Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 49 (44 + 7 = 52 miles)
I woke up just after 6am, got dressed and went out to see if my patched inflatable pad had been repaired. Nope! The cut on it was too big and pretty much pushed the patch out of the way.
Time for the second option.
With scissors in hand, I cut off the last 3 inches of the matt to eliminate the hole. I then cut out the inside lining and ironed the remaining pad back together. I blew it up and it had a slight leak at the corner, but with a bit more ironing it was good to go! Easy fix.
Brendon then dropped me back at the fire road just after 7 am. I cannot thank him enough. This is the true meaning of trail angel! Something that I think that we long-distance hikers forget at times. Given what happened I came out of this rather well.
I then began the 2,500ft climb back into the mountains and to my home, the AT. It was a slow climb over 5 miles and felt like I was back on the PCT. Before I knew it I was back on the right trail, yet still 2 miles south of where I tried to go to sleep yesterday.
The ground was still frozen and I had my pocket cleats on for most of the day. They are so light and have been very convenient, but after 8 hours my feet were beat up.
The day was overcast with a high wind, but the views of wide open valleys were still there. I motored along the trail to try and catch up to where I should have been. It was a good day but like yesterday, nothing really happened of note throughout the day.
The incoming storm front blew away the existing clouds and I turned my headlight off and watched the sky – I saw 7 shooting stars.
With 6 miles to go I started to regret pushing on. My legs were sore and I was tired. I just wanted to stop but needed to press onto the shelter. As it goes, the last couple of miles were uphill and rather painful, but I was so close!
I was back on trail for this climb and did not want to put my cleats back on. This decision caused me to fall a couple of times, but I made it.
I got into bed and fell asleep on my working mattress rather quickly. It was a long, long day. I think this is the most miles I have ever hiked on a long distance trail!