It was brutally cold. I was unable to sleep. My sleeping bag is rated to 15F (-10C) and it barely kept me warm. There was a layer of ice on the inside of my tent and either snow or ice crusted on the outside of my tent. Even my shoes were frozen. As I cooked breakfast in the tent the heat defrosted everything causing rain drops inside the tent. Embrace the brutality, I repeated to myself.
I started hiking. My feet were so cold I thought they had frozen solid. My hands were so cold they felt like they were burning. I lost all ability to move my fingers. It took a horrifying hour to warm my body.
Once I was warm I didn’t want to stop hiking. For the first 5-6 hours I didn’t stop longer than 2 minutes. Only long enough to sip water and eat very quickly. This worked at keeping me warm and the miles seemed to fly by.
It was a little warmer in the afternoon and I was able to rest a little longer. When I say a little warmer, it was still below freezing. It snowed several times during the day, once when the sun was shining.
I took a wrong turn. I was following the trail made by a bunch of horses and mules that I met a little earlier. It was almost a mile of wasted effort. My fault for not paying attention. I did meet some other brave hikers during my detour. Turn out the trail I was on led to a trailhead. But no other CDT hikers were sighted. It was over 8 miles till I saw footprints, well, there were the grizzly tracks. Till then I was breaking trail.
Camp was snow free after a descent to Elbow Creek. I’m so glad I wasn’t camping in the snow.
Today I walked over 2500 miles since Mexico which means I walked over 4000km today.