Reality Strikes (Days 25-27)


Some days on the trail are more glamorous than others. I’ve been relatively lucky with weather so far, warm sunny days and cool breezy nights. Day 25 on the trail was one of those days. Seemingly perfect. I met some cool people, 4-5 thru-hikers going at about my pace, a section hiker that was celebrating his first day of retirement, and a person that had already successfully completed two thru-hikes. We had a nice evening sitting around the campfire, hanging out, and celebrating mile 300. I went to sleep in my tent that night warm, dry, and happy.

Per usual I woke up bright and early in the morning as the birds started their morning chorus. Everything was sopping wet from the rain that had moved in the night before, and the pitter patter of the rain provided a nice percussive accompaniment to the birdsong. I checked the forecast. Rain all day. Staying in my warm cozy sleeping bag longer was only going to delay the inevitable, so I got up and hit the trail. At first it wasn’t pouring, I was just hiking in a cloud that was constantly dripping on me and the cobwebs were main annoyance.

As the first one on the trail in the morning you get the distinct pleasure of cobweb clearing… The spiders spend all night preparing to catch that first hiker, but we end up catching them instead…. The cobwebs cling to our arms, our legs, our faces. Moist with dew or, in this case, fresh rain, they stick to our eyelashes and no matter how much we try to brush them off they stay and keep collecting the little gnats that buzz around in a constant tizzy.

Aftee an hour or so, the downpour really started. The terrain wasn’t too bad, but it was incredibly soggy and wet. My pants, my socks, my shirt, my raincoat, everything just got soaked. On the plus side (and keeping with the Halloween theme), the newts and salamanders came out (I saw 5 newts, and 3 newt-like salamanders) to bask in the moisture rich trail.

Eventually I made it to the next shelter, which was wonderfully dry (albeit cold and dark). I took my pack and my boots off and listened to the rain pounding against the tin roof. It was only 10:30 in the morning, but I was thinking that perhaps I was done for the day. It was hard to convince myself that going out into that rain was a good idea.

I sat around and waited, maybe the rain would let up? I got cold, so I changed my shirt and decided to cook my hot dinner and eat it for lunch. I kept waiting… The rain got worse. Eventually 8 other people showed up at the shelter and we all just sat there watching the rain. After almost 4 hrs of watching the rain, I got bored enough that I decided to keep on hiking to the next shelter. I talked another person into joining me and we trudged off into the rain.

The next couple of days were cold, wet, and muddy. These are the days that are “character building.” So beware, I may return to the world with even more character than I had when I started this adventure *grin*.


4 thoughts on “Reality Strikes (Days 25-27)

  1. Woot, mile 300!!! We’ve had a few “character building experiences” together. You will get through these days and flourish as always :-)


  2. The one time we went day hiking in the Smokies, it was the 3rd day of heavy rains in the area. But it wasn’t raining when we set out that morning, so we had high hopes…until the skies opened that afternoon, and at one point the trail we were on became more of a river with the running water over the tops of our boots and no drier route available. We weren’t able to drive back to our starting point the way we’d come, as a bridge and road had become flooded, so we had to drive an extra 90 miles or so around the other side of the park. The newts and froggies came to the trail to entertain us, though!


  3. Dave and I are traveling west in our motor home. Heading into Rapid City, SD tonight for our first stop for two nights. Our biggest adventure so far was dry camping at WalMarts! Can’t compare with your travails, but we’re having fun. I read your blogs to Dave as we are riding down the road. Thanks for the entertainment. You make it sound easy and much nicer than I’m sure it is at times!


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