April 13, 2004
Miles To Go
April 13, 2004
Miles To Go
It’s tough getting out of a warm comfortable bed, right? Especially when you’re hoping to avoid things you’ve got planned for the coming day. At least that’s how things used to be. If I can get out my tent in 45 degree weather, start hiking in pouring rain, climb 2,500 feet over Roan Mountain with the wind whistling and the trail cascading like a river and end up with a smile on my face—I can do anything! Did I mentioned that I didn’t enjoy the morning much?
I have caught fish in less water than what was running down the trail! There were ripples, pools, waterfalls and even deposits of silt and clay. At one point my boot sank 10 inches into the middle of the trail! Rockhound called it “quick rock”—you’re just not expecting this kind of thing in the middle of the AT! Needless to say, Squish was the name of the game today!
I’ve been on the trail for over a month at this point. While I appreciate timing my bodily functions to use the privies, disappearing into the woods and digging a cathole isn’t anything new. Except in today’s absolutely pouring rain. What happens to toilet paper in pouring rain? Hmmm. That was a challenging experience that I’d be okay not repeating for a while, thanks!
The rain stopped near the top of Roan Mountain and by the time full sensations had returned to my hands 2 miles later, the sun was flirting with the fog. North of Carvers Gap, we crossed a part of the trail where the rock is estimated to be 2.5 billion years old. The oldest exposed part of the trail. There is now a chunk of this in Heather’s rock collection.
We’re staying at Overmountain Shelter, a renovated barn with an awesome view down into the valley. Burn, Hoplite and a slow SOBO hiker named Out-and-About are here as well as a friendly stray St. Bernard.
When I took a mountaineering class a few years back, one of the tricks I learned was that my body is my most dependable source of heat. If I’m wet, I’ll dry out given time. If my clothing is wet, I can wear it dry. That’s why I’m lying in my sleeping bag in relative discomfort tonight with my wet socks and gloves on my stomach. They’re drying out despite the temperature dropping out—40 degrees and falling now. It’s clouding up again but luckily there’s only a 30% chance of rain from what we’ve heard.
Green One and I have a 9-mile descent in the morning before picking up a mail drop and getting back on the trail.
I saw my first deer yesterday around lunch. The woods are starting to bloom and leaf-out even on the ridge lines, so there should be more animals in the coming weeks.
Wet gloves and socks are not comfortable to sleep with, just in case you were wondering…