Day 23 – 37

I got up early from the Wise shelter and was ready to face the world. I was on the ice covered trail just as it was light and skated along to the next shelter. I knew I was making good time when those in the shelter were still sleeping. From here the sun started to come out and the weather took a dramatic change from the snow blowing, ice causing cold spell I have had in Eastern Tennessee and Virginia. It was a lot of walking down the spine of old eroded mountains that now only stand a fraction of their previous height. The Appalachian mountains are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. The views were incredible and it makes me a bit disappointed about how many of the views along the trail I have missed out on since I am hiking this in the winter. It was amazing hiking on clear, snowless ground for most of the day with the sun shining down. It sounds like this weather might stay around for another day or two. In order to take advantage of the weather I tried to eat mostly out of my pockets to eliminate down time and to continue walking. I wasn’t worried about eating all my snacks since I will be crossing a highway with some gas stations tomorrow morning where I also hope to get a hot breakfast. I passed the partnership shelter near the Mt Rogers visitors shelter shortly before 6pm and decided I felt good enough and the night was nice enough to put in 7 more miles. This last 7 miles was trying and included some ups and downs on already tired legs with some snow walking mixed in. Luckily I did make it to the chatfield shelter before too terribly late only to find 3 other hikers sleeping. The only one of their names that I caught was Froglegs. It was about 9pm by the time I had my dinner of dehydrated spaghetti and was able to crawl in bed after a 37 mile day!