Andy is 22!

Day 23

Hiked today: 17.0
Hiked total: 356.9
To katahdin: 1821.4

And for his birthday he got the worst 17 miles yet.the feeling of waking up in the warm soft bed is the polar opposite as now. It snowed like everywhere else, and up in the mountains there was over a foot. Sometimes we were knee deep in it, and even at its lowest it never went below our ankles. The first 10 miles was a steady up hill which wasn't too terrible, but what was terrible was the trail. Imagine with me if you will, hundreds of trees lining the trail weighted down by the snow making an impenetrable barrier. This is what the first 8 miles was like. The snow was at its shallowist, but we had to stop every ten seconds to wck trees so they would fling upwards and hopefully make enough room for us to squeeze by without getting showered by snow.

After the 8 miles, the trees weren't as dense, but then the deep snow came. Do me a favor and go to the gym, turn the a\c on to 15 and jump on the stair master for 6 hours. That's what the last 9 miles was like. My joints below my hips hurt like no other. Neither of us drank anything so we wouldn't have to stop to use the bathroom. Not to mention everything was frozen. We also weren't thirsty nor hungry at all during the hike. Andy thinks we were in survival mode and our bodies were preparing for the worst.

We finally made it to the shelter after what was easily the hardest, both mentally and physically, day yet. We quickly set up the tent and started on food. It was (even more so now) so cold that we ate in the tent -- no animal would be out in this cold, not from the south at least. We ate our food and a 2 lb cheesecake we carried up for andys birthday 'party.' We had planned to put sticks in it and use them as candles but it is just too cold. Its already in single digits and may drop below zero up here. We are all bundled up and have our extra blanket over us, so hopefully we will stay warm. We are exhausted and will be sound asleep shortly.

via BB