Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 72 (30 miles)
With the wind chill around 0F (-18C) last night, it turned out to be a bit on the cold side as I cowboy camped. It was ok work my legs pointing into the wind, but at 3am the wind direction changed, waking me up with a start as it blew straight into my bag. I curled up in a ball and tucked the bivy over my head for some protection from the wind and drifted back to sleep.
I woke up again at 6am with the sun rising. I had an easy time waiting in bed as Ant and Rat started to break camp, but by 6.45 we were off.
It turned out to be a truly great day. New friends, snow on the ground and blue skies above were the highlights.
The three of us headed off down the trail and within an hour we met Nick our for a trail run. He met the sisters yesterday and decided to turn around and hike with us for what turned out to be 12 miles.
I had a great time chatting to him and the girls and the miles just flew by. Nick is studying to be a nurse and is out enjoying the woods while he is on spring break.
At this point Nick turned around. He planned to run back to his car, drive further up the trail and camp with us tonight.
As we continued on towards Delaware Water Gap, the snow got progressively deeper. This morning it was patchy, when Nick turned around it was an inch deep, by mid-afternoon it was 2 inches and as we neared our campspot for the night it was 3-4 inches deep.
The latest storm that produced the snow also knocked down a lot of trees. We had to walk around or hop over 3 or 4 every mile. We pushed some of the smaller ones off the trail but there is a bit of trail maintenance required come spring!
We arrived at a shelter and we’re contemplating stopping for the day. Four guys with four tents pitched in the shelter convinced us to continue on and camp.
We had two choices to camp, out of the wind but on snow or windy an snow free. We chose the windy spot, with Nick hiding behind a rock outcropping.
What a wonderful day! I have not hiked with a single person to this point and today I hiked with three!