Day 5 – snow

I woke up with my new four fellow hiking friends covered in snow. Our shelter with a makeshift tarp had failed on the edges and since I was sleeping on the edge, most my gear (including myself) was either dusted with snow or completely frozen. It was very cold, maybe below 20 and getting up and moving was very very difficult. We all laid there until at least 830 or 9 before forcing ourselves outside into the frigid air. After I finished my least favorite time of the day including packing up I said good bye for what I though was forever and began trudging through the few inches of snow. As with walking in sand, walking in snow is very tiring and slow. I could not keep my normal pace and slid all around. It wasn’t until I put Stabilicers on my feet that I began to pick up the pace. Stabilicers are a rubber sole that pulls over the top of your normal shoe and has small cleats in it that grip snow and ice better than a normal rubber sole. It is like an extremely lightweight crampon. They worked very well and I was impressed. I really doubt the day got above the low 20s so I tried to keep moving and have most my food and water available on the go. It was a constant struggle to stay warm but not to start sweating as that would make me colder in the long run. I reached the half way point for my day at a small shelter and took a good long break under its protection. As I was about to leave, one of my fellow hikers from the previous night showed up with her shivering dog. I helped warm him up a bit, made sure everything was ok and pressed on. Shortly thereafter I passed Pickles going the other way and he said he was almost done with the entire trail. He said he hiked half in 2010 and was in his last hundred miles of finishing up the other half this year. I congratulated him and moved on towards a shelter in which to spend the night. I climbed a long icy mountain to a fire tower and in the place of the shelter j hoped to stay in was a sign saying it had moved further down the trail to renovate the site. Just what I needed, more hiking in the dark. I put on some upbeat music and finished the last couple miles where I scarfed down some food and am ready for a night in the low teens temperature wise.