Location: Shenandoah National Forest
I’m writing this entry one day late. Yesterday I was too cold to write. I bought a pair of gloves today, a dollar ninety-nine at Elk Wallow Gap Wayside. They keep my fingers somewhat warm but make my handwriting worse than usual. They hardly insulate my hands, and they appear to be more like oyster shucking gloves than winter gloves. I only hiked 13 miles today, another short day because of the weather. Today wasn’t as cold and wet as yesterday. Yesterday when I reached the shelter my fingers hardly worked. I had a tingling sensation in the fingertips that made me laugh out loud when I tried to do something like open a water bottle or seal a Ziploc bag. I shed my wet clothes, donned some dry ones, and went straight into my sleeping bag. Last night the mice bothered me, and several darted in and out of my warm sleeping bag while I tried to sleep. I woke up to one crawling into my toboggan. I stayed in my sleeping bag for 18 hours until today when I forced myself out of the bag to hike a few miles. I’ve decided the best way to finish now is to hike everyday, no matter what arises. Winter is approaching quickly, miles I do now I won’t have to suffer later.
Putting on icy clothes this morning made the morning one of the worst on the trail. Turning my socks right side out nearly froze my fingers. I packed everything that I could while still in my sleeping bag and then planned how I would get out of my bag, put on my shoes, change clothes and start hiking in the cold rain to warm myself. I didn’t slow my pace for miles; it seemed to take forever for my body to warm.
When I got to Elk Wallow, I sought refuge in the heated bathrooms. I made a few phone calls home and was excited to hear that Katharine and Barrett are planning to visit me on the second weekend in November. I ate a much needed cheeseburger with fries at the wayside. Bought a hat and gloves. Saw a bobcat today, very tame. Too cold to write. Going to bed.