Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Double Top to Tatum Lead

11.5 miles

The third day is the day when the rubber hits the road, so to speak. Now I realize: this is what it's like. Ice frozen in my water bottles all day, almost no running water in springs to drink from, numb fingers and toes every minute. What everyone says about this being the season--is wrong.

I camped dry (without a water source nearby) last night and only found one running stream today, running right through some people's front lawn. We were sitting there, eating breakfast, when some cars drove by--one pick-up truck passed three times. Probably thinking: what are these Yankee idiots doing out in 20-degree weather?

I am hiking with a partner this time, so those kinds of things feel less threatening, but we are still in Deliverance country. None of the sections of trail have been completely without a road walk portion, and though they haven't been bad, at least not as bad as I expected, it's still not fun to walk around with a backpack in front of someone's house. It makes me feel like some kind of criminal drifter. Which just goes to show how far outside of societal norms I have wandered.

The trail is much more like the southern Appalachians than I expected, both in climate and in scenery. The cold is awful, but it's so much more of an adventure to be doing this hike in winter. So much more ambitious and dangerous and exciting. At least, that's how I feel right now, beside a fire and with mac and cheese in my belly. Tomorrow morning, when I'm waking up again to frozen shoes, I may not be so happy.

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