16.8 miles, 42,597 steps, 265 stories climbed
351.7 miles, 970,486 steps, 9494 stories climbed
Trail Magic Moments: 16
I’m not sure if I mentioned this yet but damnit is it cold. As I reluctantly climbed out of my comfortably warm sleeping bag and out to the frigid morning air, which accordingly I Pete’s thermometer was a balmy 17°f, I noticed a number of things.
First, I apparently didn’t do a good enough job of emptying the straw to my water bladder because it froze and I couldn’t drink any.
Second, the temperatures got so cold that not only did my boots freeze, they froze to one another! (I wish I would have thought to take a picture of that)
Third, even with all the layers I was wearing, I was incredibly cold and needed to start hiking quickly.
I grabbed all my stuff and lugged it over to the picnic table. I banged my boots on the ground to separate them and then shoved my feet in as far as I could and then packed as the heat from my feet started to thaw out the boots. I packed as quickly as I could and then spent around 15 minutes forcing my feet into the boots and then hiked out as fast as I could, hell I even forgot to put on my knee braces.
My feet, now incased in their frozen leather prisons, quickly started to go numb, even with two pairs of socks on. It took about a half hour before the leather started to loosen and I started to regain feeling in my feet. The weather however, is a quickly changing thing in the mountains.
A little over an hour into the hike I had to stop and remove a few layers. The gloves came off, the balaclava was replaced by the beanie and the fleece came off. My water still hadn’t thawed enough so the bladder was removed from my backpack and put under my jacket against my stomach so that my body heat could warm it up. I may have looked pregnant but hey, I eventually had water to drink. (I later found out Axon and Shruggs did the same thing)
Maybe an hour later, the temperatures had risen enough to where the jacket came off and the underlayers. It was easily in the 60’s.
As far as the hike itself, Not Yet and I had originally planned on a short day today and tomorrow to have a nice full day in Erwin tomorrow but after the two cold nights and the snow we both agreed we wanted a town day.
We hiked the 16.8 miles into Erwin, getting in a bit after 3pm. Not Yet, Axon, Shruggs, Stretch, Chicago and I all arrived around the same time and caught a shuttle to the Super 8 in town. Not Yet and I split a room and quickly got to our chores.
For me the first chore was to try and clean my tent, which was covered in leaves that had frozen to it and in my rush to get moving I just didn’t clean off. The tent was so filthy, I literally have it a bath and hung it up to dry. When Not Yet saw the garbage can he asked me if a tree had just thrown up in there. We ordered some Pizza Hut in the meantime because Not Yet had been craving it for days and who am I to keep his stomach (or mine) from being happy. Then quickly a shower and get ready to go into town to do laundry and resupply.
Now there is little that screams hiker more then seeing two guys wearing nothing but rain gear on a sunny day carry bags of laundry. I friendly woman named Tiffany offered us a lift to the laundromat and also gave us her number so she could give us a lift back to the hotel when we were done.
We took turns watching the laundry and going to the grocery store around the corner to get supplies. Afterwards, we called Tiffany who was happy to come and pick us up. On our way back to the hotel I was talking to Not Yet about what we should do about second dinner. I asked him if he had ever tried Bojangles, I had heard many good things but living in the north I have never come across one or tried one, Not Yet said he never tried it either and Tiffany was in shock. “You’ve never tried Bojangles!? Oh, we are getting some Bojangles then!” She insisted and who were we to argue with her.
We go into Bojangles and Tiffany insists that she treats us but Not Yet and I agree that would just be too kind of her and that the ride was more than generous enough. The three of us sat and ate our fried chicken, which hit the spot, and made our way back to the motel. We said goodbye to Tiffany and thanked her repeatedly.
After that it was of to the room so each of us could FaceTime with our incredibly awesome and supportive women at home and then try and pack our food and figure out our plans for the next day.
It was a very busy and long day but a very good one as well. The weather report says things should be better for the next few days…I certainly hope so.