Day 173: Trudging along

Stealthing near Lamberts Ridge [mile 1439.3; SOBO 420.9]

The most exciting part of today is that I’m trying to get myself ramped up to do Hanover in a single day. But more on that later!

I FROZE overnight. It was horrible. The temperature was above freezing (my water didn’t freeze), but with the wind chill, I don’t know. All night I lay there and shivered. I wanted to pull up two more blankets, but I didn’t have them! I was wearing my long underwear, long pants, long-sleeve shirt, short-sleeve shirt and sunsleeves, fleece, buff and fleece hat, and my puffy down jacket. And ski mittens. And three pairs of socks. I could have gone one more thin layer and the rain gear, but I don’t think it would have helped. The problem is the air mattress: it’s not rated for temps that low, and it’s sucking the heat right out of me. I’m going to try to pick up a higher-rated mat in Hanover, but I’m not holding out much hope; I’ve been trying, with no success. If worse comes to worse, I’ll have to get a roll of foam in Hanover, although my pack is already way too heavy again. That’ll tide me over until I can have my wonderful brother ship me my warmer pad with my next shoe shipment. (In Hanover I’ll also look into getting a heavier base layer and some other solution for the feet, until I can get my down socks back. I need one of those pairs of socks for hiking).

The upshot of all this? No sleep. And part of it’s my fault for drinking so much coffee yesterday morning, so I can’t even whine about it. I’ll just say that the day didn’t go well. I never could really get any rhythm. I was sore and tired and sluggish and fussy. I needed naptime!

First thing out of the gate was Cube Mountain. It had a new kind of rock! White and opaque, and veined and shiny like quartz. Is it quartz? Anyway, the views from the cold mountain were beautiful, if somewhat flatter than I’ve gotten used to seeing in my mountain views, lol. I wouldn’t have wanted to tackle those rock faces in the rain, but today was dry and crisp.

After that came Smarts Mountain. That was higher and rockier on the ascent, but still easier than the climbs north of here. Coming down there was even a little rebar.

I was so tired that I almost stopped before Smarts. I didn’t want to end up camping at 3200 feet when I’d been so cold last night. Instead I pushed through as long as I could. I spotted this stealth site that’s barely visible from the trail, and I grabbed it. It’s supposed to be warmer tonight—I hope!

So. Logistics are getting complicated. It used to be ‘Buy a bunch of food. Hike a hundred miles.’ Now the towns seem to be coming more frequently. Plus I’m in as much of a time and money crunch as the NOBOs are, so I need to start being very strategic with my resupplies. Case in point: Hanover.

It’s right on the trail, but the laundromat isn’t. I’m going to skip the laundry this time. Which is fine, because there’s no place to shower. That should bother me more, I suppose, except I’m used to not showering for a hundred miles anyway. I’ll probably start doing the laundry/shower routine when I stay in town, but I won’t be sleeping over for every resupply.

I’m going to have to choreograph Hanover pretty carefully. Right now it’s looking like I’ll hike in in the morning, go to Starbucks or a diner to eat and recharge my phone, go to the outfitter, go to the grocery store, repackage my food somewhere and repack my pack, try to grab lunch, then try to hike back out by 1ish so I can get to the next shelter.

I don’t know how well this is going to work. I guess I’ll get better at it.

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Day 173: Trudging along

  1. According to “A Geologic Guide to the Appalachian Trail” you’re walkin’ on 410 – 430 million-year-old quartzite.

  2. You need a cheap space blanket between you and the matress. Keep up the good work, you can do it.

  3. Beth

    Sounds like the curse of day 2…..Still would love to send you a goodie box. Hike on fierce one.

  4. Blackbird

    Mt. Cube = Quartzite! One of the hardest rocks.

  5. Blackbird

    Those were and will continue to be the (my!) Adirondacks you’re seeing to the west, like from Cube. I miss them…

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