Tuesday, May 1, 2012

4.26.12 - Rain, rain, a somewhat pathetic day, and more rain

Started off today with cappuccino, milk, breakfast, and a shower at the motel, and had big plans of jumping back on the trail and hitting big miles again. We watched the weather this morning, and knew we were going to be walking into some nasty weather. As much as we didn't want to leave the little rundown motel and head out into the elements, we always end up thinking of it another way. If we were out on the trail, we wouldn't have an option. If things got bad enough, we could hunker down in a shelter or in our tents, but we are out to hike!

So we started hiking around 9:30am to a slight rain. This slight rain turned into some downpour, which remained pretty consistent for a few hours. Pants are always the first annoying part to get wet. Rain jackets are good at keeping my core fairly dry, but it transfers the water to my pants. Pants were getting soaked quickly. Reminds me why kids cry when they have accidents. The wetness is a miserable feeling. Then the shoes start taking on water (Goretex only does so much good keeping water out, but once it's in, it holds it in pretty well). When that happened, I stopped avoiding puddles and running water on the trail.

A lot of uphill as we chugged through the rain. I have this gear (a hiking mode if you will) that kicks in when it's raining. I tend to speed up, because there's not much to see, and frankly it's not that enjoyable being wet and hiking. So this speed puts me a little ahead of the guys. Before I know it, the trail becomes a river with water rushing down it. Steam crossings are hopping over their barriers and taking over the trail. There's streams all around now, and they're running like crazy with all of this rain water! I just kept trudging through it, and at one point I realized that I was about as wet as I could possibly get, so it didn't bother me as much any more. I started stomping through standing water and watching it splash aside as I did. It was kinda like being a kid again! Then I got to what normally probably would have been a simple rock hop through a stream, but now the water was raging. I assessed the situation the best I could, then got out my camera and made a video of me going up to upper shin deep through this stream to get to the other side. Cold water just filled into my shoes, but it wasn't a problem, cause they were already soaked. Walking the ridge line was windy and cold, but as I descended, it got a little warmer and the rain stopped, but the trails were still a mess.

Waited near a pasture for Tarzan and Flosser to catch up. We hiked on from there through other pastures and next to some private properties. We came down one side of a mountain and came to a raging river that was brown from all the mud stirring up, and had debris being carried down it. There was whitewater where I imagine there usually isn't. We found the white blaze that pointed where to go, which was over a wooden stile, into an eddy of the rushing river, then a walk right next to the flow. Haha, yeah right! We looked at options for doing it packless then having packs handed back over after the eddy, but decided on the safer route of going on the private property. We could see up ahead that there was a double blaze, this one indicating a turn in the trail. We went ahead to check it out and sure enough, we were supposed to end up on the other side of this flowing beast! Normally there's a bridge on the country road that we would use to cross, but the bridge was under at least a foot of fast flowing water. We scoped it out, and concluded it wouldn't be a safe idea to cross, even a little further upstream, because the current was just too strong. (I thought it'd make a cool video of us crossing it using our inflatable Big Agnes sleeping pads!). A lady came out of her house and called us up to her. She said we would need to hike down the road about a mile and a half to two miles to meet back up with the trail due to the crossing not being an option. She said it usually doesn't get this bad and that it probably wouldn't be down to a normal level until about 2 days from now.

So we hiked the road, came across some trail magic of soda and crackers (I wasn't feeling it, so I passed), then shot up some more ascents. We had big plans of doing 20 miles today, but we did only 11. Felt kinda pathetic falling that short of our goal. Got to the shelter and it sounds like just about everyone else had the same ambition, but it just didn't happen. Maybe it was the rain, or the reroute, or the heavy packs leaving town. Who knows. Felt so strong hiking the other days, but just felt like a turd today. Oh well. Here's to hoping for drier weather ahead!

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