The day didn't even start out good. The previous night I spent tossing and turning unable to sleep. Finally, at 6:30 I stopped trying to return to that blissful state of rest, and begrudgingly unzipped my cozy sleeping bag, immediately being greeted by cold air. Eating, dressing and packing my belongings as fast as possible, I headed out to tackle the 24 mile day we had planned.
For reasons I could not explain (though it probably had to do with the fact that I had gotten approximately 2 hours of sleep the night before) my energy levels were hovering at just about 0%. It took me an embarrassing five hours to walk a measly ten miles to the first shelter, just as it had started to sleet and rain. A nice winter mix you might call it.
After a delicious tortilla and peanut butter sandwich for lunch, I headed back out again and was greeted by a drop in temperature resulting in large snowballs falling from the sky. Yep, the white stuff was back. Five hours later you could find me alone, shivering, and trudging through ankle-deep snow frantically brainstorming an escape plan off the trail, including a one-way ticket to my warm, cozy bed back in MA.
When I got to the next road-crossing, I was ever so thankful to find Aloha, Skeetbutter and Arrowhead waiting for me, letting me know that we were all going to hike the 2 miles into the nearby town. Except, it turned out to be 5 miles away. After walking for a few minutes one guy in a truck rolled down his window and instead of thoughtfully asking if we wanted a hitch, informed us all that we were all "nuts." Great. Thanks. Like I didn't already know that.
After three miles of trekking down the highway we finally did catch a hitch from a nice older man, and all piled into the bed of his truck, and endured a very cold and painful (switched back to sleet) ride into Bland. He dropped us off at the Dairy Queen where we inhaled a ton of food (I had my very first Blizzard!) before heading over to the motel, only to find out that it was full.
Getting desperate, we called a guy named Bubba (wish I was kidding) and got a ride in his truck over to a motel 12 miles away. Aloha and Arrowhead ever so bravely rode in the bed of his truck on the interstate, in the snow! Snaps for them! We arrived at the motel safe and sound however, and were incredibly grateful to be warm and dry once more. In the morning Bubba gave us a ride back to the trail head, where he entertained us during the ride by telling us stories of his youthful past.
That day it was warm and sunny, reaching 70 degrees.