Vosges - Day 7 : Cross country skiing without skis and going home?
The next morning was reasonably warm inside my sleeping bag, but not even a little when I peeked outside. I forced myself to get up anyway. Despite keeping them in my bivy bag, my shoes were again frozen solid. This time there even was a thick layer of ice on them. I packed my mattress and sleeping bag and ate breakfast while trying to put on my shoes. They were frozen while flattened, so even after half an hour of bending them in shape I couldn't managed to put them on. I figured it was worth trying to defrost them using my stove. Unfortunately that didn't turn on because it was too cold for the petrol to evaporate. In total, it took an hour and 15 minutes just to put my shoes on. Although my feet were now inside the shoes were still rock solid. The stove hadn't really been a success on this trip, but at least I had plenty of food now and felt much better than after the first few days.
Around the afternoon I reached more ski slopes and another village. I passed a father playing in the snow with his daughter. He kept looking at me with a panicked look in his eyes. I probably didn't look great, but didn't feel it was that bad. A while later I saw a police car driving in the direction I had come from, while there was nothing else there.
It would be about a days' hike to the nearest train station, where I planned to end my trip. It was difficult to find a place to sleep as I was getting into a more urban area. Eventually, I found a spot in a hairpin turn going down a mountain. It was only 10 meters from the main road, but not easy to see. I quickly ate some candy and figs before going to sleep.