Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Day 17: More Smokies

5/7: Mile 219.9 - 243.1 (23.2 miles)

I will officially stop trash talking my neoair. For those who don't know what that is its the ridiculously thick thermarest I sleep on. It's been a slow transition and I'm more used to the old flat foam I used than this thing. A half inch off the ground versus two for a restless sleeper means I'm constantly finding myself half off the sucker with my shoulder or hip jammed into the ground. But I am 100% sure that it is the reason I slept warmly through the night. I certainly never thought I'd be sleeping on snow on the AT.

The night really wasn't too bad. At one point I looked at my watch, 34 degrees. Ouch, my quilt is a 30 degree which means at 30 you are alive. Comfortable is more questionable, but it did well. I'm sure it didn't hurt that I was wearing all my clothes and halfway through the night I fixed a draft but tucking my rain jacket around my butt. A stunning success.

We packed up and a few miles later made it to Tricorner shelter which was still packed. I spent way too long chatting with a young ridgerunner (they help maintain the trail, teach leave no trace and work for the Appalachian Trail Coalition). It seemed fun until I started walking and I realized my feet were beyond numb. Oops, 6000 ft, snow and standing still do not make for happy circulation.

A day hiker and I swap, look I'm wearing all my clothes! Photos

It's a bit of a slushy slog but it's beautiful. I even get a rainbow.

The trail finally starts to sink to around 5300' and the snow becomes less prevalent. Still muddy but I'll take slightly warm mud and water over icy slush.

By 2 the trail is sunny, full of dayhikers and I'm in short sleeves and shorts. What a difference a few thousand ft makes.

I love hiker boxes, how can I not giggle?

It's a pretty afternoon. Back in the green and the flowers. Creeks with waterfalls, beautiful trail and I'm actually sweating. The campsites aren't too plentiful but we eventually make something work. It's been a long day, and my feet and knees are happy to lay down.

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