...the cold keep going.
There's nothing like waking up in a tent with a bursting bladder only to discover your boots are freezing, the rain is falling, and the wind won't let it touch the ground. Pretty much the only option is to stomp around in your boots, do some jumping jacks and just keep hiking.
This is the thing about hiking in winter months. Maybe you don't think of March as being winter any more than you'd imagine feet of snow in Georgia. But on the AT, weather is crazy. It changes quickly and it precipitates constantly. Those who begin their thru-hike any earlier than March 1st are guaranteed some snow. This is one of the reason's we are very content with our new start date of March 24th.
Back in January, Dustan and his pal Justin Honaker decided to take a little joy-hike up to Mount Rogers. They literally picked the coldest night of the year. Without getting in to their reasoning (or lack thereof) they didn't take a tent. They opted instead for a shelter that didn't keep out the snow, and ended up sleeping halfway inside their backpacks.
I love these frozen-faced smiles...
I think we have most all of our gear. There are a few things that we need for the summer months that we'll probably pick up along the way, closer to Damascus. Like a long, broomstick skirt for me. I've read they are really convenient for women on the trail because they're lightweight, great for going into towns, and quick-drying. We also need insect repellant (like heavy-duty cancer-causing DEET for mosquito and black fly epidemics) and some sunscreen. When it comes to sharing toiletries, the only brand Dust and I can agree on is Burt's Bees, so I'm on the lookout. We're getting ready for our AT night on Monday and Dustan is going to give a little sleeping bag demo. I think he was inspired by his January travels!
Ok, more to come...