What better way to celebrate the end of a great year with a short overnight hike on the Appalachian Trail! Thank you to our dear trail friend Bigglesworth (AT '08, JMT '14, NPT '14) for making this trip happen! We have a tradition of freezing our butts off with Biggles each winter, and glad we could do so this year in our home state, Maryland! We didn't manage to beat the low temps from our trip last winter in the ADK but I think we did get down to 10 degrees! Yay for feathers! Birds rule ;)
Camera: on this trip we decided to leave our big three pound DSLR (Canon 6D) at home and instead took the small Panasonic LUMIX GX1. Very happy with how these photos turned out!
We parked in the gravel lot on Wolfsville Rd. and hiked 5 miles to Raven Rocks Shelter. The shelter is a new one, very nice and we decided not to pitch tents afterall. (Although tents would be warmer. We decided we didn't want to pack up a wet-from-condensation, frozen tent in the morning though.) We were the only hikers at the shelter that night. We did see about 3 groups of hikers and 2 solo hikers on our short trip! More hikers than we typically see! I think many people enjoy getting out for the New Year. Last year on New Years we were also out on trail. We hung out around the fire for an hour or so and grilled some kielbasa. Pretty sure we went to sleep around 8pm. So goes "hiker midnight." And we slept for 12 straight hours. Cooper is always ok with this, especially since he was sharing my sleeping bag and air mat.
The walk itself was really nice. A few good climbs but nothing over 500 ft. We certainly didn't mind the workout, post Christmas and all. Most of this short section is what we consider "very flat." And the rocks on trail were dense but not irksome for us. There are several road crossings, stream crossings, a farm field crossing and several powerline/pipeline crossings. We saw no animals although we did have an animal visitor in camp at night and our efforts shining the headlamp did not reveal what creature it was.
Fun Trip! Below is a breakdown of my (Bobwhite's) winter sleep system and winter clothing. On this trip Cooper carried: 2 TurboPUP bars, 2 cups of kibble (in ziplocks), 0ne spare Muttluks boot (in the off chance of foot injury), one roll of vet wrap, a can of paw wax (although we didn't actually wax his paws this trip...), a plastic container as a bowl, and his homemade jacket. We carried for him the 40 degree Western Mountaineering summer weight sleeping bag and he slept on my winter air mat.
Bobwhite's winter sleep system and clothing pack list:
FF: Feathered Friends, UL: ultralight, BA: Big Agnes, MH: Mountain Hardware, HLMG: Hyper Light Mountain Gear.
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