Start Milepost: 2038.6 Time: 7:45
End Milepost: 2057.4 Time: 15:58
Miles hiked: 18.8
Miles to go: 132.4
Blue Side trails:
Map: Click on map pin
Scamper and I arrived at Atlanta airport at 12:20 in time (!) for our 15:15 departure. Joining us were Carole & Dave from Kansas City, MO. We have traveled together before and were delighted to be doing so again. We had hardly completed our greetings when Dave asked his first question about the AT. I immediately knew I was being peppered with potential blog topics. This was his first – “Am I ever cold while hiking?”
Yes. Any other questions, Dave?
Actually I went into some detail before we moved into another thread.
I described to Dave the two times each winter-like day that I am cold: transitioning from hiking into the quilt and when transitioning out of the quilt for any reason! The transition of the former is generally speedier than the latter! Clearly there are circumstances where the end of hiking doesn’t mean I jump into a quilt. Those comments were me just being JaxDad, although they are close to the mark.
Obviously when one wears insufficient layers of clothing in cold weather, one tends to get cold. The opposite is also true; one can get too hot which leads to sweat-soaked clothing. I carry limited upper-body clothing: a merino wool T-shirt, a wind shirt, a rain jacket, a silk sleep shirt, a fleece-T and a puffy jacket. The puff jacket is only worn as a transition item – when I move from hiking to camp activities. I could not hike in it; it is simply too warm. I have worn the fleece-T for only brief periods of time back in Georgia; it also is generally too warm. It is most often worn in camp when a puffy is not warranted. The last items I want in a tent or pack are clothing items wet from sweat or rain which is why the fleece and puffy are not worn while actively hiking. The sleep shirt is worn only inside the quilt. Thus the first three items form the basic hiking garments.
There are times during the active hike day when I tend to develop a chill that leads to being cold. One of those times is when the ambient temperature drops below thirty-five while hiking in a T-shirt. At that general temperature, another layer of clothing is necessary.
Another point of chill can occur during rain. Relentless and I were warm in a rain for a while but when the downpour did not abate we soon found ourselves chilling beyond our ability to generate heat. At that point we stopped and donned our rain jackets. Why didn’t we do so earlier? Well, because in a humid environment the rain jacket tends to sweat on the inside – although certainly not at the rate of a downpour. No need to wear a rain jacket just to keep rain out. But when we did don our jackets we were no longer concerned with moisture, rather we had an interest in retaining the heat the body generated. Hypothermia is a threat to cold, wet hikers.
The most frequent time that I chill is during a brief stop for water collection, conversation, lunch/snack break or similar events when the temperature is below 50-degrees. In those situations an added layer of clothing is worn until just prior to resuming the hike.
There have been times on bald mountain tops when I have been very cold. The return to warmth has been via the hiker trot; move off the bald and into the tree line as quickly as possible!
On most cold days I do not wear head covering but head covering is usually one of the first items I put on when temperatures drop or wind speed picks up.
Once outside activities are completed on cold days, I move inside the tent and immediately change into sleep gear: dry skivvies and a sleep shirt. I then slip into the quilt liner and then the quilt. Warmth comes quickly inside the 20-degree quilt! Night visits to the woods generally requires grabbing an additional layer of clothing for wearing outside the tent/shelter.
“How is the tent pitched at night?”
Relentless taught me a very helpful technique. We both carried tents (mine is a Nemo) with an exoskeleton, basic tent with tub-floor and screened walls and a removable fly. Said fly is difficult to position properly for attachment to the tent because its shape does not lend itself to readily identifying the inside versus the outside surface, or the head versus foot end. That identification process is exacerbated in breezy conditions. Relentless taught me to leave the fly attached to the tent at the head end when the tent is being readied to be placed into its stuff sack. With the fly still attached he then folds the tent longitudinally so that it is no wider than the folded exoskeleton. He then lays the exoskeleton and stake sacks on the tent/fly and rolls the combination tightly so that it can be placed into its stuff sack.
When the tent is then unrolled for setup, the head end is immediately identifiable and can be laid out appropriately on the footprint. Attachment of the base tent to the exoskeleton is simple and subsequent attachment of the fly does not require identifying inside/outside or head/foot. That simple identification process speeds the tent setup measurably.