Day of Balds (May 2)
So very cold this morning, despite sunshine. I dread getting up out of my sleeping bag. I especially dread going outside to retrieve my food bag and clothes from the washline. (Wishful thinking with the washline, nothing dried in the cold). At the same time, I know I’ll feel better once I started moving and hiking. When I get up I can see my breath. I cringe as I put on my wet, cold hiking shoes. I put on all my clothes- coat, hat, even mittens- and start down the trail.
I am relieved to find that once I actually start hiking, my feet start warming up right away. This actually amazes me. It is so nice when something you dread (being cold) ends up not being as bad as you’d imagined. After hiking a mile I’m warm enough to stop and eat breakfast. My honeybuns and candy bars (typical breakfast) are frozen, and I have to gnaw my food this morning!
I figure I need to eat a lot after shivering so much lately, so I eat a big breakfast. This is basically the attitude I have all day- treat yourself! All morning I stop whenever I want without feeling guilty, even if I’ve taken a break only 15 minutes before. I keep all my warm clothes on all morning, just soaking in the warmth and sunshine and relishing it. Normally I quickly get overheated hiking in a coat, so this is something! I stop for snack breaks very often and eat spoonful after spoonful of cookie butter without feeling bad. I delight in the sunlight every minute and take pictures of flowers, bees, butterflies…it is definitely a day of celebration.
I also rejoice that my plan is paying off. I cross four balds over the course of the day and the views are amazing the entire way. I keep thinking, “I can’t believe a place this beautiful exists and that I’m lucky enough to be here right now, seeing this!” I spend so much time taking a couple steps, then stopping to gaze around at the mountains around me, then taking a couple more steps. I love taking my time there. I also love that because balds are so distinct, I could look back and see balds behind me that I had crossed earlier in the day, and even Roan Mountain behind. It is always gratifying when a mountain you’ve climbed looks big even from a distance. Also, often when I look back the mountains blend together and I have no idea where I’ve come from. Anyway, this day is one of my favorites. There is nothing like a bit of struggle in cold and rain to make you truly appreciate warmth and clear skies.
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