PCT Training – Days 3, 4, 5, 6

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Days 3 and 4 were training hikes on my own property due to road conditions – Both days were just 2 to 2.5 mile hikes so nothing special – I live on a hill and have 10 acres so I do get to train going up and down hill, and stepping over logs and what not.

My very talented photographer wife took some super-up-close photos of millennials, er uh I mean snowflakes that landed on my beanie and jacket – check out how cool they are.

Day 3 was 18F with a wind chill of 7, day 4 was 7F with a wind chill of-5. Still I am having a problem with proper layering and overheating on trail even with the very cold temperatures. I consulted the Facebook PCT Class of 2017 group for their input. I don’t really want an ironic gravestone saying something like “He froze to death because he overheated” lol.

Day 5 was a zero day, it was 3 degrees outside and I didn’t have the energy or motivation really.

Today, day 6, I had to decide between watching the Steelers beat the tar out of the Dolphins, or hitting the trail – so I decided to hike some miles on the Ozark Trail, a small piece of which is conveniently close by. It was 25F today, didn’t check the wind chill but I would guess it to be about 17F – and while I had changed up my clothing a bit, to a fleece base layer and a very light fleece hoodie, with a UL wind breaker, and a UL down hoodie, I started out cold but by 30 minutes in I was ready to start shedding layers. Today’s hike was the most strenuous yet, and I felt it in my upper legs, hips, and butt! Good, finally reaching a point where I am pushing my muscles and getting them into shape. It seems odd though to be overheating while watching my breath and having my ‘stache freeze up on me hehe.

The trailhead for the North Fork section of the Ozark Trail is a bit sketchy, I didn’t like leaving my SUV there – very trashy, large dead animal carcass, and a car slowing down to look at the weirdo with a backpack on… not to mention I forgot to take out 2 of my favorite and pricey jackets, one a Harley jacket and the other a nice London Fog I received for Christmas. Fortunately everything was fine when I returned from hiking.

Nothing stellar photo wise on the trail – I signed the trail register and snapped a picture of those that signed before me, now a habit in case I ever learn of anyone having gone missing. The trail blazes were excellent, even with leaves all over the trail it was very easy to follow and very well marked – kudo’s to the Ozark Trail Association on that one since this section of the OT is not connected to the rest of the trail and is traveled much less frequently.

I took a break at one of many downed trees, removed layers, ate a snack, and cooled off a bit. The curious photos of ice in the leaves are of something I had not experienced before, they are called ‘ice roses’ also called by some as “frost flowers” which form only at certain altitudes and in certain conditions- so that was something new.

A beautiful osprey took an interest in me as I hiked back to the trail head, and did so for quite a while – I could have taken some video for you but then I decided his visit was just for me.

I discovered I don’t look very good in a balaclava – what do you think?

It was a more difficult day, a good day…now to plan where to go tomorrow…

Morgan

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