When light crept through the trees and lit the fog around the shelter I dreaded the idea of another day. My stomach was empty and growling after a night of vomiting. Others gathered their stuff, packed up, and set off to go hiking. I laid on the shelter floor, dust from dirty boots coating my quilt and sleeping pad. The misty rain had washed the strewn remains of last nights meal spilled outside the shelter, but I had not forgotten. After a couple disappointing days just two days ago, I desperately wanted to be okay. But it was too early after such a long night so I rolled over and went back to sleep.
Eventually my stomach settled and the thought of continuing became less unbearable than the thought of stopping. That’s really all it ever was, never inspiration to continue, just dread at the thought of quitting my Appalachian Trail unsupported record attempt so early. Continue reading Stratton Mountain: Day 18, 36.7 miles
When I arrived at the shelter, I asked everyone what temperature rating their sleeping bag was. These hikers out for a couple days were unprepared but after hearing ratings of twenty and thirty I figured they would survive at least. We were all about to camp at 3,500 feet in open air. It was in the twenties when we all rolled in to camp and I knew nothing was going to prevent that temperature from dropping into the teens at night.
They all pulled out their trash bags, space blanets, four pairs of socks, whatever they had to insulate them. A couple went so far as to even leave their unlaced boots on in their sleeping bag and put their feet in their packs.
And sure enough, they all were miserable and they all struggled to sleep. And sure enough, we all awoke to clashing of sleet hitting the tin roof around midnight. And the next morning we all had mixed feelings about the beautiful couple inches of snow on the ground.
I guess I should have expected this. Winter thru-hike plausible? Maybe. Winter thru-hike sensible? Probably not.
Another crummy day with every mile an absolute struggle. The mud did not get any better but the rain stopped. I hiked up to Stratton Mountain hoping to witness the magnificent 100 mile view that inspired the creation of the Appalachian trail. But it was not meant to be. The 24 degree air had frozen any precipitation onto the steps of the 50+ foot fire tower and the mountain was completely fogged in.
I watched the skies clear off when I was less than a mile down the mountain and the temperature rose quickly as the sun shone. I guess the joy of a thru hike is there will always be another view.
I am really struggling to get my legs under me right now. I think I over did it with the past few days and the twenty a couple days ago. Today I did seven and yesterday I did three. I love these shelters though. This one sleeps about twenty people with a loft and six bunks. The one yesterday had a wood stove that I let burn the entire night.
The Vermont mud seems to be getting worse and is driving me insane. That could possibly be the problem with getting my legs moving. I can’t achieve any sort of rythm with the mud. And to extend the extra effort of pulling my feet and poles from the suction of the mud may be draining me.
The constant rain kills any sort of inspiration I have to hike. I guess it is the reason I and this beautiful world are here so maybe I should appreciate it more. I just wish it could sprout from the ground like plumbing rather than falling onto me. Maybe in heaven, right?