I’m pretty sure it got down to 14 Kelvin last night. Surprisingly, I stayed quite warm in the hammock. I wore my down jacket and pants as well as a down hood and I was fine.
6’12” didn’t fare as well. Being in a tent, he had a little condensation problem to deal with. At sub-freezing temperatures, every breath he took literally froze to the inside of his tent. When he woke up, he had a sheet of ice all over the inside of his tent. I took that opportunity to laugh at him.
I think we stayed in our respective sleeping areas until probably 11:30 hoping the sun would warm everything up. No such luck.
We got up, made breakfast, and started breaking down camp. Here’s a picture of what I call “half-man/half-tent.”
This happens every morning. While taking down his tent he’ll just lie there and complain. It’s comical.
We got another late start today waiting on the weather to warm up. It didn’t. Also, I forgot to mention that DABS and Rocky Dennis only took one zero day, so they’re a little ahead of us.
When we finally did get going, the trail was a mess. All of the snow had melted into the trail making it feel like we were walking in oatmeal. Not fun.
I kept trudging along through the porridge and came across more Dark Eyed Juncos. I tried to get a video to show you guys how close they get, I don’t know how it turned out, though.
Dark Eyed Junco video
We kept going a bit more and made it to Wayah Bald. The weather was finally decent, but we’d just made a fairly long climb in soup so we were kinda beat.
There’s a tower at the top of Wayah Bald. If you’ll remember the last tower we encountered, the girl was doing the rope thing. This tower was no different. I hope someone is doing something strange at every tower I come to.
More Weird Stuff video
We checked the guide and saw there was a hostel nearby that would pick us up at that parking lot. We decided we’d give the trail that afternoon to dry out, stay in the hostel for two nights, and come back tomorrow and slackpack the ~17 miles to the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). No zeroes, just two nights in the lodge while doing ~17 miles during the day. Slackpacking just means they’ll keep our packs with them at the lodge and send us out with day packs to carry food and water.
The people who run the lodge are a British couple. The husband, Wiggy, thru-hiked the AT in 2010. It was a really nice place and we really enjoyed the hospitality. It was funny to hear Wiggy giving advice to people that seemed destined to die on the trail:
“When you get back out there, every time you walk by a water source without drinking, I want you to punch yourself in the face. At the end of the day, your face will be bruised and sore and you’ll know what you need to do to make it feel better.” -Wiggy
Wiggy picked us up and took us back to the lodge. After a quick shower and a meal, I’m done. Planning 17+ miles tomorrow so rest is much needed.