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The Long Trail: Day 19 : Part 1 : 10/9/20 . It started with frozen shoes. I woke up or maybe hadn’t yet fallen asleep. It was 1 am and I needed to pee. One problem - my shoes were frozen and my only dry socks were on my feet and needed to stay that way. It was 25 degrees and I opted to run out to pee as fast as possible in my bare feet over frosted leaves. I bolted out and back and quickly jumped in the tent and swaddled myself like a burrito in my quilt. . Morning finally came and with morning came the sun. We let ourselves sleep in a little to allow the sunshine to work its magic. After coffee, breakfast, and tea, I needed to pee... again. I forced myself to change clothes quickly, shoving rigid, frozen shoes and wet socks on my warm feet. It was time to hike. The one antidote to cold is movement. We said our goodbyes to friends and headed out for the day. . This trail, the Long Trail, felt strange. As if it was just beginning and already ending at the same time. Like we we’re hitting our stride just in time to head home. I was more than happy to leave the cold rain and frozen shoes behind but I’d done this enough to know I’d miss the trail in the days and weeks to come. I’d miss the miles, the people, the cozy nights in camp, and yes, even the terrain - well, maybe. . These thoughts spun around my mind as we powered up Jay Peak in strong hiker form then proceeded to slip and slide our way to the shelter in beat up hiker form. The ebb and flow of the day can make you feel like a champion then a fraud within minutes. Before long the Shooting Star shelter was in our sights. It was empty so we decided to post up and wait for Caleb to show up. Dave’s brother was meeting us for the last few miles. . While waiting we enjoyed a celebratory Pork Pad Thai dehydrated dinner and hot tea. We heard the voice of Caleb shortly before hearing him slip and fall on the sloping granite, classic Long Trail! The rest of the evening was spent catching up and enjoying a sleepover in the shelter on the eve of our completion of the Long Trail. Life is a funny, magical wild ride sometimes and this day was one of the good ones, frozen shoes and all!