Thursday, June 3, 2010
The storm did not pass in the night as I was hoping. The day was a blur. The scenery was a blur.
Limp Along and I leap frogged all day. The reality of my non-waterproof pants soaked in and chilled me. It crept down under my gators, my boots and waterlogged my socks. I’d like to say the scenery was beautiful but the rain and cold had me focused and introspective. It was a grueling 8-mile hike.
Before leaving the site, I devised a way to keep most of the water from soaking my pack. Two-thirds of a blue poncho, among other things, had been abandoned at the Rainbow Streams Lean-to. I used it to make rain cover with one knot and strategic strap tucking. It wasn’t pretty but functioned perfectly in preventing that extra water weight from accumulating and soaking my pants.
At one point the trail opened up onto a logging road. Limp Along and I are pacing each other, about 30-feet apart. It’s a slow steady incline, pouring, and the mosquitos are still a bother requiring netting. We both came to the realization that something was a-miss.
“I think we missed the trail re-entry but it appears as though this logging road loops back into it further ahead.” Limp Along pointed to the line of the logging road when I reached him. “Can you get my water bottle from the side of my pack and hand it to me?”
He put the map away and I handed him his water bottle. He took a deep drink and then I put it back in the netted pocket on the side of his pack. We continued on and sure enough, the trail’s entry appeared. The logging road had looped and the trail cut across it twice.
We reached the Wadleigh Streams Lean-to just after 2 p.m. and decided to call it an early day. The rain had not let up. The lean-to was a welcome relief from it.
A couple appeared around 4 p.m.-ish, Just Bob and Trout. Shortly after their arrival there is a reprieve from the rain for a few hours. Some wood and tinder had been placed under the lean-to overhang and Just Bob got a fire going. Trout and I strung up a blue nylon cord I had brought to dry our clothing and socks. We stood up two large soaked logs and ran the cord back and forth four or five times. It was a beautiful sight, the steam rising from the boots arranged around the fire pit to dry.
Just Bob and Trout looked to be near my age, probably a a couple years younger. He was a military veteran and she was a semi-pro cross country ski competitor. Trout said one day Just Bob had called and said, “Let’s hike the 100 Mile Wilderness.” They shared some crystallized ginger with me, a welcome treat. Both were quite taken with Maxwell and greeted him quite enthusiastically.
Limp Along had gone straight to bed, skipping an evening meal and did not stir until almost 8 p.m. He did not say a word when he got up and quickly headed away from the lean-to. I assume the privy. He was gone a while and when he returned he went straight back to bed. He didn’t introduce himself and said he was was feeling unwell. I asked him if he’d like me to put his boots near the fire to dry. He thanked me and then turned over and away in his sleeping bag.
Sometime in the middle of the night I heard the rain start up again. It must have been around midnight or earlier. Trout heard it too. We both crawled out of our sleeping bags and rescued all the gear we’d left to dry by the out fire.
I had studied Pete Mason’s maps before going to sleep. My sights were set on reaching the Antlers Tent Campsite tomorrow. It would be a huge push. If the weather was accommodating it’d be well worth it.
Distance: about 8.4-miles
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