Basin Creek(2848.2) to Guard Station(2884.6)
Total Miles: 2570.9
Elevation: 5,515 ft
I think the absolute worst aspect of trail life has to be putting on frozen socks and shoes on a morning that is already wet and below freezing. I slept warm enough last night, but upon waking up I could tell that it was freezing outside of my tent. I decided that it was too cold to get up and waited for it to warm up. I fell asleep again. I woke up again at 6:30. It was time to get a move on. Usually I’m leaving camp at 6:30. Once I started making noise and packingvup everyone else starting moving as well. My hands and feet were painfully numb as I packed up. I didn’t wait for anyone else, I had to get moving so I left camp first. Even though it was so cold today I enjoyed this mornings hike. The chilly conditions have really sent the foliage into autumn colors. I can’t believe how quickly things have changed. It took a solid forty five minutes before I could feel my toes and fingers again. As soon as I regained feeling in my toes we had to do a wet stream crossing. I was not amused by this.
Getting our feet wet
I’m pretty sure that no one managed to get a full nights sleep last night. It was just too cold and we also spent most of the morning trying to stay warm, which burned a lot of extra calories. We were all pretty sluggish for most of the day. When we were actually moving and not taking a break we were keeping a fast pace. The problem was that we didn’t start hiking today until seven thirty and we stopped a lot. The miles felt slow. The trail was very flat today which helped us make up lost time. We all took turns up front setting the pace for the group. I have been enjoying hiking in the back of the group. I can zone out and just follow along. Plus I can stop more frequently to take pictures. Today was an empty stomach kind of day. No matter how much I ate, I was left wanting more. Once again I blame that on how many extra calories I burn hiking in the cold. For most of the day it was in the mid to low 40’s. All of the shrubs, trees, flowers, grass, and the ground was nice a wet from yesterday’s rain. I stayed damp all day as a result. My feet stayed soaked and it was hard to get my layering system just right. I was either really cold or overheated all day.
Cold hands and feet worth it for this
Since the trail was wet and muddy animal prints were easy to see. I saw signs of elk and deer, but the really cool prints were from bears and either a coyote or wolf. I even have a picture of the doggish looking print inside of a bear print. We still haven’t spotted any live bears, but their poop and paw prints are everywhere.
Bear and coyote/Fox/Wolf? print
The goal for today was to hike 36.4 miles to end the day at a backcountry FS cabin. When we hit mile 28 we discovered a better route to take. One set of maps had this as an alternate, another map set showed it as the official trail. Therefore I’m not sure if it was an alternate or proper trail. Either way, I do know it was less miles. Today should have been 36.4 miles to the cabin, but the other route ended up being 32.4 miles. That is a pretty standard thing on the cdt. I believe that it is improbable for any two hikers to hike the same exact mileage.
First snow on the mountain tops
Around three thirty the sun began to tease us. We would get a minute or two of sun before the clouds came back in. I was grateful for even a few moments respite from the wintery weather.
Great end to a great(cold) day
“We are what they grow beyond, that is the true burden all masters bear “