11-13-12

Days since my thruhike began: 209
AT miles hiked today: 12.4
Total AT miles hiked: 1873.4
Miles to complete my thruhike: 310.8

I am on Hightop Mountain at the hut. This morning I woke warm in my tent inside the shelter while rain poured outside. I was not motivated to move out of my sleeping bag in the freezing rain, especially in the dark. We went to bed imagining we would hike twenty miles today, but that requires an early start to avoid too much night hiking. It was so cold. A cold front followed the rain. I wish I had a thermometer to know exactly how cold it is but it's below freezing, definitely. The trees were covered with thousands of raindrops illuminated by the sun into sparkling rainbows. The whole forest was aglow. I thought of Christmas lights, but this was better. I didn't realize at first that they were frozen. Was it an ice storm? We were lucky to be under shelter last night. I hope everybody is staying warm out there. I took some pictures, but don't believe I did it justice. It was a fantastic fairy land of glittering light illuminating every twig and leaf and tree when the sun shone through it. Wow, am I lucky to see this, but not to have been out in it.

We met Mandela and Terranauta again! They hiked up to Hightop Hut in the dark. We met them in Maine when they were heading south on their flip flop and we were heading north. This is so much fun! Liam and Jamie and their dog, Sam, who barks at people, were already here when we arrived at dusk. They had a fire going and shared their food with us. They are doing a northbound section to test their gear for a thruhike later. I would have loved to hang out longer, especially making music and singing, but it is so cold that I have up and crawled into my slurping bag. It was great having a guitar and ukulele both, with Mandela and Stonewall playing, but I fear we all will suffer a colder night because we hung out. We all hope to meet at the Chinese buffet in Waynesboro, so Eagle Eye and I planned a big day tomorrow. Let's see what the day gives us.