Rain Delay and Dangerous Flooding

Well, the trail is always teaching lessons and the lesson we’re being taught on day one is adapting and being flexible. We made it across the Potomac River up to Ed Garvey Shelter—about six miles on Wednesday—and the heavens opened up with such rain as I had never seen before in all my years of hiking. It rained very hard for six to eight hours. We were dry and warm, but it poured. We got up the next morning to some storms and after they subsided we headed out.

We got into Gathland State Park and heard that there was serious flooding in the area. We had friends sending us reports from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) saying that the trail ahead of us was dangerous and they were basically closing the state of Maryland. We had been out for 24 hours and already were being changed by the trail. Luckily for us, we have several friends in the area and they were able to avoid all the flooded and closed roads and picked us up. Tomorrow we will start out again and heed the ATC’s warning and start in Pennsylvania.

It is always so difficult and disappointing to have to change plans, and for me, change of any kind is hard. However, when it comes to hiking the AT being able to adapt and change is uber important in order to stay safe and to have a good hike.

We have really enjoyed our time with my friends and I was able to replace my pack because the one I started with was killing my hips after just a few hours of hiking. So in many ways, this little detour has been really good and we will be able to begin our hike again tomorrow with rain late in the afternoon and maybe some rain on Tuesday. Then it looks like we’ll have several days of good weather.

Hiking the AT is nearly 75 percent mental and this type of weird start has us in a decent place mentally now, but as we sat at Gathland trying to gather as much information as possible and make the best decision for us it took quite awhile. But we both feel good about our choice and we have already done Maryland anyway, so having the ATC advise hikers to stay out of the state was not a huge deal. It was extremely disappointing, but looking back, I believe we made the best decision.

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