Dolly Sods Hiking

After a week-long, intense auditor training course in Las Vegas, I was happy to look forward to a luxurious weekend away with Phil. Our adventure wonderland: Dolly Sods, WV. Weather: high in the low 40’s, low in the mid 30’s at night in the tent. wet snow fall. about 2 inches of snow on the ground.
summary: I started out the days wearing too many layers. My boots will work lovely. My feet and hands stayed warm as long as I was moving. Gloves did not work well to rewarm my hands once they were cold but Phil’s belly did a fine job. my sleeping bag is amazing, as predicted. My pack rubbed funny on my hips; it felt like there was some sort of something jabbing me between my skin and the waist belt but there was only layers of soft clothing. This could use further investigation. I carried about 40 pounds on the way in. I felt slow but feel like my week in LV contributed to my sluggishness.

I had a weekend of gear and performance testing in mind- my ability to carry weight, my new pack, my new sleeping bag, breaking in the new boots… I wanted to see how well ready I was for the next stepping-stone toward rocking the ice-world- the Daks.

notes on the weekend: I consistently insisted on wearing too much clothing. Phil never hesitated to encouraged me to take my clothes off during this trip… ;) Not heeding his advise and staying bundled, I quickly overheated due to the added exertion of carrying a pack. Cold air + Sweaty Apryle = cold Apryle. I definately overestimated how cold I was going to be and was pleasantly surprised to have incredibly warm hands and feet as long I kept moving.

We had our minds set on crossing the “uncrossable” RedCreek. Our planned loop took us across this gusher 2 times. After getting some pessimistic betta from a guy who scouted the first crossing and turned back, Phil was more determined than ever to get across that creek. We found the spot where it’s generally crossed to be uncrossable , as suggested, without going swimming and began walking upstream in hopes of finding a drier crossing. Crossing a large feeder, our optimism increased, thinking the creek would not be running so strong or deep just above where the feeder came in. I stayed on the bank with the packs while Phil jumped from rock to rock to rock then pause then splash. A quick demo of the high-knees technique for crossing streams and Phil was on the other shore wondering how the heck he was going to get back. We opted out of a wet crossing- I had had enough firsts for the day- and so, under my unmatched supervision of shouted suggestions and encouragement form the other shore, Phil took to bridging the gap at the deep spot with a big log. (see picts)

He precariously waddled across the log and we plowed up over the embankment to look for a tent site and call it an early day. Finding a small, lumpy spot, we popped up my little coleman and made some dinner. Phil wanted to make “lasagne” but I was hungry and protested that the lasagne was nothing more than pasta with sauce and cheese, so why go through all the extra work… the cheesey pasta was subpar- definately not Phil-quality cooking. We spent the rest of the evening talking for hours in the tent about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, which all seemed to bring us back to one subject: technical, mountain dreams.

It was pitch black in the tent at night and very quiet. You could hear the nearby feeder stream and every once in awhile the snow that had accumulated on our rainfly would avalanche off the side of our tent, making the sound of sliding snow on nylon. It was warm inside our tent and my new sleeping bag kept me toasty.

After a long night’s sleep and a lazy, relaxing morning in the tent, we hiked back to the car at an upbeat pace. I felt confident in my boots, and tested the goretex waterproofing to it’s fullest. We reached the car around 5:30pm on SUnday. The snow was beautiful. Back to Pittsburgh for another week in the cube.

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