I promise I am not recycling my blog posts but this one is going to seem very similar to one from last week. We set up camp in a warm afternoon on a beautiful ridge overlooking the valley. As soon as we went to bed I heard ice crystals pelting the rain fly. I was having a hard time sleeping so I put in my ear plugs. If you can’t hear it it isn’t happening, right?
Wrong. So wrong. We got a pretty big snowstorm last night and there was a good 3-4 inches of snow piled outside and on my tent when I woke up. It was so hard to force myself out of my warm sleeping bag knowing all of the freezing morning chores I had to get done before hiking. I started by making coffee while still wrapped up in my down bag and that gave me the courage I needed. I still whimpered a bit when I had to pack up my tent. My hands hurt so badly in the cold and it takes forever to wrestle that frozen thing into the stuff sack.
We got going at 7:45 and had a hard time following the Trail in all of the snow but it was really pretty. The trees had grown these delicate layers of ice crystals and when the sun started to peek out it reflected tiny rainbows off of the snow. I spent a few minutes getting some cool pictures and my favorite is this one with the blue sky peeking through the icy trees.
It warmed up nicely and we hiked steady. We had 20 miles to cover today so we had to keep moving. We stopped for lunch at a beautiful stone shelter and ran into a SOBO hiker that had started in Harpers Ferry. He had badly miscalculated his food needs for this remote section so we helped him out with a few meals so he could get to Pearisburg in one piece.
Today’s terrain was tough. Not so much the climbing but we had a 3 mile stretch of really rocky trail that was angled on a pretty steep hill. It was slow going and we didn’t get to camp until 5. We’ve been going pretty strong lately and I can feel it in my whole body this week. I am taking a zero when we get to Daleville on Sunday and it will feel great after this 16 day push is over.