It had started raining around 3:30PM yesterday and continued to rain steadily throughout the night. This morning will be our first experience hiking through the rain. Why rush it? We woke up a little before 7AM and had a lazy morning drinking coffee in the shelter. Just Jeremy and Sky Pilgrim hiked out much earlier.
We finally left around 8:45AM, our first stop was Heaven Hill Farm for second breakfast. This included apple cider donuts, apple crumble, coffee, and an apple cider donut ice cream sandwich. Ben and Jerry, if you are reading this, please make an apple cider donut themed ice cream!
We enjoyed the reprieve from the rain but had to move on. The terrain was incredibly flat for which we were grateful as it’s very slippery when raining. We are also extremely grateful to have our brand new shoes with fresh trend (thanks again Mom and Dad for bringing them!) We passed over the Pochuck Boardwalk and Wallkill National Wildlife Preserve. The boardwalk spans almost a mile through marsh area, even with heavy rains it was still a fun section. The Wallkill Preserve also was fun to pass, we liked watching the egrets and geese foraging in the grass.
The rain continued to be steady in various intervals. This also happened to the day with most bog bridges which are incredibly slippery when wet. Ironic that it is also the wettest day we’ve had on trail is in an area severely impacted by drought. We are happy to report there no shell-shock moments on these bridges.
We arrived at the Secret Shelter on Jim Murray’s property, a former thru-hiker. It is a very peaceful place and we’re thankful for a dry spot to sleep. We also enjoyed meeting Jake the donkey who wandered over in-between spurts of rain looking for some snacks. We love Jake!
The shelter has power so we were able to charge and attempt to dry out our clothes. Luckily there were only 3 of us so we had plenty of space. It looks like some rain again tomorrow but nothing compared to the heavy system today.
We enjoyed a warm and dry night in the cabin. Rain continued to fall all night and into the morning. In-between spurts of rain, Jake graced us with his presence.
We left a little later than planned because of the rain. Eric had his own shell shock moment and slipped on the wet/muddy wooden deck. Somehow he managed to in injure his shin, hip, back, and both ankles are now swollen. Great start to the day. The forecast was going to be cloudy with some light rain showers. That information would prove to be false. Once we got back on trail the light rain turned into much heavier rain. The heavy rain remained steady for the majority of our hike with a few small breaks.
By 10AM we were no longer hiking on the Appalachian Trail, the footpath had become more of a river, we were officially hiking the Appalachian River. We sloshed our way through lamenting the state of our beautiful new shoes. Talking about food kept our minds focused, but only for so long.
Eric trudged along, both ankles throbbing but he pushed through admirably. It seems like our luck in avoiding rain has officially run out. Today was much heavier rain than expected. Walking through day 2 of heavy rain is considerably more challenging than day 1.
We arrived at the shelter for night and were greeted by a doe and two fawns. We think it’s a good omen. We were thankful for a dry spot in the shelter, we were reading in the shelter log that it had been full the previous night. It seems there is a SOBO bubble just a day ahead of us.
The rains finally subsided around 5:30PM but have continued to sprinkle throughout the evening. It has been raining for over 48 hours at this point and tomorrow’s forecast also calls for more rain in the morning. One good thing is that the streams and springs have been replenished. The spring at the shelter that was previously dry was now flowing steadily. We should have less issues with water for the foreseeable future. Tonight will be our first spring since Connecticut, almost 200 miles ago. We are still missing those amazing Maine springs. We are feeling for those NOBOs that are trying to get through Maine and New Hampshire in this storm.
Eventually Just Jeremy, Sky Pilgrim and a SOBO named Indy rolled into camp and we talked a bit about the day, the rain and some epic falls some of us took (we were lucky we didn’t have too many big ones). One thing was unanimous; we are all ready for some dry weather.
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