Vosges - Day 3 : Snow
I woke up alone in a pile of snow in the middle of nowhere.
The view was beautiful and it was nice to wake up alone in nature. This was one of the reasons why I had decided to go on a winter hike. I tried packing everything on top of my bivy bag so as to not lose anything. I discovered my high leader shoes had frozen rock solid. It took over an hour to get them on and even then it hurt just wearing them.
I tried to make soup for breakfast as I hadn't eaten sufficiently during the previous days. Unfortunately, the matches I had kept in my waterproof jacket had gotten wet, likely from sweating. I had also packed a magnesium stick but couldn't find it anywhere. I figured it had gotten lost when the custom officers went through my luggage. I ate some granola bars instead. Despite the lower elevation there was still a lot of snow and ice which made walking difficult. I found a few rivers to refill my water bottles and managed to call home.
After a long walk I reached a larger road near a reservoir.
I started to get pretty hungry and thirsty, and in hindsight should have taken a break. The route went steep uphill. I came across some of the open, snow covered places I would encounter more later. The snow was super fine which made it difficult to walk through, especially uphill. I felt really warm but it wasn't easy taking off clothes in the deep snow. I think the last 500 meters took me over an hour. When I reached the summit of the hill I saw a few people cross country skiing, besides a few cars those were the only ones I had seen the entire day.
Shortly after it already started getting dark and the climbing less steep, which made me feel cold as my clothes were damp from sweating. After a few hundred meters I started to feel nauseous, likely due to a combination of not eating and drinking enough, the cold, and the difficulty of ploughing through the snow for hours. Most of the food I carried required cooking, which I couldn't do because of my wet matches and lost magnesium stick. Instead I ate some dry granola. I felt tired, thirsty, hungry, and sweaty. I was only half a kilometer away from a road, but this was still one the most remote part of my hike. Because of the cold I considered using my heat blanket. Then I remembered. That's where I had stored my magnesium stick!
There was no good camping spot anywhere, so I pitched my bivy bag on the trail and melted some snow. That took a lot longer than I expected. Next I wanted to make some macaroni, but discovered the 'mix for macaroni' I had brought was only mix for sauce. I also carried pancake mix, however, that would take a long time to make in the cold. Instead, I mixed some granola with water and apple sauce powder. It tasted horrible, I think the snow contained a lot of pollen from the surrounding pine trees, but at least I had something warm to eat.
A lot less hungry and tired I went to bed, I planned to take some rest and reconsider my hiking plans the next day.