It's a stunning morning up top. There are some wonderful pinks and purples blanketing the clear sky. It's cold and clear, proper January weather. The high yesterday reached 31 degrees. The low was 16 degrees. It was 27 degrees and clear at 7am observation. The mountain received no new precipitation. There is still patchy snow up top. The trails are iced over. I needed Microspikes from the double staircase to the summit. Pack them or slip & fall a lot, your pick.
I had a wonderful hike up Alum yesterday afternoon. My knee feels like it's at 80%, so things are getting better. I started at 4:50, caught sunset just above the Cave Bluffs and had to turn on my headlamp at the double staircase. I usually get into a great rhythm while night hiking, senses all tingly like and have to remind myself to pause for a moment to appreciate the stillness and unusual tones of a world without sun. The awe just flows in, filling the gaps between all the predictable human frailties. I bounded into camp with a renewed sense of perspective, no longer missing what can't be mine but thankful for all that is.
A special thanks to the anonymous folks who brought me a Sunday NY Times, my friend whose name I've forgotten who left me blueberries & mushrooms (comment if you're reading so I can relearn your name!) and Phillip & Unique, who gave me the coolest hitch I've had in TN. Thanks to Dick & Al for making some great meals and regaling me with tales of lodge life from the good ol' days. Life is good, but kind people make it even better.