Day 40 - Mother Nature is a B - May 15

I woke up in the morning to snow covering my tent.  I had heard some precip fall in the night, but I just kept sleeping.  The tent had done well, the snow slid off with some tapping from the inside.  I was excited about the snow, I always am.  I've seen more snow here in May so far than I've seen in North Carolina this winter.  It was only 1/2 inch, but it was nice powdery snow that covered the ground.  So pretty.  The sun was just rising, I took some pictures.  It looked like it was going to be sunny.

It wasn't.  The sun made a few brief appearances, but it was cloudy most of the day and it snowed off and on.  When we started hiking, we all had too many layers on and we had to take some off in five minutes.  I was wishing I still had a light fleece with me, the down puffy was too warm. However, walking without it in just my shirt and rain jacket was a little cold, but it worked.  It's probably still worth not carrying that weight, but I may want it in the Sierras.

Climbing up, we started to see some piles of old snow under the new layer.  There were places where the trail was covered in snow and we had to make our way around or walk in the snow.  I was glad to have my trekking poles.  We reached the spur for Mount Baden-Powell​ when it was really cloudy, no chance of a view.  We decided to keep going on the PCT and skip the summit. We did see the gnarled 1,500 year old tree on the saddle.

It seemed like the temperature changed drastically depending on whether it was snowing, or which side of the mountain we were on.  Sometimes it just seemed like we were walking into cold patches.  At one point, it was snowing little balls of ice​, snowflake sized ice.  That was when I voiced the thought that Mother Nature was throwing many tiny snowballs at us.  Tanya responded that Mother Nature was a bitch.  As we descended, the snow changed to wet fat flakes that soaked my raincoat.  It performed well, but I was getting cold.  My fingers were cold and I was walking with them between my armpits for a bit.  Tanya asked if I needed to borrow Matt's rainpants, and I realized I needed to put my puffy jacket on.  My fingers warmed up after that.  I needed to keep my core warm.

We decided to camp at Little Jimmy Campground, where there is a spring and places for many tents.  We made this decision at 3 pm, just 1 mile away.  It was the earliest I've stopped hiking on the trail, but all that snow hiking and cold was tiring.  It was also another 6 or 7 miles to the next campsite, and we had only been able to do 8 miles so far.  Seemed like a good idea to stop.

There were a lot of tents set up already, the owners likely huddled inside in their sleeping bags to stay warm.  I was comfortable in my current outfit while hiking.  Since I was wearing almost all my clothes, the only way to stay warm once I stopped was to get in my sleeping bag, too.  Thru-hikers just don't carry enough clothes to stay warm standing around doing nothing on cold nights.  That's weight you could use for carrying some more food,which is way more important when you're burning 3500-4000 calories a day.

For dinner, I had some really good crackers with chilled olive oil.  The oil was cold enough to come out in a gel.  It tasted like foccacia bread dipped in olive oil to my hungry taste buds.  I also had instant mashed potatoes with dehydrated garbanzo beans, dehydrated veggies and olive oil.  It was a tasty combo, I really like instant mashed potatoes, they rehydrate well without heat.


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