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*.