Miles Today: 11

Mile Marker: 69.3 Dicks Creek Gap

This morning started around 3:00 like a Benny Hill skit.  As soon as I tended to one problem another one popped up.  I've been using a tarp to camp, and with such limited shelter you have to be very careful about where and how you camp.  That is to say chasing after hot dogs up to 4,200 feet going into a forecast of rain and 20-30mph wind gusts isn't the ideal situation.  I was unfortunately made aware of the weather the hard way.  I also went to bed without tightening everything again after the tarp had settled.  Solid foundation for failure.

Wind and rain started whipping into my face and onto my sleeping bag.  I was able to make some adjustments to block out the rain coming in the front and got back to sleep.  I woke up later and checked to make sure I was still dry, but I discovered rain was coming in at my feet.  Repeat again but now rain is coming in the back.  Ultimately everything I had was wet.  Putting on sopping wet hiking clothes and packing a bag full of wet gear makes for a very displeasing morning.  Although I didn't let the comedy of it escape me.  

Wet clothing is annoying, wet down is no bueno.  When down is wet it loses all of its insulating power. The rain took down my sleeping bag and one of my jackets.  We have a wintery mix coming in tomorrow night and persisting through Tuesday; I need those pieces of gear.  My initial plan was to hike through tomorrow night and then head to town and skip the first overnight rain,  snow mix.  My primary concern is ice.  I can hike in snow, but I don't have the footwear for ice.  After tomorrow it should just be snow coming in for a few days.  Instead I came to town tonight to dry off.  Annoyingly enough once I got here my sleeping bag and jacket were actually dry enough. Oh well, can't unring that bell.  After getting here I also realized how exhausted I am.  I've decided to take a zero day tomorrow (no hiking) and head back to the trail Sunday morning.

Aside from wearing saturated clothing and my rain gear to stay warm, the hiking was challenging.  I was pushing harder than normal to stay warm and hoping my body heat would dry my clothes.  The mountains could tell I was in a hurry, and they whipped up some more 30mph winds for me to fight through.  I also needed to arrange accommodations and figure out a better shelter situation before heading back out.  The tarp is a cool piece of gear, but I've had to admit it isn't the right piece for this hike.  Special thanks to Shawn and Justin for helping me source and decide on the right replacement while it was too windy for me to call myself.

The moral of the story is, I do not regret chasing up the hill after the hot dogs yesterday.  I did learn some things though.  Still enjoying it.