snow plow operators didn't stop. A car of 3 retirees was following their GPS over that road to go to their RV resort. When they got to to road block they decided to go around it. I'm so happy they did. They really didn't have room for me but the 2 ladies managed to squeeze together in half of the back seat so I could sit and hold my in the front seat. It was uncomfortably tight for all of us but the driver but I was very thankful and appreciative of the ride. It was closer to go to their final destination first so we went there and unloaded them. Then the gentleman graciously took me to my truck at Neel's Gap. I will forever be thankful.
Wish I could have joined you. Would have broken my record by a few degrees. Too bad about the missing hiker on Blood Mtn. Sounds like she got abducted and is not on the mtn.