Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 20 (31 miles)
I poked my head out of my sleeping bag at first light. It was in the teens (-8C) last night. That was perfectly fine, but the breeze was cold.
I packed up slowly as @kk_hikes made his morning coffee / hot chocolate combo.
It was not long until I said goodbye and we parted ways. KK will make his way back to his car woke I continue north.
The temperature warmed up quickly. It climbed up to about freezing (maybe even above!) for the first time in ages. This did mean that the snow that I hiked in all day became wet and stuck to and melted trough my shoes.
Besides the 10+ miles of snow, the day was relatively straightforward and I made great progress. I arrived at the shelter that I was planning to stay at before 4pm and decided to push on another 10 miles until the next one rather than waste good weather and daylight.
This least section took a lot longer than expected. I got some nice butt chafing and walked the last 7 miles holding my cheeks apart. Glamorous, I know. This slowed me down a bit but the 4-6 inches of snow on top of Big Bald turned out to be challenging. The snow was not a problem, but I could not follow the trail easily at night. There was plenty of searching, straight-lining and backtracking before I eventually arrived at the shelter.
What should have taken 3.5hrs turned into an epic to finish off the day.
It was late so I hopped into bed and went to sleep pretty quickly.