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Album: journal:day28

Hazen Notch Camp to Jay Peak
25 Oct 2005
Day 28
7 miles, 269.3 cumulative miles

I had so few miles today I stayed in my sleeping bag too long. I almost did not make it to the emergency shelter at Jay Peak Ski Area. The problem was that it started snowing. It wasn't snowing hard but it did not stop all day. I began to be affected somewhere between Domeys Dome and Gilpin Mountain. Also my feet and hands were very wet and cold which was bothering me also.

By the time I descended to Jay Pass I was dreading Jay Peak. I even considered trying to take the road to a nearby hotel and restaurant instead, but I really wanted to set myself up for finishing tomorrow and Jay Peak is the last major obstacle. With the continuing snowfall going up the Peak would get harder and harder the longer I wait. I knew the snow was already going to be bad and my hands and feet were problems. I don't really have the right gear to deal with days of bad snow especially after all the rain and mud that already had me soaked.

There is a tiny shelter just north of Vt 242 at Jay Pass. Resigned to my fate, I used the snow-filled shelter to eat my last Snickers and make myself some bag feet. My sister would be so proud. I put on my last pair of dry socks (Half Mile accidentally took a pair with her after our last laundry - grrr), slipped on two plastic bags, then put on two wet socks and my boots. It worked wonders. My feet began to feel okay. Yea for vapor barriers. I didn't have anything for my hands though I briefly considered duct taping my gloves but decided I didn't have the time.

Back on the trail I was surprised how nice the hike was going. Indeed it was almost pleasant. Even my hands were okay. I found that by keeping them at my sides with my digits curled up inside the sopping glove and just dragging my poles, my hands warmed up all pink and tingly very quickly. The snow was getting bad though. After 1.5 hours it was up to my knees in places, and I was having to grunt through steep sections. Near the summit the wind and snow were increasing, and I was rather cold. My empty glove fingers were frozen solid.

Suddenly a wooden fence was visible between the trees. A ski run! The summit and the end to the day's ordeal were near. Sure enough around a bend and through some big drifts I was knee deep on a piste. The wind driven snow was tearing my face like a cheese grater and the light was fading fast so I took the recommended bad weather summit bypass and postholed up the ski slopes a couple hundred feet to the tram station where I met the LT again.

The tram station has an emergency shelter for hikers, however, I almost couldn't find it. That would have been a problem. At last I found an unlocked door and fumbled in the dark with the chain and latch until it opened. I stumbled inside and closed the door. Out of the wind, it felt hot and wonderful. In reality I am writing this in a dank basement.

I did not want to go back outside even for a second to collect snow to melt so I ate half a bag of dry stuffing mix and washed it down with 9 oz of hot Gatoraid. I'm thinking about the 21 oz medium rare prime rib I ate in Manchester.

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