11-24-12

Days since my thruhike began: 220
AT miles hiked today: 11.3
Total AT miles hiked: 1981.3
Miles to complete my thruhike: 202.9

Ducky dropped us off back at the trailhead and we hiked into the cold wind again. At least the sun was out so we were able to find a rock in a hollow out of the wind and in the sun to eat our lunches in relative comfort. We met two men carrying an axe and a pickaxe and two little dogs. They are trail maintainers and they had even cleared a section of the trail of the fallen leaves. That was a treat. Thank you to all the trail maintainers out there! Without you, hiking would be more like bushwacking and fewer people would be willing or able to use the trails. Speaking of bushwacking, after we crossed the bridge that took us out of those maintainer's section, we came to a big blowdown. It was a large pine that completely blocked the trail. I had to climb down the side of the mountain and cling to some of the other crushed trees to keep from falling down the steep slope as I worked my way around it. I almost poked my own eye out with all the branches, but I made it safely.

Today was full of long climbs and nice trails, but the temperature was in the thirties and then dropped into the twenties. I drink from a Geigerrig water bladder that has a tube I suck from while hiking. The water in the tube froze and I couldn't drink my water while I hiked. At the Punchbowl Shelter tonight we put our tents up inside and I made a hot water bottle to sleep with, both to keep me warmer and to make sure I have liquid water instead of ice in the morning. I bet it gets really cold tonight.