Day 219: Winter?

Brink Road Shelter [mile 1890.2; SOBO 871.8]

I don’t get it. Things are happening with the weather and my body that are baffling. Case in point: I’m FREEZING. I’m freezing all the time. So I just clicked my GPS on and did an actual temperature check: 53 degrees. How can this be? It’s 53, not March in the Smokies! And I actually feel as miserable as I did then. I think. The memory grows fuzzy.

The only thing I can think is that it’s an issue of body fat.

That said, these mornings in the 20s have become brutal, particularly with regard to my hands. I’m not sure how to fix it, but I’ll try some things. I’ll bite the bullet and wear my long john bottoms under my pants. That leaves me without dry pants for tentwear, but I have my puffy pants and no rain is forecast. I just have to be careful about sweating. I may have to pick up a pair of heavier pants (my March pants were heavier; these are silkweight) or another baselayer to compensate for the loss of body fat. I hate to spend money on clothes I’m going to grow out of, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to get anything until Hamburg in a couple of weeks anyway, but we’ll see. Maybe even just a pair of panty hose from the CVS; that’s an old trick that might work. If only panty hose weren’t so revoltingly uncomfortable.

I’d also start picking up Hot Hands, despite the weight, if I could get them every four days or so.

The other issue I’m having is gastrointestinal. Either I’ve picked up a bug, or the recent increase in town food has fouled up my digestive process. I think that over the course of a super-long hike, you need to keep your nutrition on a leash. I haven’t, because who expects their hike to go super long? Nobody! So I may have put some extra stress on my food-processing equipment, and I may be paying the price now. When I get home, that little piece of readjustment should be interesting. By which I mean potentially disgusting.

So. I woke up at dark o’clock and once again couldn’t pry myself out from under the quilt until 6:00. It was so bitter cold (mid 20s, I think), or FELT so bitter cold, that I couldn’t even face getting my hands wet to brush my teeth. I went unbrushed. I hope my dentist isn’t reading this.

But worse—the cold feeling was so miserable that I just cried while I packed up my camp. I’m running out of tissues. If I’m going to continue to sob about how rotten I feel, I’d better come up with a contingency plan for snot.

The day was cold and windy and gray again. Remember the bleak brown from down south? The forests are starting to look a bit like that: bare boles in a mud-brown landscape. Full circle.

The walking was mostly easyish, except for the rocks and the damned leaves! The leaves! The morning started with a ridgewalk to a picnic pavilion with a view it was too windy to enjoy. It looked Roman. A Roman villa. The guide says camping is prohibited there, but I can’t help but think that people do it anyway.

After that, a long descent, and I got to the infamous Joe to Go at around noon.

I owe Tony’s Deli a mea culpa. It’s not Tony who’s the Soup Nazi; it’s Joe! Look, they even share a vowel.

Yeah. Joe. He has his way of doing things, that’s for sure. But he quipped a little. He said he could get to Harpers Ferry in two days. And he made me a fabulous sandwich. So there it is. Joe to Go: two thumbs up. But for gods’ sake, make sure you leave your pack on the side of the building!

After Joe’s, another climb and another ridgewalk. I got as far as this shelter. They’ve just built a brand new one; I’m down here warm in my tent, though.

Tomorrow: the Mohican Outdoor Center. That’s the plan, trail permitting!

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Day 219: Winter?

  1. Sorry for the suckage and cold. I think we are in an unseasonably cold snap across the US. Seems like picking up some warmer gear would be worth the weight. But then again I have no way of knowing how bad it is to wake up when it is dark and cold! Blessings to you!

  2. shari wb

    Oh. I’m so glad to read “warm” in your tent! I’ve got the chills just reading about it!

    Does it help to meditate about hot summer beaches? Or does that just get you mad?

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