Day 1

… I woke at the hiker hostel excited and nervous … one of the last ones up. Mad dash to pack my pack, use an actual flush toilet for time for the last time for who knows how long, and eat a hearty breakfast.
I was being picked up by my Facebook friend Leah and her parents for the ride to the parking lot .9 miles from the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. To say that we were excited is an extreme understatement.
The road up there was crazy steep, narrow, twisty, and snow-covered. It only added to our ever increasing adrenaline rush!
Getting out of the car that last-minute adjusting gloves, jackets, packs we kept looking at each other and saying “oh my god! we’re here! oh my god, we’re here!”
The .9 mile trail from the parking lot to the trailhead was icy slippery rock key and we didn’t care… We flew! That adrenaline and our excitement carried us all the way to the top of Springer where the icy winds whipped us. This was no genteel southern welcome! Oh no! This was Mother Nature daring us… challenging us … already demanding our best.
We made great time that day, hoofing 9 miles to Hawk Mountain Shelter at a reasonable time. But it was cold… I can’t even describe how cold. But apparently got down to 19° that night and the wind was about 40 miles an hour with occasional gusts higher. My boots and water bottles were wrapped in a plastic bag stuffed into the foot of my down sleeping bag so they would not freeze overnight. Put on every article of clothing I had except for my muddy damp hiking pants. And I was still cold. I was already wearing my hooted down jacket but not until I pulled my wind/rain jacket into my sleeping bag and tucked it around my thighs and butt was I able to get to sleep. I slept what felt like all night, waking at what I thought must surely be close to dawn. Pulling out my phone to check the time, I was dismayed to see it was only 10 PM. Ugh 😦
I rearranged repositioned myself, forcing myself to sleep for the rest that I would need the next day. I actually was fairly warm… Except for my nose. My nose was freezing.
And the inevitable happened. I had to pee. I was afraid this would happen. But knowing myself and my bladder very well, I knew was very likely. I held off as long as I could, trying to get a little more sleep in each time, my bladder woke me a little more urgency. Eventually, it had to have its way and I oh so very very reluctantly disengaged myself from my little cocoon of warmth to emerge to a midnight wonderland of sparkling frozen delight. The wind had died some and the sky was clearing enough for me to see thousands of stars scattered across the sky and a million glittering ice crystals coating every branch and pine needle. It was magnificent! My p-style helped me take care of business quickly with minimum skin exposure.
I crawled back into my warm cocoon grateful for the opportunity to have night.

5 thoughts on “Day 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s