I was … envious?
Envious of Alan’s 13-hour nights in the tent? Envious of the 10-degree nights? Envious of having to crawl out of a warm bag at 4 a.m. for the inevitable commune with nature that goes with calling it a night at 6 p.m.?
Alan had just gotten back from six days on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Six days that saw the first cold of the season descend, bringing with it those 10-degree nights and daytime highs in the 20s. Six days with snow, a foot on the trail in places, drifts of up to two-and-a-half feet. Six rare days of bona fide winter backpacking, Southern style. His trip had the added cache of accompanying a thru-hiker down the homestretch. His buddy Rich — a k a Orson Deep Waters — was concluding his conquest of the AT (a conquest interrupted once to cut Christmas trees in Avery County in November, once to go to Belgium for the world punkin‘ chunkin‘ championship). Meanwhile, I spent the week here in Cary, sick, going three-on-one with the kids. An adventure in its own right.