April 8. Yesterday hiked through some light snow on the ground, heavier on the mountaintops. At times I could even see my breath, especially when I was walking through a shaded rhododendron tunnel. Even though it was chilly, I wasn’t actually cold as long as I was hiking. Having a heavy pack cover my entire back helped keep me warm- not to mention the effort of hauling it! I enjoyed seeing the snow throughout the day. It made the hike feel extra adventurous.
In the afternoon I crossed the border from Georgia into North Carolina, always a good day. I felt happy to be making progress.
Everyone knew the predictions of sub freezing temperatures overnight. I don’t know how many times I heard, “Sleep with your water filter! Sleep with your water bottles so they don’t freeze! Sleep with your phone!” This made for a full sleeping bag and many items to keep warm.
This was the first night I had to hang a bear bag as the shelter had no bear cables around. (Hanging a bear bag involves throwing a rope up over a limb so you can hoist food up 12 feet off the ground. It is always an amusing time, sometimes more for the other hikers than for the hanger). I don’t know how many times I threw my rock up (with string tied to it) only to have it fall short or hit the trunk and bounce back. You throw and throw, sometimes coming so close to the target… if you do get your string over the limb, the rock might fall off the end anyway with the string end still too high to reach. So you have to pull down and start all over. Finally I just climbed the tree myself to get it done. Yeah, a bear could also probably climb the tree, but at least my food wasn’t in my tent.
It was too cold to stand around talking by the shelter, so everyone crawled into their bags by 7:30 pm to warm up! I crawled into my tent with all my clothes on, hoping I wouldn’t get too cold. It was difficult to move like that, and every time I brushed against my water bottles the were cold- not frozen, but they didn’t seem to warm up overnight. Overall though I was just pleased that I didn’t shiver overnight.
I was more than ready to get up at dawn and start moving again after all that tent time. I kept taking breaks from taking down the tent to put my hands in my mittens! One man later told me that as he was breaking down camp, he kept taking breaks to run into the shelter to warm up, even though most were still sleeping in there. He said, “They probably thought, this man is crazy, why does he keep hopping back in here while we’re sleeping?” I thought that was funny.
It was a great morning. There was snow on the ground still and the sun was out. Two men hiked toward me on the trail and said,”I’m not sure if you are aware but there is a group ahead that does trail magic on the weekend. Full breakfast 2.5 miles ahead”.
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