11-14-12

Days since my thruhike began: 210
AT miles hiked today: 21.4
Total AT miles hiked: 1894.8
Miles to complete my thruhike: 289.4

Woo, less than 300 miles to go and I've almost reached 1900 miles! This is a big deal to me. My hike is nearly over, though I still have a lot of hard miles and cold weather to push through before the end. I don't want it to end. But I can't wait to enjoy the comforts of civilization regularly and see my family, friends and my pets! I miss them and appreciate them more than ever.

It's so cold! I believe it was in the teens this morning. My Aqua Mira water treatment drops froze while I waited the five minutes for them to react. I had to hold them in my hand to melt them, and then I added them to my slushy water. I'm not sure how effective they are in this situation.

Water in the soil was frozen into beautiful crystalline shapes on the trail. How does this happen? It's neat to see and fun to crunch them as I walk. It stayed cold all day and the frost stayed on the fallen leaves that cover the trail until after 1pm. I could see my breath freezing in the air all day. I fell on my face again today, but not because of my ankle. I just tripped. I met a hiker named Nattie at lunch. He told us that Sharkey is around, and Funguy, who we met in Maine as Andrew, though his girlfriend was with him then. Sharkey got me water in the Bigelows in Maine. I'd be happy to see him again as he heads south after completing his northbound thruhike. That is called a yoyo hike, doing first a northbound thruhike, then doing a southbound thruhike immediately after. Or, going south, then north, like the Barefoot Sisters did.

My ankle brace has given me a blister on my left heel. I taped over the blister today, but it still hurts a lot, and got worse today. I night hiked alone for 2.5 hours in the freezing cold with the batteries dying in my headlamp to get to the shelter tonight. I had to go over Blackrock mountain, too, which was rocky and I believe there was a dropoff, though I couldn't see it. Then the trail was blocked repeatedly by multiple, messy blowdowns that nearly took out my eyes and pushed me to the edge of the mountain as I tried to get over and around them. Sandy must have hit this side of the mountain hard.

I was encouraged to see the glow of the fire in the distance, and I watched it the whole way down to the shelter. I told myself I am a badass for doing this. I never knew I could be so tough!

Funguy, Mandela, Terranauta, Stonewall, Eagle Eye and I ended up at Blackrock Hut. Funguy lent me his bright headlamp to do my chores because I had no spare batteries. I wrapped my tent around the lower beams of the bunk to make a cubby, but it is so cold, even with a hot water bottle, that I ended up sharing Eagle Eye's tent which was much too small, and claustrophobic but we both stayed warmer. Everybody else set up their tents and hammock in the hut, but there wasn't room for Eagle Eye's tent inside the hut, so sharing helped both of us.

I was the last to arrive at the shelter at nearly 8pm, and I didn't really get warm for most of the night, but I didn't freeze either. I hope it warms up soon.