March 23rd - The Lost Expedition

Decide to give knee and legs some rest by just going to a campsite 4 miles out today, and then the Low Gap shelter seven miles farther the next day.  Start at a leisurely 10 AM and decide to rest early and often. Nice day, although with a light rain. More rocks. More hills.

Keep walking, and run into windier and colder conditions. See two woman separated by about a quarter mile, talk to the second one and they are slack packing, going to Tesnatee gap, some 4 miles away. Continues to get colder and windier, so swap in most of my winter gear. First time think of hypothermia, and worry a bit for the women. Just try to walk faster and keep head tilted toward wind.

Eventually get to a section where things settle down and keep checking map for camp site, but like much of this trip the only thing I'm pretty sure of is I'm on the Appalachian Trail.

Finally come to a Gap, coming down trail seeing road and parking lot.  For some reason, burst into "Day-O" as I come down, but no one is there. Their loss. Check the sign and I'm at. Tesnatee Gap, 5.5 from Neels and the same distance from the Low Gap shelter. Now what?

Well I'm running low on water, but my knees and legs feel good. It's about 2:15 and if might be able to get to Low Gap by 6:30 or so. Decide to give it go.

More of the same terrain, weather gets colder again but just keep at it and make shelter area at 6:15. I am cold and hungry. Set up tent (going much faster now), get water and make Raman with pouched chicken while hanging at the shelter.  Decide to just head back to tent and get in to make sure I'll be warm enough. 20 degree bag and 20 degree liner work great. Very warm in tent as temperatures continue to drop. Can not sleep but drift in and out all night.

Around 2 AM hear consistent sniffing and scrabbling around tent. Put on headlamp and look outside, see nothing, maybe it's the wind. Then realize I still had the unused chicken in my cook pot, and even I can smell it. Decide to bring cook pot in tent, and cover with rain and winter coat.  This keeps me up for a while, but try to sleep since anything going after the pot would be noisy and wake me.

Rest of night is uneventful, although little sleep.


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