5/5 Jerry Cabin Shelter (15.4)

May 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Today tested our commitment to the trip. We woke up in the rain and packed our gear, then started moving to get warm. We snacked on bars for breakfast. We thought we might stop at the hostel 6 miles North along with a lot of the other hikers, but when Smoky, Slider, Mark and I walked through the gap the sun had started peaking out and it was warm enough to be comfortable so we pushed on, figuring we would save some money. We were roughly one mile into the uphill out of the gap when the sun slunk petulantly back behind the clouds and sent freezing rain our way. Heavy winds buffeted us and our shoes filled up with water so that it squished over our feet with every step, resembling tiny mice jumping on our arches. We stopped for lunch and stripped down, then quickly relayered with our soaked clothes so we could keep moving and get warm again. It was uphill most of the day, which we were grateful for for the first time, and the water mice had stopped dancing on our feet and started working on our blisters with tiny cheesegraters. We reached a fork in the trail where we could choose to take an ‘exposed ridge trail’ or a bad weather trail that bypassed it. We assumed we wouldn’t be allowed back into NH if we chose the latter so we took our chances. As we climbed over the rocky ridge, we could see a sunny valley below the clouds we were immersed in. It was beautiful. As the freezing rain picked back up and began to turn to hail, we yelled obscenities at this brazen warm dry place that neglected to include us. The ridge was true to its name and exposed us. Coming down toward the shelter, the temperature was dropping and we were no longer able to keep warm by hiking. I ate my last tiny morale Snickers and we pushed up a steep ridge to find the shelter on the other side, dry and empty. We slept next to Smoky, Slider, Daniel, and a man who sounded like the brass section of a high school marching band rehearsing at a sawmill when he slept. The temperature was in the 30s but we managed to stay warm enough to sleep amidst the ‘snorchestra.’