Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 59 (27 miles)
I passed the halfway point today! Halfway to Katahdin! It has been an interesting ride so far, but I’m glad I’ve made it this far.
I woke up at 6 and waited for the sun to start rising before getting up. The condensation last night was epic. Now my synthetic overquilt is saturated, but I have to say that this system does work well with my main down layer barely wet.
Today was easy terrain wise but the trail was still a river from the heavy rains a couple of days ago. Actually it is the easiest day so far.
It was a fairly easy 3 hours stroll, baring taking the wrong trail for half a mile, until I arrived at the halfway marker. I actually almost walked past it… I took an obligatory picture and continued on reminiscing on the highs and lows of the journey so far. It has been an epic adventure: artic blasts with -5F (-20C) temperature along with -30F (-30C) windchill and everything frozen, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, meeting amazing people, breakingly stunning snowy trail, and battling with monotony, lonelyness and frozen rain.
I arrived at Pine Grove Furnace State Park to a closed general store. No half gallon ice cream for me… I knocked on the hostel, unaware that it was closed, and the manager opened and let me use their dryer for my overquilt. We chatted for a while about his books and the supernatural that he researchs. I was not quite in the same wavelength but it was interesting non the less.
It was time to continue and I walked hard for the rest of the day with some snow in the way this afternoon and half a foot expected tonight.
I did not get to the shelter before it hit, with the snow starting with 8 miles (13km) still to hike. It was absolutely lovely! The best bit was the snow melting on the rocks and creating beautiful contrast with the surrounding snow.
The snow did get progressively harder and at some point I found it hard to follow the trail through the short rock scrambles. It turns out white paint is hard to spot against the while snow. Go figure!
My pase slowed as the snow went from 1 inch to 2 as I continued to either stop to take a photo or figure out where I actually had to go. It also became rather slippery on the rocks, and I often had to prop and look for an alternative to get around.
I got to the shelter just before dark. I was a bit worried that it would be filled with snow as it was on the wrong side of the mountain. It was filled with snow but had a raised alcove that was protected.
I set up here and lay in bed not particularly tired. Half an hour after I arrived the snow stopped. Won’t I get my half foot of snow overnight to play in tomorrow?