Rain and Stinging Pain

I got back on trail after a long weekend with family! The east coast finally received the rain that it had been missing for the past few months. It was surprisingly a nice change of pace and the mountains loved it. I hiked through the rain for a couple of days before it cleared. Around the same time I got to meet up with a friend who provided me with a night of “off trail housing and provisions”!

Day 70-72 (0.0 miles)

3 full zero days in the finger lakes region of NY. A perfect way to relax and heal with great people! I’m not including much about this weekend in my blog, it was my time and I didn’t want to spend it creating content. With that being said.. I will share some pictures of our dogs for your enjoyment.

Mylo cruising down the dock!
A happy Dunkin at sunrise.
One that listens to “stay” and one that doesn’t.

Day 73 (15.5 miles)

One final day of waking up to a pot full of coffee and a dog stepping on my head! We packed up and left the cabin at a fairly decent hour. My fiancé, Kara, and I drove separately from her family so that she could take me back to the trail directly. It was a roughly 3.5 hour drive which consisted of pouring down rain and a McDonald’s stop. We arrived back at Port Clinton around 1:30 pm. Just like that I was back on trail!

There was a lull in the rain as I walked through the small town and then up the steep mountain after the train track crossing. I got a couple miles across the ridge when the rain began again. I was quickly soaked through, but I enjoyed it far more than the recent heat. I thought a lot about my family this afternoon. I always feel strange getting back on trail after seeing loved ones, but today felt especially off.

A misty forest in between showers.

Normally I leave my camera outside my bag when it rains, but in torrential downpours I put it away. Around 4 pm I got hit with rain that I thought only existed in films. I was basically drinking a half cup of water each time I opened my mouth! Thankfully, this only lasted a short time. Again, I was soaked to the bone and I just started laughing. This was my “welcome back to the AT” present after a nice break. I stayed at a stealth site near a piped spring. I pitched my tent quickly, threw my gear inside, and then ran down to the spring to get water. The rain continued to come down all through the night. It’s actually quite soothing to be warm and cozy inside a tent while listening to the rain drops splatter across the outside.

Stealth Spot: T1, S3, P1, W1, B3

Total Score: 9

Day 74 (26.4 miles)

Got up and it was still raining pretty hard. It took me a while to pack up and convince myself to get out of my tent. My pack felt five pounds heavier, good thing I was doing one of my longest days! It was a hard mental day for some reason. I think being on familiar terrain and close to home was messing with my psyche.

Welcome to the state of graffiti rocks…

I passed through the Hertline Campsite and PA 501 shelter. These are places that I have camped several times since starting backpacking, but passing by them today felt different. The rain soon subsided and I thought the worst of it might be over. I passed through mile 1000! A milestone that I didn’t let get to my ego. It was a lot of miles to get here, but there are a lot more to go.

Mile 1000!

The afternoon felt drawn out. The terrain was easy and I was just trying to get as far as possible. I walked through Swatara State Park and met two flip floppers. Then up and over a final hill to the Rausch Gap Shelter. At the top I got stung in the ankle by an aggressive hornet. One of the worst stings of my life. It throbbed for the rest of the afternoon and swelled up. I’m not allergic to bees but my body definitely didn’t like this one! Soon after, I came to a beaver pond crossing. The recent rain made it a bit deep, luckily it wasn’t too muddy!

A beautiful beaver swamp to walk through.

The shelter was full, something that hasn’t happened frequently on my journey. The rain drove everyone out of their tents. I checked the weather earlier that day and it was looking better for the next day. I ended up camping nearby with Stretch and Lotus (the flip flop hikers I met earlier). It began raining right after dinner, an earlier night than expected!

Rausch Gap Shelter: T1, S3, P3, W2, B3

Total Score: 54

Day 75 (20.7 miles)

Apparently the weather was not better this day. It was raining from the minute I got up and only got worse. I hiked fast to “out hike” the rain. My camera was in my bag all day, so not a lot of photos from this day. A few miles in I got some service and a much needed text. A friend from high school offered to take me in for a night! He said he could pick me up after work. A great text to get when you are soaking wet.

Around the halfway point for the day, I crossed Clark’s Valley Road. I have started and ended many previous hikes here. The rain ceased for a small bit and I was able to eat some lunch and filter water. I then cruised through another 10 miles to the parking lot where I met Aaron. There are normally a few good views along this section (Kinter and Table Rock), but the rain had other plans.

A cool rock feature along the way.

Somehow the rain got harder, even though it was supposed to stop that afternoon. The trail got rerouted around “shock rock”, a place that is notorious for graffiti and parties. I made it to the parking lot about a half hour early. I was greeted with some people having intercourse in a car. I turned around and found some shelter while I waited. Once picked up, I got a much needed shower and dried out! Aaron treated me to some dinner and beers at the Carsonville Hotel. A great end to a rather interesting day!

I hope you enjoyed reading about this section of my journey! I’ve been loving my time in PA, but ready to get back to unfamiliar terrain. Until my next post, remember to keep wandering in your own direction!

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Comments 1

  • thetentman : Sep 18th

    Sounds like fun. Wet fun, but fun.

    Nice post.


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