12.1 miles, 34,330 steps, 425 stories climbed
203.6 miles, 582,917 steps, 5707 stories climbed
Hello cold! Today was by far the worst day on the trail yet. I woke up and quickly got ready, got all my rain gear on and headed out but I had no idea what I was in for.
The rain fell hard and the air was cold but with all my layers I was in pretty good shape…for a while anyway.
I made it to the first shelter, and although it took a long time and the rain still had not let up, I was feeling good. I decided to head on to the next shelter and that is when Mother Nature unleashed its fury.
About a mile or so past the shelter, the rai. Started to come down harder and the air turned frigid, the wind kept blowing harder and harder. I kept moving as fast as I could, sliding through the mud.
Soon, the rain was just too much for me gear. My shoes became a pool of frozen slush, my underlayers soaked to the core and, as I would find out later, even my backpack managed to take on some water through its waterproofing cover and water resistant fabric (good thing everything in my bag is also in waterproof bags).
As I hurried to the next shelter conditions continued to get worse and I just kept telling myself the shelter will be around the next corner or over the next hill, but it never was. It seemed as if it took forever to get those next few miles.
Finally, with the shelter in sight, I hurried inside to see 5 people hidden like cocoons in their sleeping bags, even though it wasn’t even 2pm
yet. As I walked in I asked everyone “What the hell is wrong with us!?” Everyone laughed and then asked if I was going to continue to the next shelter only 1.9 miles away which I replied “Hell no!” And got more laughter. I hurried up and stripped completely down, drying myself as best as I could and put on all the dry clothing I had. Then I quickly set up my sleep system and got inside and stayed inside while making dinner.
We are breaking all the rules to protect us from bears since we are cooking and eating in the shelter and none of us are dating to go outside to string up our food to keep it from bears. We all figure that hey, if the bear eats us then at least we’ll be nice and warm.
Listening to some of the jokes of the night I think my favorite was “We could have just sat on the beach for 6 months.”
The good news however is I am now over 200 miles in and have less than 2000 miles to go. Tomorrow I summit Clingman’s Dome, the highest point on the AT.
Tomorrow, should be a little better but I’m not looking forward to having to put those wet clothes on again.