Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 79 (25 miles)
We started the day with the goal of reaching Morgan Stuart Shelter in 25 miles. It was fairly important that we reach it with another 6 inches of snow predicted tonight.
The morning started off in radiant sunshine – I got a bit sunburnt – and slowly became more overcast as we got closer to the shelter.
After a few miles of snowshoeing, we hit a highway of well-compacted snow. It was amazing and allowed us to walk at our normal pace for almost an hour. Even better was that I did not have to concentrate on where I place my feet every step.
The remainder of the day was mixed between semi tracked out and none.sometimes the tracks would be from snowshoes and others would be people walking and would allow us to take our snowshoes off for a break.
For me, taking them off is lovely and relieves some pain. I have some sore knees and left Achilles from using them for so long. Oh, it has been over 100 miles of total powder snow coverage!
As we got to mid-afternoon, we opted for an hour road walk to give us a break from the snow, catch up on eating and make sure we reach the shelter tonight.
It was then time for the last 6 miles of pushing through snow. We were all so tired by this point that I’m not sure a word was spoken until we got to the last water source half a mile from the shelter. All my focus was used putting one foot in front of the other.
However, when we turned a corner and saw the small creek and shelter in the distance, we through a mini party in celebration of our arrival.
I sat on the step of the shelter with a wide grin on my face – absolutely exhausted but happy.