Day 3 – Springer Mountain to Hawk Mountain

Day three. I woke  to 17 degrees, frozen pants, hoodie, gloves and something or everything in my water filtration system. The mice found their way to the only food I had left in my backpack. I left it in a mesh shoulder strap bag. Fortunately, the damage was minimal. Below is a picture from my sleeping bag in the shelter.

Springer Mtn Shelter
I put my frozen clothes on over my base layers and they were thawed and dry in no time. Visit the privy, repack, and finished my oatmeal. It did not seem that many of the hikers had breakfast with the exception of a protein shake. I hit the trail a little after 8:30 a.m.

At this point I am pretty happy with my sleep gear. I used my tent footprint, Klymit inflatable mattress, a Marmot 15-degree sleeping bag, Sea to Summit silk liner ,and favorite Nemo Filli Pillow. I also have sock liners, wool socks, base layer top and bottom, outer layer top and bottom, gloves, and a hat.

As I headed to Hawk Mountain I passed a trail maintenance crew and a couple day hiking because there was none in a section I was headed into. I think everyone I pass wants me to finish this thing or I’m delirious, but it’s early so I’ll go with the former.

Nothing too special about the hike in, but I am realizing that trekking poles are an absolute necessity to me as they keep me from falling and help me up the hills.

Arriving at Hawk Mountain Shelter, I run into Chelsea, a ridgerunner. Ridgerunners work from February to May providing information, training on trail etiquette, and cleaning up after those who do not clean up after themselves. Great job, Chelsea!

It’s important to note here that the shelters are set up about eight miles apart in Georgia and I am done hiking at 2:30 p.m. I will be adding mileage or time going forward.

Early enough to get a spot in the shelter, which because of the snoring and despite my earplugs is not always a great thing.
I do not know where I am stopping tomorrow, but it will not be at 2:30 p.m.

Day three I learned that sometimes sleeping with your filtration system is not always enough to keep it from freezing. Going forward, under 20 degrees, I’ll keep it on my body. I used a hand warmer to thaw it. I am also sleeping on my pants and hoodie and have had my shoes and socks in the foot of my sleeping bag.

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Comments 8

  • Detox : Feb 28th

    Am enjoying your updates. So ready for my 08APR start. Not sure if you are using a sawyer filtration setup , but my understanding is if they freeze they lose their ability to filter out the nastiness. See you out there. Deet

    • James Aguilar : Feb 29th

      Good morning from Hiawassee. I just stepped off the trail to rest, reorganize and repair. I’m using a Platypus gravity filter with a 3L CNoc bag. Nothing works when frozen, so it sleeps in my puffy jacket going forward. No problems since that day with it. My water bottle froze the other day while I broke down my tent, so it’s cold. Best of everything to you on your hike and thank you for following!

  • Eric : Feb 29th

    I read somewhere that if your h2o filter freezes it’s probably had it.
    Might look in to that.
    Happy Hiking.
    Class of ‘ 81.

    • James Aguilar : Mar 1st

      I’ve read the same thing, but I used it around twice a day since without issue, so maybe freezing once will be okay. Thank you for following and congratulations on your thru hike!

  • TicTac : Feb 29th

    The sad reality is that virtually all hikers today use filters that depend on nanotubes to filter the water (ie: Sawyer Squeeze, Mine). If any of the nanotubes freeze the filter is no longer usable, period; nanotube filters simply cannot be allowed to freeze, and if they do they are worthless and must be discarded. If you continue to use your filter you are essentially drinking unfiltered water.

    • James Aguilar : Mar 1st

      Thank you for your comments. My filter got me thru 70 miles, so I still have faith. I guess I’m going to be a science experiment. Have a great week!

      • Rain : Mar 1st

        Hey buddy, congratulations on your journey and may it fill you with hope and beautiful experiences along the way.. stay positive and keep spreading the good vibes to all that you pass and all that you think of through out this amaizing path that you are on ~>>>

        • James Aguilar : Mar 1st

          Thank you for your incredibly kind words! I will.


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