Bryson starts this chapter by telling us how bad hypothermia is. This totally isn't foreshadowing. No siree.
Anyway, hypothermia sucks. Despite popular belief, the real issue with the condition isn't just the threat of freezing to death—it's the declining mental capacities that are associated with it.
Plus, it doesn't even have to be that cold for you to catch hypothermia. Step out unprepared on a forty-degree night and you might be met with a rude awakening (or a rude sleep, if you catch our drift).
Bryson is now in New Hampshire, btw. This is one of the most difficult legs of the entire trail, featuring stunning "thirty-peaks high than 3,000 feet" for your climbing pleasure (2.17.10).
Luckily, Bryson has brought a friend along named Bill Abdu. He might not be as quirky as Katz, but he'll do in a pinch.
As they near the peak of a smaller mountain, however, the weather abruptly shifts and they're struck by brutal wind, plummeting temperatures, and a frigid mist.
They hole up to get their bearings. Bryson realizes that he had completely forgotten to bring his waterproof clothes, which is really bad. Regardless, they decide to march on.
As the walk continues, Bryson falls into "a state of mild distress" (2.17.23). Just mild? After an indeterminable amount of time, however, they finally reach Greenleaf Hut, a small lodge.
Bryson has never been happier to drop fifty bucks for a one-night-stay. After a warm, comforting night, our two heroes are right back on the AT in the morning.