Brownie and I curled up on my thermarest prolite (20in wide), and tried to stay warm. I woke up several times in the night looking for warmer, dryer spots, monitoring tent conditions and snow fall.
The final time I woke up it was light out. I put on my crocs and ran to the porta-potty. Those of you who don't know me, I poop like clockwork, every morning, first thing. The snow on the ground was deep, sinking into my crocs, soaking my socks. The snow from the sky was coming down sideways, heavy and fast.
I ran back to the tent and began packing up everything inside. Then came packing up the tent itself. The tent poles are collapsible. However, they had frozen together at their seams. I warmed them by putting them in my mouth until they defrosted enough to colspse, ten seams per pole. I then attempted to roll up the tent to stuff it into its sack. The tent rain fly had collected ice over the evening and more in the 20 minutes it took me to collapse the poles. It took another 20 minutes just to get it into the sack.
Meanwhile, Brownie is shivering next to a tree, I'm screaming at the snow/tent in frustration. I ditch my yoga mat, two days of food, a water bottle and crocs to lighten my load.
Finally, we get moving through the blizzard and ankle deep snow. Keep moving, I tell myself. Brown stops several times to nest in bushes, that are just vines, having lost all their leaves to winter. I cried and demanded he continue, when he didn't I dropped my pack, threw my jacket around him and ran to the next mile marker. It was close. I ran back to Brownie, held him to warm him up. I took out my phone, 10% battery, called my mom told her where I was and I asked her to find us a hotel room close by, and told her that I was worried about Brown. I took his shoes off, I think they were trapping moisture or snow inside? I'm not sure, but as soon as I got them off, he took the lead as we walked as fast as possible through the snow.
We made it to White's Ferry! I'm so relieved, shelter, warmth! Nope, closed for the winter. The sign in the window reads: reopen March 1st. Lies! At least there is a soda machine out front, I can have that root beer I was craving. The machine only accepts exact change, I only have a twenty.
I look around the building and find a shed out back. We go in and rearrange the creepy children's toys and try to sit on the three legged chair. An outlet! I plug in, turn on and learn that my mom had called The National Park Service and had a Ranger contact me. I returned Officer Cunningham's call, we discussed my options. He told me that if I cannot find a ride he can pick me up in two hours.
I heard a noise outside the shed and went to the front of the building to explore. I see the ferry making its way across the Potomac River towards me, I patiently wait and as it reaches shore I approach the ferry boat operator, I asked him if he knew of any way to get into town. He told me I should try asking people crossing the river on the ferry "they're good people" he told me. I go back to the shed, gather my belongings and Brownie and stand in front of the building. Brown is shivering, crying and my socks/feet are soaked and frigid.
The only cars that go by are snow plows and salt trucks. Until finally my hero, Officer Cunningham arrives! He gave me a ride to Harper's Ferry. Heat full blast. Thank you for the rescue.
Tonight the temperature is 0 degrees. Cold and wet, I may have lost some toes without help.
I took a shower first thing, then I ordered too much food and finally had some root beer.
This hotel has a heated pool! Unfortunately, to lighten my load before leaving DC, I left my swimsuit behind.
Anyway, today was rough but tonight I'm in a warm bed, and my stomach is full.
Thank you readers. Goodnight.