Thursday, May 31, 2012

JUST ASKING

OK, taking a vote here.

Is my blog readable? Too wordy? Too detailed? Would you like it better if it weren't so descriptive?

I said I wasn't going to write so much, and I don't.... in my daily notes. But once I start putting it here, every thought I have just runs out my fingertips. If I don't put the thought down, I'm afraid it will be gone forever.

Are my posts so long as to be cumbersome to read? I know one person who will say yes, but he is a man of few words. :-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NEW JERSEY!!!!

You can't see it, but the mile marker says "Mile 0" -- the State Line!!!

Last night, after an EIGHTEEN-mile day, I crossed the state line out of Pennsyl-freaking-vania into New Jersey! I don't think the rocks magically disappear at the state line, but they should at least abate. They say New Jersey is really very pleasant.

For two days I had been dreading the climb over Wolf Rocks. It was part of why I stayed in Wind Gap, not wanting to tackle the rocks at the end of a long hot exhausting day with not enough water. I'd been told it was treacherous, especially if they were wet. They were coming up 8 miles out and I was heading for the next shelter, another mile farther, total of only 9. I figured that with the rocks and the heat, it would take me 6 hours to get to the rocks and one more to the shelter. Seven hours was enough to shoot for, the way I'd been feeling.

I bought another quart of Gatorade and stuck it in an outside pocket before leaving town, and filled my water reservoir with 3 liters. So I was carrying 8 pounds of fluids for myself, and I'd bought another gallon jug to leave for other hikers (Trail Magic), who might be desperate in the afternoon when they got to the road crossing. I was pretty much staggering under it, even after leaving off the extra jug at the crossing. There was a mile-long uphill walk out of town and then a steep climb to start off, carrying 8 extra pounds, probably about 35 pounds total.

I started something new: every hour, I took off my pack and rested 5 minutes. I couldn't believe how much this helped. A couple times I even got out my whistle and played a couple tunes. I'd feel tired and sick and start to get an anxiety attack, but when I played "Amazing Grace" I'd feel better. "Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come. 'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home." The day was quite warm but not as hot as yesterday, with a nice breeze on the hilltops.

A little more than 3 hours in, I came to some daunting rocks. What are these? No one told me about these!! I gotta do these before Wolf Rocks??? I need to save my energy! These weren't terrible, just had to be careful and keep strategizing where to step next. I slipped once but only got a sore butt. I started wondering... is it possible these are the Wolf Rocks? Naw, I've got another 2 hours before I hit them. Could it be? Naw. Is it possible? Naw. Wolf Rocks are hard. When I got down off the descent, I looked at my guide. Well, if I come to a road, Fox Gap, within the next hour, I'll know that was Wolf Rocks, but I don't think it was. I don't dare hope. I don't want to get disappointed.

A Southbounder came along and I asked him: "Those rocks I just came over.... do you know if that was Wolf Rocks?" "Sure was," he said. "They're right ahead for me!" Are you serious? That was it? Two hours early? These rest breaks, the Gatorade, and plenty of water do wonders! I assured him the Rocks were actually quite doable, and we both went on our ways.

 I was at the shelter after only 5 hours. I was 8 miles from where I was supposed to meet Steve tomorrow in Delaware Water Gap. I was not quitting at 1p.m. with only 8 miles to go, mostly downhill, to get out of Rocksylvania. I called Steve to meet me in DWG at 6:30.

My feet were hurting and I was tired but the last 3 miles were made more pleasant with a companion. I met up with this hiker, Phil, who, coincidentally, had been given a ride from Wind Gap back to the Trail by Steve when he bought my water. So Phil and I hiked together talking about all kinds of things into DWG. He helped get my mind off my burning, blistering feet.
Phil at a creek


Me crossing the creek


The farthest I've walked before this (on this hike, anyway) is 15 miles. I kept telling myself, I've run 24 marathons and done 2 Ironman's, surely I can hike 18 miles.

We crossed the Delaware River on a freeway bridge with a pedestrian walkway. Semi trucks whizzed past, making the bridge bounce and drowning our words to each other. It was pretty hair-raising and about half a

mile long. 


Delaware River


But we got to the other side and we were in New Jersey!!!! Pennsylvania is over!!! I drained the last of my gallon of fluids just as we reached the end of the bridge. Been rationing for a couple hours again and was feeling pretty dry.

The sky to the west was black. I got a text message from my friend back home that the weather map showed a solid line of red bearing down on the area and that I'd better hunker down. Steve got there just before the rain started pelting. He's got this way of timing things just right.

Today I rested. My feet are blistered, my butt is sore from the fall on the rocks, I pulled yet another tick off myself (total of 3 that were attached, plus several that weren't) and Pennsylvania in general beat me up. On the way to Steve's campground in the truck last night, I kept getting cramps and shooting pains in my feet, ankles and legs. I was shivering. I was hungry but also felt sick. I was a mess. I took Anaprox DS (prescription strength Aleve) and it didn't make a dent. I took a narcotic pain reliever my doc had given me just in case, and it worked. The pain stopped and I slept 10 hours.

I have reached New Jersey!!! I'm going to recuperate for a few days and do some bike riding. It will feel so fast and free, and no 30# backpack. Yum.






LONG DAYS, SHORT HIKES

Back up to May 27.

Steve dropped me off where he'd picked me up, and gave a ride to a hiker who needed to go to town -- "Chucky the Fish." Maybe I'll meet up with him and find out how he came by that trail name.

My hike started with a long, rocky climb, true bouldering. At least I was going up, not down. Up is much easier. That first mile took an hour.

Easy walking over deforested ridges after that (barren from zinc smelting, under restoration.) But I started feeling sick. I took a Pepcid which didn't help at all. All morning I kept up with my water but couldn't eat, except for the occasional ripe blueberry (already?)
Ripening  rarely and randomly, one at a time
Pretty, but "tick city"


 Then I started running low on water with 12 miles to go, and got dehydrated trying to ration it. I was looking for pools of water from last night's rain, but, nothing. I can filter water out of a puddle, if needed, with my Platypus Gravity Works filter. I prayed for water. It started raining. So, am I supposed to lick it off the leaves, or what? I actually did lick some off my umbrella.


No water here....

I was leapfrogging with a fellow named John. We came to the bottom of a descent and yay, there was a good-sized mud puddle! I can use that! I got out my filtering stuff and John walked on across the road, then yelled back, "Someone left water over here, in jugs!" Hallelujah!! Trail Magic! I ran for the jugs singing the Doxology.

John

Between feeling sick, having gotten behind on hydrating, the long climb at the outset, a shorter but no less taxing one after the water jugs, and a horrendously hot day, I was done in by 10 miles. There were 6 left to the next shelter but there was no way. I stopped at a sign directing to a spring, and there was John sitting on a log in a nice campsite. "You don't want to go down to the spring," he said. "It took me 45 minutes to go down and back." OK.... guess I'll keep rationing. Then John's friend Clark came along. Neither of the guys were sure they were staying, but Clark needed to top off his water, and offered me what he had left before he went to refill. More Trail Magic! It gave me plenty for the rest of the afternoon and the next morning.

Clark


The more I sat, the less I wanted to hike on. I found a place to hang my hammock and called it a day. John said, "Good call. You don't look good. That's why I didn't think you should go down to the spring." I made some chicken-rice soup and sipped it. It was actually good and made me feel better.

John and Clark both set up tents, just about in time to get out of a thunderstorm. I was high and dry in my hammock with its rainfly (a light tarp pitched over it.) It rained on and off during the night. I stayed dry but my gear was all damp.

THANK YOU, JOHN AND CLARK!!!

Morning sun on the fire ring in our campsite -- John, you'll remember when I took this one. Clark was still in tent behind leaves on right.





May 28
Another scorcher, hotter than yesterday. But I woke up feeling shaky but better and ate breakfast. I'd used most of the water Clark had given me but knew there was a spring a couple miles farther on. When I got there, John was waiting for me and we debated whether to go to the spring, which was supposed to be 0.3 miles down the mountainside, but someone had written on the sign, "0.6mi downhill." I decided to be the brave one today. Well. I should have taken my hiking poles down there. Rock scrambles. Scrapes. Bruises. A good spring, though, gushing. Climbed back up with water for myself and John. 45-minute round trip.

It was really hot and I drank a lot of water. The next source was at the next shelter, 4 miles. I was low again when I got there.  John was there, along with Matt, a Ridge Runner, an employee of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy who just hikes from point to point and back again all the time checking trail conditions, shelters, picking up trash, talking with hikers, etc. A patrol person. The next chance for water was the next shelter, 14 miles. Gadzooks. I could get water here but I couldn't carry enough to last 14 miles. I called Steve. Turned out he was about 5 miles away, had hiked in from the road looking for me, not found me, figured I must be past there, and was ready to go home after several hours of hiking in the heat. I told him I was low on water but it would take me probably 3 hours to get to him. Of course he couldn't wait that long in the truck. He left me a gallon of water hidden behind a tree at the road. I was so grateful for that but really disappointed to miss him!! I drank about half of it when I got there. I'd gotten 2 liters at the shelter but had already gone through most of it. I was feeling sick again.

Then my phone blinked down to its own last drop of juice. Steve texted me let him know when I'd be at Delaware Water Gap (NJ at last!!) but I couldn't if I had no phone. So I walked into the little town of Wind Gap, about a mile from the Trail, looking for a place to charge my phone, and probably spend the night, since by the time I got my phone charged it would be too late to keep hiking.

Amazing things happen on the Trail. The right thing or person comes along at just the right time. If it's something you need, like water or a tent stake or a piece of rope or whatever, it's called Trail Magic. If it's a person, that's a Trail Angel. Steve is a Trail Angel who left me Trail Magic with the water! So, as I was walking into town, a man on a bike stopped and asked if I needed a place to spend the night. I told him about my phone. He told me about a bar, "The Beer Stein," where I could charge my phone and camp in the grassy, fenced backyard for no fee. Talk about running into the right person!!



So I did that. I plugged in my phone, sat at the bar and ordered a Sprite and fries, which I was able to nibble but my stomach was still off. I put a horrendous amount of salt on them but couldn't even taste it, a sign I'm low on sodium. I had sweated so much. My heart rate had soared into the 140's on the last climb and was still in the 120's. I was overheated and overtired. Another only-10-miles day. Eleven, counting the trip to the spring. Well, 12, counting the walk into town. I felt sick and weak. But I talked to some great people at the bar. A woman about my age asked how far I was hiking, and when I said "to Maine," she said, "Are you kidding? Why don't you just go out to the street and stand in the traffic? That would be quicker!" She and the others had a lot of questions. It was 6:30pm and 87* outside but in the air conditioning I was getting chilled, and I still felt shivery and sick. I figured out how to hang my hammock kitty-corner from the chain-link fence. I should send a picture to the hammock company.







I got Gatorade at the carry-out across the street and downed a quart in nothing flat. Felt better then and ate the rest of my fries. The night was warm, noisy because of the street, but comfortable, no storms.

THANK YOU, MATT, GINA, AND ALL STAFF AT THE BEER STEIN BAR!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

SLACKING

Yesterday I had the day off with Steve. I restocked, restored, got in a bike ride and run (I'm not losing the fantasy of doing SavageMan in September), and tried to catch up. But I can't catch up on my journal. I can't both hike and write about it.... so I'll hike and mostly take pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words, anyway.

Highlights:
Thursday, May 24 -- Steve surprised me by hiking in to a shelter where I stopped to get water. How did he know?? How did he do that?? It still amazes me.

Friday, May 25 -- I added 2 more categories of rocks. Skull-fracture rocks, and get-freaking-killed rocks. Honestly, I was frightened. It was foggy and the rocks were wet and they were slanted and they were slippery and it was very treacherous and I was scared. But I am still here.And I am still going.

Leaving now to go back out. Steve will post my pictures.

Please keep checking in!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23

The after-dark bear bag went up the first try. Dang, I'm getting good at this.

Shorter day after yesterday's 15 miles. Eckville Shelter is a converted garage next to the caretaker's house. It is not typical for shelters to have caretakers. For the most part, they're just little shacks in the woods, often a quarter-mile off the Trail, then another quarter-mile to the water source. Accommodations are often shared with mice and spiders. Mostly I sleep in my hammock, which I planned to do today as well. I asked the caretaker where I could set one up. He gave me a look and said, "Across the road's tent sites. I don't want it looking like a campground here." Ummm...... "I don't see where...." He said, "Didn't you read the map?" (Big map on a sign at the turnoff to his yard.) "Yes, but I guess only for this side of the road." So I went back to the map and then across the road. Beautiful grassy tent sites appeared but no trees until the woods began, quite a distance away. I went back and checked out the shelter more closely. Wow! Carpeted bunks! A "bathhouse" with a flush toilet and solar-heated shower! Water out of a spigot! OK, I'm in.

A list of "Frequently Asked Questions" was posted on the door, presumably so we wouldn't have to ask. "Where can I pitch a tent?" was listed twice. Another sign asked hikers to sweep when leaving but it didn't look like anyone ever does. I swept the place out and got 4 dustpans full of dirt off the cement floor. Then in the bathhouse I found spray cleaner, and cleaned the table in the shelter, which had soup and sticky stuff all over it. So far I was the only one there.

There had been thunder all morning, and when it started raining, hikers started pouring in. We ended up with 6 of us and a real good time. As usual, I was the only woman. Where are the girls in this adventure? Still down south, I guess.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

TUESDAY, MAY 22

Last night was so beautiful. So quiet, no wind, a quiet mist rising from the ground to soften the forest. I sat under my tarp-and-hammock and played my Irish penny-whistle (kind of like a little recorder or Indian flute.) I played hymns, then sang. The song that came to me which I sang several times was "In Moments Like These."
In moments like these I sing out a song
I sing out a love song to Jesus
In moments like these I lift up my hands
I lift up my hands to the Lord

Singing, I love You, Lord
Singing, I love You, Lord
Singing, I love You, Lord
I love You.

The guy with the blisters in unable to hike. He's staying in his tent there at the shelter for a couple days, while his 2 buddies move on.

Steep, steep descent into the town of Port Clinton today. It hurt my knees, quads, and feet. I was sure there was a cold Pepsi with my name on it in town. Got one out of a machine at a motorcycle shop, real Pepsi, none of that diet stuff out here. I sucked it down in less than 5 minutes, while talking with a lovely lady who was washing bikes. She's hiked in all kids of places and was great to talk to.She let me use their rest room and get water from the water cooler. Thanks, Maria! You're a Trail Angel!

Then a long climb back up out of town. Up was easier than down, actually. I love switchbacks!

Rocks, rocks, rocks today. And more rocks. There'll be rocks for a few hundred yards, then they magically disappear and you're walking on smooth, soft, flat dirt for a while, then the rocks start again. Ankle-sprain rocks.

I intended 12 miles but the anticipated camping area didn't look promising. Another 3 miles gave me my longest day yet, 15 miles, and brought me to Windsor Furnace Shelter. Fun young folks here: Antsy (a girl), Cliffhanger, and Smiley. I got here later than usual and now I'm going to go try to rig a bear bag in the dark.

MONDAY, MAY 21

Thank you, Steve, for posting that great map!

So after the long weekend, I'm back on the Trail. Steve dropped me off where he'd picked me up last Thursday, and I got going about 1: 30, got to the shelter a little after 4:30.

 Easy walking, 6 miles, with just a few ankle-sprain rock gardens, no leg-break boulder fields. I did not see a single other hiker the whole time. Entirely alone in the woods.

Felt a little klutzy, like I'd forgotten how to hike. My guidebook said the water source for the shelter was a spring on the way to it. I crossed one, a shallow ooze over some rocks, managed to coax 3 liters into my water bag, then couldn't get my filter to run. So I just carried the bag to the shelter, discovering a little farther on the "real" water source, an abundant tumbling creek.

At the shelter I got my filter flowing again. Then my hammock lines were all tied in knots and it took half an hour to get set up. I just feel like a rookie.

Six nice fellows at the shelter. Too-Late and Gatsby, an uncle and nephew doing the Trail together; Snag, my age, who, like me, has always wanted to do this and hears his biological clock ticking; and 3 young guys doing just PA. One has horrendous blisters, the size of quarters and blood-filled, two on the back of each heel. I've never seen anything like it. He doesn't have sandals and is walking around the camp in his socks.

Monday, May 21, 2012

PHOTOS


Some kind of little fungus growing on oak leaves in a puddle.
Lady's Slipper. I see one every couple days.
Not only do you trip but you have to have a short leg. Note white blaze in middle.



This is what it would look like to fall off a cliff.

This guy didn't make it. Or maybe his pack's too heavy.  I found it exactly like this.



If it was all like this it would be easy.

Wild phlox. Everywhere.


 I've divided the rocks into two categories: ankle-sprain rocks, and leg-break rocks.
Leg-break rocks


Ankle-sprain rocks

"Rocky" going down leg-break rocks.


Recom

Sunday, May 20, 2012

RECOM

The day of the flooded creek, I met a hiker I can't believe I never met before. His Trail Name is "Recom" -- as in the Parliamentary expression "Motion to recommit." Very cool Trail Name.

We met up and started walking together, exchanging the usual "Where did you start? How far are you going?" etc. Well. Three years ago, April 1, 2009, I started a thru-hike attempt from Springer Mountain in Georgia. Four days later, April 5, 2009, Recom started a thru-hike attempt from Springer. He was 2-3 days behind me almost the whole three months I hiked that year. I got to Harpers Ferry, WV (where I stopped) on June 30. He got there July 2. He hiked on across Maryland and stopped at PenMar, a town on the Mason-Dixon line.

People tend to leapfrog each other on the Trail all the time. You meet people, some of them get ahead of you or you get ahead of them, then go into town to resupply and get behind, and sooner or later you meet up again. You meet a lot of people and you keep meeting up after not seeing each other for a day or a week. Everybody knows everybody who's within 25 miles or so either direction. So here's Recom just a couple days behind and we never met up. That's almost impossible. Also nearly impossible is the fact that he didn't recognize the names of any of the people I knew and I didn't recognize any of his cohorts. We do share memories of incidents and some of the things people wrote in the trail registers.

Recom's hiking the rest of the Trail in sections now. He leaves his car at one end of a section, has a friend drive him to the other end, 10 to 15 miles away, and day-hikes back to his car. This is called "slackpacking" since you don't need to carry a full pack, just stuff for the day. It's an "authentic" way to hike the Trail, especially beneficial when you're older (he's my age, 60) or getting back into hiking after a layoff, or injured but still able to hike, just not with 30 pounds on your back. It's also a way to pull longer, faster miles if your time is tight.

So Recom and I did some hiking together Thursday and Friday last week. In a telescoped version of 2009, one would be ahead and the other behind, but by minutes or hours instead of days, and we *did* meet up, and it was fun every time. Thanks, Recom, happy hiking, and I hope I meet up with you again this summer!

WEEKEND BREAK!

After I hiked 10 miles on Thursday, May 17, Steve picked me up and we came home for a 4-day family weekend. Highlights of the weekend:

Friday: Going to granddaughter Abbie's Special Olympics practice. She's doing track and field -- running the 200 meters and a relay, and race-walking 50 meters. It was great watching her train with her teammates. She was the youngest, the others being high school kids. When she did Special Olympics Cheerleading a couple months ago, her teammates were also high school students. Abbie's got guts!!

Saturday: Son Jon's cum laude graduation from Frostburg State University with his bachelor's degree in biology. He pulled it off in 3 years while working full time and sometimes part time as well, while raising his two daughters.  It was also his daughter Sarah's 4th birthday, so after the graduation we had a great picnic at his house -- fajitas with the meat and vegetables grilled outdoors, great guacamole made by his girlfriend Daphne, birthday cake, Sarah's presents, and a lot of great talk and fun.

The picnic was delayed unexpectedly, though, when we when we had to wait and eventually take a long detour around backed-up traffic near his house. Motorcycle wreck. A motorcycle had hit a BEAR. The driver was temporarily knocked out and had a lot of road rash. The bear, a youngster, was unfortunately history.

Now that's something that doesn't happen every day.

Sunday: Church. It was a great service. Lots of spontaneous sharing, praises and prayer requests. Lots of music. A neighbor who hasn't been to church in a long time was there with his guitar and sang. Savannah, a talented 12-year-old, sang. I got the impulse to sing, although I hadn't planned to; then I realized I wanted to sing with Savannah. So as she was finishing, I started up to the altar and motioned her to stay there. We sang "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus," a capella, in harmony. No practice. Never sang together before. I could tell it sounded good. Savannah and her family are leaving our congregation, moving down south, and I'm going back out on the Trail, and I realized, I won't see her again, not this summer, anyway. I just really wanted to sing with her. I'm really glad I followed the impulse.

The rest of the day, I spent washing clothes and reorganizing my gear. It took all afternoon for just a few minor changes, but the changes make a difference in how my pack goes together, so I had to regroup some things and take out some things and it just got complicated.

Back to the Trail tomorrow. 91 miles to go before Delaware Water Gap, PA and the beginning of New Jersey.




MY FIRST TRAIL FLOOD

The last day I hiked was Friday, May 17. I got in 10 miles before Steve picked me up at a road crossing for a long weekend at home. The 10 miles were sometimes easy, sometimes difficult. The rain of May 14-15 has left much of the Trail under water.




These are not creeks. It's the Trail. On the tree to the left of center, you see the white blaze marking the way. Actually it was hard to follow the blazes, because it wasn't possible to walk on the Trail. Walking parallel nearby (often under water, too, or ankle-deep in mud) made it harder to keep the blazes in sight and stay on the trail.

OK, here's a picture of a creek. The picture actually doesn't do it justice.
I came upon this shortly after Steve dropped me back off on the Trail, the day after the rain. I had taken a day off because the Weather Channel was calling for 1-2 inches of rain just during the day. It didn't rain quite that much, but it rained a lot, and this was the result. The fallen tree is the way across, but half of it is covered by fast, swirling floodwater.  I walked up and down the shore a little, as much as I could anyway, since it was quite brushy, looking for a shallower, calmer place to cross, but this creek was big and it was flooded. I wished some people would come along so we could make a human chain.  Finally I thought, I can wade it, to the right of the log. The current will just push me against the log, which will stabilize me. So I stowed everything that can't get wet: phone, camera, data pages, lunch, in my pack; took off and stowed my socks and put my shoes back on -- I needed them to protect me from the creek bottom but at least I'd be able to put dry socks back on without digging in my pack to find my clothing bag. I put the pack back on with just the shoulder straps, loosened; no hip or chest belt. I wanted to be able to shrug the pack off easily if something bad happened. Just when I was starting up those planks, I heard a shout on the other side. Thank goodness.... there's help! It was a man. It was my HUSBAND!!! He'd started to wait for me where the Trail crosses the road again, to surprise me, but then saw the creek and got out, saw me wandering around looking for a crossing place. So he jumped the guard rail and came down the hill to tell me to go back up and go around. Well, I couldn't go around. What he couldn't see was another deep, flooded creek flowing into this one, and farther up from that, a large flooded swamp I'd walked over on a plank boardwalk (thanks to the AT workers who put that there.) Ultimately, I walked all the way back to where he'd dropped me off, probably close to half a mile, walked down the road to where he was waiting, and he drove me past the creek to the next trail crossing. So I "yellow blazed" a quarter mile or so. "Yellow blazing" refers to skipping sections of the Trail by getting a ride (the "yellow blaze" being the center line in the road.) This is sort of frowned upon by many hikers, but the context is important. There are all kinds of ways to hike the Appalachian Trail. Some purists insist on passing (or even touching) every single white blaze. Many people hike just a section at a time, often over years or even decades. Some take "blue blaze" paths -- alternate routes around difficult or dangerous sections; others stick to the white blazes come hell or high water. And some people hike a portion, drive or get a ride to another area, hike that, and so on. What is frowned upon is taking this approach but claiming to have hiked it all.

I think yellow-blazing past a flooded creek is justifiable for a 60-year-old solo hiker. I bless my husband for finding me in the situation and getting me out of it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

BACKPACKING HAIRBRUSH AND MIRROR






This is great! I was looking for a little pocket mirror (check self for ticks, see how bad my hat-hair is, signal for help if I fall off a cliff) and the Wal-Mart associate found me this in the Travel-and-Trial Samples section. The little brush pops out with the press of a finger, and pops back in with pressure on the other side, then you close the compact and it weighs nothing and takes up nowhere near the space of a regular brush. I LOVE it!!!

NO MORE WEATHER FORECASTS!! Tuesday, May 15

Torrential rain on the camper roof. Weather channel says 1-2 inches of rain today for this area. That's a lot of rain for one day. I'm staying put.

Naturally, as soon as I decided that, it quit raining.

As the day has gone by, the rain has gotten lighter and more intermittent, and now, 3pm, the sun is out. I could have hiked. I would have, if it hadn't been for that stupid weather forecast, which has been getting less and less threatening along with the the decreasing rain. I feel stupid. I'm not listening to anymore forecasts.

On the other hand, it feels very good not to have to walk 13 miles today, and 15 tomorrow. I'll just do the 13 tomorrow, and then 10 the next day, to a good pick-up place; we're going home Thursday for our son's college graduation and his daughter's 4th birthday this weekend.

Monday, May 14

Still dead tired. Sleeping on the floor wasn't much better than not sleeping at all.

Up a hill I got enough signal for text messages. Steve had figured out my mileage and was going to meet me at 10am at the spot appointed for tomorrow. I'm low on things and need to stock up.  I find things to do. I counted 17 red efts (those little bright orange salamanders) over a space of about two miles.


My feet hurt. No blisters or specific injuries, they just hurt.

Steve is at a campground about 60 miles away. Too far, I thought, to take me there for the night and bring me back tomorrow. But I quailed at the thought of taking a few supplies and hiking on. So tired. It's a 13 mile day to the next shelter and I'd only done 3 by the time I reached the crossing.

But he was expecting to take me to the camper! Yay! I get half a day off! I am so tired.

Got a few things at a Wal-Mart, then pulled my pack apart in the camper to put food in my food bag, weed out stuff I'm not using, and re-organize. This was a bad idea. The camper is tiny, but not my usual habitat, and I kept losing stuff. Pack up the pack, realize I hadn't packed the XYZ, can't find it anywhere, unpack, not in the pack, where the heck is it??? Find it some stupid place I put it where I'd "remember" so I could pack it.

I took a shower. I am amazed at how soft and silky my hair feels now. I'm already used to it feeling stiff and salty, and squashed flat from my hat.

Looks like heavy rain tomorrow. Nothing I haven't hiked in before, though. My 2009 AT hike was one of the rainiest on record.