Hard to leave town after having a good time and especially knowing that a nasty storm was supposed to roll in on the day that you and all of your dry, clean gear are rolling out. However, it is a good feeling getting back on the trail. The weight of a fully loaded pack with 6 days of food is pretty heavy, but that weight drops pretty quickly. After having some coffee with Mad Hat, Cheese It, and The Teton boys, I weighed my pack at Sundog Outfitters, and weighed in at 37 pounds fully loaded with gear, food, and a liter and 3/4 of water. Not too bad, but still striving to find the balance between going lightweight, but also having certain comforts on the trail.
Took a while to get the legs going on the trail late morning, and about 8 miles into the day, the rain hit, and hard. Only lasted about 15-20 minutes, but it soaked my shorts, shoes, and socks. As much as I hate hiking in the rain, I'm SLOWLY coming to grips with it. Can't do much about it. My buddy Torrey reminded me the other day of something we'd say about being anxious about things. It was a little twist off of a passage during some Bible study time, that I think helps both of us at times to reduce some anxiety. In the case of rain, it was "don't freak out about the rain. It's already freaking out about itself". Thanks for that reminder Torrey! 2 more miles and we made it to the first shelter (Saunders) after Damascus, VA.
Two boy scouts showed up and asked if we'd seen the rest of their group that was supposed to be coming to the first shelter. They had no plan, neither did the rest of their group (including the adults)! From my days in Boy Scouts, it's easy to recall the motto "Be Prepared". Way to go boys (and parents). And we wonder why so many kids are led astray these days...
Got a fire going with the help of Chef's cotton pads with petroleum jelly between. Started a fire even with wet conditions. The rain had stopped, but gear was still wet. Got a drying rack set up next to the fire and dried out socks, shoes (for the most part), insoles, and clothes. Made some dinner and hung out around the fire with Chef and Firepants for a while. Tarzan hit the sheets early to try and kill whatever is making him congested. Hopefully that passes soon, and the Three Amigos will be at 100% hiking strength and can pound some miles out.
Oh, don't know who left the root beer and PBR along the trail today, but thanks for the trail magic! It's been a while since we had some. Still looking forward to stumbling upon someone making burgers and hotdogs along a road crossing for trail magic!