AZT Day 22: Cold Wet Feet

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Wednesday, October 17
Miles: 17.4
Starting/ending: 280.5/297.9
Camp elevation: 7316 ft

I wake early to the sounds of David packing up. He’s hitting the trail ahead of us and trying to make it to Pine ASAP to keep to his schedule. I go through the morning routine – coffee, breakfast (dried apples and nut butter today), pack up. I wrap my feet in wet, cold socks and put on my wet, cold trail runners.

Dan, Mary, and I are on trail by 8am. We immediately have to ford a river of snowmelt. We do so successfully after a little scouting. We walk the dirt road and chat about our travels. Before you know it, we’re off track. Backtrack. More dirt roads. More junctions. Some mud and snow patches. It’s cold, overcast, and not actively raining. Certainly warmer than the snowy blizzard of yesterday. Lots of puddle dodging. Tons of standing water, puddles, and new streams. I’m feeling some vertigo. Wtf.

I miss a water tank somehow, but it’s ok because I fill at a random snowmelt stream. Mid-morning granola bar break (GBB). Continue on dirt roads. Eventually, Trail! Some short bursts of sunlight peeking from behind clouds. We follow David’s tracks. Bear Tracks! Topographic changes and a pretty hillside. Lunch at 12:30 at the top of the hill. Tortilla with tuna and olives and hot sauce. We take an hour break to attempt to dry things like feet and socks. Not much luck. I take off my rain pants for the first time in 2 days!

Back on trail. Downhill. Through Woods. Across Highway 87 and pavement. Trail register and water cash! We top off and pack out the empties. Past Blue Ridge Campground. Then up, up, uphill. I’m sluggish and have the hiccups. My vertigo is starting to go away. Dan and Mary shoot a head. Puddle dodging. A few views at the top of the hill. We get our feet soaked in an unavoidable marsh. Will we make it to the other side of the valley ahead? Nah we’ll probably camp on top of this lil’ plateau tonight. Afternoon granola bar break. Onward to camp another two point two miles away. There at 5 pm (early!). Stretches. Nice tiny sunset. I rehydrate my bare burrito and make hot chocolate. My feet are wet and so cold! I Retreat to my tent to warm my feet. Clean up. Settle in. Journal, read, charge headlamp. 30 miles to Pine! Sleep…

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