Saturday, December 25, 2010

Jones Branch

Snow on Christmas. This is in the morning. A lot more fell.

0 miles

When I decided to spend Christmas on the trail, I knew not to expect a turkey dinner or a pecan pie. I checked my stockings—my hiking socks stuffed in my sleeping bag to dry—but Santa Claus did not find his way into my tarp last night. Maybe because my tarp doesn’t have a chimney.

What I didn’t expect, having crossed into Alabama, was a white Christmas. Three inches of snow fallen on the trap since I woke up, and it’s still falling. I think they call it a blizzard down here. I didn’t expect for Christmas Day to be that most extraordinary of luxuries, the trail zero.

I wasn’t home for Christmas, unless my little green teepee counts as home, unless I carry home in my heart. I didn’t have any gifts, except for the snow falling, and my dog wrapped in an orange ribbon to keep hunters away. My gifts were under a tree, though, the over-burdened pine my teepee hangs from.

Ramen noodles with onion and mashed potatoes is a poor substitute for turkey and stuffing. But I’ll take it. Of any day to take a trail zero, this is it. A little vacation from hiking today cuts into my daily mileage and into my food stores, but oh well. It was worth it for a day of reading and burning candles and watching for patterns in the snow on the silnylon walls.

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