Day 64 – the bitter cold

I woke up at 6 in the bitter cold, which seems to be a theme, and rolled over only to see a white blanket laying on the ground. Looks like Vermont wanted to throw some more snow my way. If the weather report proves right the temperature overnight also dropped to the low teens. My sleeping bag is rated at 21 degrees and all my gear got soaked last night in the rain storms. I was now in winter weather with cold, frozen summer gear. This is where experience took over. First I would need to find a way to get my base layers and other layers used for warmth dry as well as a way to keep my feet warm in the frigid temperatures. The answer was not one I would enjoy. I had to put on icy pants/long johns under my rain pants and then damp socks followed by a plastic bag over them on each foot. The concept here is using your own heat to either raise the temperature in the case of feet or completely dry out a layer in the case of the pants. The waterproof pants on the outside keep the warm air in and provide a sauna effect that, after a few hours of hard work, will actually dry my inner layer of pants. As for the socks, Vermont has the nickname “Vermud” and dry feet are a bit of a myth here but the plastic bag does allow less movement of cold air and water in to my feet and they stay at a decently warm temperature considering the 20 degree day. Once I was properly equipped I set out. Not too far into the day I met kinga who is a retired man section hiking in Vermont. I passed him and made my way to the top of Mt Stratton standing at near 4K feet. There was a lookout tower at the top and I decided while I was up there I should climb the tower. As I suspected the tower was a bit scary in the wind as I rose to 100 feet above the ground and the cold began to pierce my layers. All for a socked in day that offered no view. The day continued by dropping in elevation and arriving at spruce shelter where there is a built in wood stove that I decided to make use of. It warmed the cabin to a comfortable level and on this very cold night it was a welcome treat. On top of the great cabin I had one of my favorite dinners of the trail: margarita pasta made by my mother. It was quite good and a welcome hot meal at the end of a 28 mile day in the snow.