11-7-12

Days since my thruhike began: 203
AT miles hiked today: 11.2
Total AT miles hiked: 1832.3
Miles to complete my thruhike: 351.9

We hiked on snow! Actually, it was ice, mostly. The temperature was in the twenties, and then the wind just made it perfectly miserable. There was no snow falling, but no sun, just a grey and white day of coldness. We stopped by the Elkwallow Wayside and there were people there, but they had just closed the Wayside. I think we got there a day late. They wouldn't let us in, the water was turned off, bathrooms locked up, vending machines empty, but all we really wanted was a warm place, out of the wind. We followed the guy's suggestion and found a pit toilet in the picnic area. It had four walls. We went in there, sat on the freezing concrete floor next to the toilet and ate our lunches. I felt sorry for myself. Eagle Eye said, "We're going to die!" I tried to convince her that we wouldn't die, that I can take care of us in the snow and cold, that we can make it to the shelter, or stop and tent, and be fine either way. Not fun, but alive. So we went back out and climbed another mountain, stepping into footprints in snow over a foot deep, and sliding on the ice.

Then we got to Skyline drive once more, at 5pm, just as it was getting dark. Chucky da Phish called my phone while we were trying to find a shuttle or trail angel who might come get us. Stopping to talk on the phone made me so cold I could hardly stand it, and then, in our desperate moment, standing on the side of the road, Jenna stopped and asked if we needed a ride. We must have looked pretty pathetic.

We said yes and she turned around and offered to bring us to Luray, even though she was headed the other direction with her daughters and her dog. She drove us twenty minutes to the hotel, where we cranked the heater and I took a hot bath, and we watched the post election results for a while before going to soft beds. How things do change out here. Thank you, Jenna!