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Days 1 -- Snow and Drenched Gear

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Day 1 (3/3) -- after a sleepless night for me because of anticipation for the hike, John and I drove up to the parking lot just north of Springer, hiked south one mile to the southern terminus with our wives, tagged up and headed back north to begin the hike.
Within the hour we got our first taste of trail magic. The kind from up above -- an incredible snowfall that you could not have ordered up any better. It didn't stop all day. It was a pretty amazing experience ... Until we got about 45 minutes out from Hawk Shelter. By that time there was 4" of accumulation, the wind picked up, we had some elevation to ascend to make the shelter, and the temperature was dropping. By the time we got to the shelter the snow was blowing sideways and there was no room at the inn. We had no choice but to tent outside the shelter. We each set up our one-person tents and decided to throw our gear in one and both hop in the other so as not to freeze to death. Only way we could fit in was to sleep in opposite directions (my feet up by his head and vice versa). Not a lot of sleep that night, maybe 4 hrs at best. Not so much from the cold but from not being able to move. We both got up with pools of water around the small tent due to all the condensation from our breathing through the night. All of our gear was soaked from the snow while setting up the tents, and now all of our clothes were soaked as well.
Incredibly beautiful hiking during the day, but a rough night and day 2 was going to be rough as well.

Updated 03-06-2016 at 06:38 by Three-Jack