Day 15: cold hands edition 

*we stayed somewhere with no cell service last night (and most of the day) so will be a bit behind until I have guaranteed battery 

I slept horribly last night. The low temperatures made it hard to stay warm and around 245 I had to pee, but i couldn’t fathom getting out of my sleeping bag. I tossed and turned until 555. Note to self: just be cold for a few minutes and use the bathroom. 
I dragged ass out of bed and grabbed my food bag along with Chrissy’s and Jimmy’s. they’ve been doing all kinds of little things for me, so I figured I would save them a trip up the hill. When I got back from the privy people were starting to stir (possibly because of all my zippers and rattling. Oops). I sat on the edge of the shelter porch and made my breakfast, special edition care of my steady (aka girlfriend for those who are curious about what that means, but we are working outside of the traditional language for various reasons). She sent me oats with cinnamon, maca powder, nuts, cranberries and little packets of honey to go with my usual peanut butter addition. It felt good to eat something hot and my pot cozy actually kept it warm the whole time despite the 37 degree temps. 

I gave in and filtered more water before I left the shelter. Our next overnight stop doesn’t have water and I have to carry enough to get me through tomorrow morning. There’s a shelter up the trail with water but it requires walking down 300 stone steps. For some reason carrying extra water seemed less annoying. By the time I finished my water chore and the hand washing for various bathroom things, my hands were sad ice blocks. 

Thankfully it didn’t take long to warm up. It was a day of ridge walking and layer changes with cold shade or sporadic sunshine depending on which side of the ridge the trail hugged. About 20 minutes after leaving camp, I came to this view of the Susquehanna from a power line. 

The morning flew by with the flat terrain and the beautiful crisp weather. This view awaited me at my snack breaks at table rock (left to right: zach, Jimmy, halfway): 

I decided to eat lunch a mile up the trail at the shelter. Went for a real lunch today and made a tuna wrap with crushed sweet potato chips: 

At some point this morning we hit trail magic! It was intended for Reddemag, but I’m guessing he’s long gone by now. I scored a snickers, a fig bar, and some extra water. 

The second half of the afternoon was also kind of a blur. I listened to music for awhile because the birds were relatively quiet and it helps me think about something besides taking pictures of flowers and how much my feet hurt.

At lunch, Jimmy floated the idea of going one tent site farther than the plan making it a 17 mile day. Mentally, I really wanted to do it, but I knew it wouldn’t be the wisest idea. Halfway also seemed interested and Chrissy was on the fence because she has her sad toenails to keep in mind. Most of my last 3 miles were spent deliberating and trying to tell myself I’m not weak or failing if I go a moderate distance. Zach and i had just talked about the difficulty of being moderate. I’m used to big efforts that go until exhaustion and then you take the next day off. That strategy doesn’t work for a long endeavor such as this. The last two miles into the original campsite sealed the deal because they were rocky and aggravating. I got to camp and felt happy to see that zach had also decided to be moderate. I walked up and the first thing he said was how badly his feet hurt.
Chrissy showed up about 10 minutes after me. I had a feeling she would go long and she did, indeed. I’m a little sad to be behind the group, and that she decided to move on, but I know I made the right choice. We have hostel plans on Thursday that should reunite the group if we leapfrog for the next couple of days. 

Zach and I set about making a fire because it’s going to be another really cold night. Our campsite has a partial view off the east side of the ridge, so I’m hoping for a sunrise view. Now zach and I are sitting by the fire attempting to talk to a nice, but kind of chumpy NOBO who is scoffing at how it’s not really cold right now. No offense dude, but I just washed my hands and I’m cold. I happened to look over at the NOBO’s tent (which is the same as mine) and said, oh I didn’t see that it’s camo. Zach looked at me and said, exactly, with a snap of the finger and a wink, which made us break into a giggle fit. The sun is slowly going down over my right shoulder, and I’m going to hang out by the fire for a bit. 

Mile 1151.5 to mile 1163.2 (11.7)

Total miles: 160 

Creature feature: pretty slow day in the woods today. a lot of bird song and a couple of butterflies. 

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