Day 182: Sleepless in Seattle

Clarendon Shelter [mile 1523.1; SOBO 504.7]

Last night was cold. I didn’t sleep much. At one point I remember having a detailed dream in which I was soaking in a bathtub, and the water had gone lukewarm then cold. Which was about what was happening, only without the bathtub. Just that stupid air mattress sucking the life out of me! Well, that and the fact that it was 30 degrees or lower and I was in a mesh tent with a breeze blowing.

I’ve found my magic baseline number. For me, a mat rated at about 3 (your standard Exped or NeoAir) and a 20-degree down quilt are a combination that’s tolerable down to 40 degrees. Below that, even wearing all my clothes, I’m continually cold and I wake up frequently. And it’s the mat more than anything else; the top of me feels warm, but the cold ground just refrigerates the mat. Of course, half my baffles are broken, too, which may be making the mat ineffective as well as uncomfortable; it necessitates pretty much constant adjustment.

But help is on the way! My brother is shipping my cold-weather setup: my lovely 5.9 mat and the rest of my down clothes. I have no idea how to fit it into my pack. How did I manage at Springer, anyway? Right now my pack won’t close.

The tent zipper’s also shot. It turned out not to be a lubrication issue after all—or not strictly a lubrication issue. Now it won’t close at all—or it’ll close somewhat, but with big gaps. That’s a needlenose plier repair. But I think it’ll be fine for 60 more days, because 1) there’s that little flap on top, along with some Velcro, which should keep me protected enough, and 2) there’s another zipper! It occurred to me that I can use the vent zipper at the top to close the thing. Thst seems to be working so far. Hopefully there are enough plan Bs and Cs to keep things going until mid November.

So anyway. I got up and packed up and got the hell off Killington. The other side was just the same—blowdowns, rocks, mud, debris.

It’s interesting. Vermont has had way more blowdowns blocking the trail than any other state I’ve seen. A lot of them seem recent—ie, the leaves are green and the broken trunk seems fresh. Then today I hit a long detour where the sign indicated there’d been damage from Hurricane Irene, and I thought, Wow. That explains it. If they haven’t recovered from Irene, then they definitely haven’t recovered from Sandy. The woods hereabouts must be long on damage and short on manpower to correct it.

The damage has resulted in some rerouting, and a few times I ended up off the trail searching for blazes. I had to stop at the creepy shelter and ask the guy who’s living there where the trail was. Thankfully, he knew.

After that, the day just dragged. I felt increasingly not great, both from the pack weight and the lack of sleep; I haven’t ruled out the beginnings of a cold, either. Remember back in Franklin? I got sick as a dog from sleeping outside in those freezing nights, before I got used to it.

So I stopped a little early. It’s supposed to be warmer tonight (YAY!), and I’m sure I’ll sleep like a log. Or a baby. Or a baby log.

Oh! I almost forgot! This shelter I stopped at? Scary clean! There are even flowerpots! No trash in the firepit! What’s the trail coming to? 😉








Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Day 182: Sleepless in Seattle

  1. Cute shelter. First time I’ve seen a picture of that one. Just got the last of my winter gear so I am ready to start clomping my way northward from Waynesboro on Tuesday.

  2. Patty Wykes

    Karma, sounds like you might need a bigger pack and a warmer sleeping bag. It’s not light but i’ve got a 1500 ci gregory shasta if you want me to send it to you. also, i would recommend cuddling up with someone, not for the romance, but for the sake of not getting hypothermia, dude!

    i’m worried about you, iittle darlin.


    • Oh, this is just complaining weather. 🙂 I’ll have the full winter kit in a few days and be whining about being too hot.

  3. shari wb

    Glad you got warmer things coming!

    And…. 60 days to go was a few days ago – shouldn’t the count be lowering a little each day or are you walking in place? 😉 jk

    Love you Karma! Keep on keeping on!

  4. Eh,you got this. You’re making more jokes than complaining. When you get your winter gear back you’ll be fine. Do the damn thing!

  5. You can do it!

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