Head Down and Heading NOBO in the Rain

Six days out of the first week were rainy with over an estimated nine inches of rain on the AT. Walking home (from Maine) told me he heard there was 11 minutes of sunlight since last Sunday; I believe I witnessed five of them. My goal was to stay true to tenting, but with highs in the upper 30s and inches of rain falling every night, I adjusted my plan accordingly; that’s to say I sheltered hopped. Also, thunderous storms aren’t nearly as frightening in a shelter. So my plan of eight-mile days for the first two weeks became stretched out to whatever mileage the shelters were. All good, Head down because everything is slippery and views were blocked by rolling fog and thick clouds. Just watching my shoes as I go.

The most welcoming sight yet was reaching Woody Gap in a downpour mixed with sleet, to see Fresh Grounds with his leapfrog mobile cafe, tarped in with a small woodstove serving cold and hungry hikers. His fresh coffee and grilled cheese were amazing. Thanks to an incredible trail angel!

I still see and enjoy the beautiful woods and varying plant groups as they change with elevation.

Hiking so far has been awesome and I can’t help but reflect on a job I use to do every late winter. I had a contract to prune a private orchard consisting of 100 trees; 25% of them were semi-dwarf, with the remainder being sprawling standard trees. I made it a practice to only look back at what I accomplished and not forward at what I had left. Some of those big trees would take me three to five hours climbing and pruning with both hands. One could have called me JC pruner hands but in all actuality it was JC carpel tunnel hands.

But every late winter to early spring for seven years, I would prune through those trees, one at a time till they were all done. Looking back where I started motivated me to where I was heading.

Keep your head down because sunny days are a coming. Happy trails.

Catmando

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Comments 2

  • Avatar
    Nikki Stavile : Feb 27th

    So happy to see that you are on your way! There will be sunny days soon enough!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    David Hawxwell : Feb 27th

    John,

    Does the shelter-hopping you have been forced to do by the weather mean you are doing MORE than your planned 8 miles per day, or LESS?

    Reply

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