Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 31 (31 miles)
My alarm went off at 5.45 but I could not convince myself to get out of my warm sleeping bag when it was 5F (-15C) outside. I told myself half an hour but ended up waiting until sunrise.
I did everything I could to pack up from my bag and then hit the trail fast. It was not that bad until I dropped off the ridge into the valley.
It. Was. Cold.
The cold air dropping to the valley on top of the frigid morning. Not fun. I had 2 pairs of gloves on and still had my hands under my armpits for warmth.
Luckily I only spent 10 or 15 minutes crossings the valley before I started to climb, escaping the cold air and getting my body furnace going.
The rest of the morning went well until I got to the Garden Mountain ridge. It had 4 inches of snow which were just enough to cover the roots and rocks from view. I spent the next 10 miles tripping, stumbling and sliding everywhere. It was slow tiring and awfully frustrating.
The only positive was that the winds changed and the temperature warmed up considerably.
Once I got off the ridge things became normal with only an inch of snow on the ground and I could get a move on. I walked hard for the rest of the afternoon to catch up time and then pushed on after dark for just over an hour to get about 2 miles before I70.
I could not find a campsite so I cowboy camped in the middle of the trail. I have not seen anyone else’s footprints for 2 days, so the risk of being in someone’s way is almost zero. First time camping under the stars for the trail!