CDT Day 148 A cold day hiking in the snow and mud

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12th September

24.7 miles

Clack creek (2491) to Elbow Creek (2515.7)

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.

Next – Day 149 Brutally Cold

Everything you need to know about hiking the CDT:
Complete Guide to Hiking the Continental Divide Trail
CDT Resupply Guide
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    1. I think I’m good for everything, I’m prepared for the cold etc. losing my Nalgene bottle was hard, it was my hot water bottle in very cold times. So maybe just another Nalgene bottle and enough fuel (which I carry) to boil extra water during the cold

  1. I camp a lot in cold weather in the Eastern Sierras by Mammoth and always put my socks in my sleeping bag which is rated at 20 below zero which saves them from being frozen in the morning. The coldest I have camped was 5 degrees and it sucks putting on a ice cold pair of jeans in the morning..

    1. I considered putting my shoes and socks in my bag but I didn’t think it would be they cold. I was caught out. I also considered pouring boiling water on them, they were already wet, at least they would be warm for a short period

  2. Does seem a tad early for the cold and snow, If I was you I would be singing at the top of my lungs to scare yogi bear away while hiking…Do you have something that tells you the temperatures.

  3. So great to get an update. I hope you are staying as warm as you can in these conditions. Thanks for the great pictures that really capture what you are up against in this beautiful country.

    1. I am right in the limit of what my body and gear can cope with. It has been brutally cold. But I’m safe and still moving north.

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