Date- February 18
Location- Side of trail
Elevation- 1,585 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 12.4 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 51.8 miles
Weather/Temp- Rainy, foggy, 50s, 60s
Pain level- Zero
Wildlife encounters- None
Days without shower- 5
Days without laundry- 5
I was violently awoken around 1am to a horrendous storm. Normally a storm such as this would put me back to sleep (especially being in a warm dry shelter) – but not this one. The lightning was striking within the vicinity of a couple hundred yards. I could hear the subtle crackle of electricity in the air, long after the initial strike. Although I was feeling a little vulnerable, the worst of it was over within half an hour.
It poured on and off all night, and into the morning. I spent a great deal of time looking at a weather radar app on my phone… waiting for a long enough break to pack up and hit the trail. It was 10 am before we were finally hiking in the foggy saturated forest.
The trail was totally flooded in many places, with water rushing down and across the soil. In some areas water was even gushing up from the ground or rocks where springs were overflowing.
Today felt like a real slog, despite only hiking less than 6 hours. We only got a little over 12 miles and stopped hiking around 3 pm. It felt like we hiked a lot further and longer, which I can attribute to letting Katana rack up nearly four of those miles.
Little Dog doesn’t care to ride on the pack when it’s cold and raining. For that reason, she alternated quite a bit between riding and hiking.
Trail Dog Extraordinaire
It wasn’t really a pleasant day (with only two breaks). Nevertheless, I made the most of our time together. I engaged Katana in many of my one sided conversations, in between listening to audio books out loud, beneath the umbrella.
Early on in the afternoon I began feeling really sluggish and tired. It was because I hadn’t eaten enough, but I had no appetite. I was already pretty down about the weather as well. This was the third day in a row of fog, cold, rain, and soggy conditions. The next two days were calling for more. I tried really hard not to think about it.
As 3 pm rolled past, I checked the forecast to see if we were about to get pummeled by more rain. I just didn’t have the drive to continue the slog. I decided to set up camp in the next spot I could find that was somewhat sheltered from the wind (based on the topography of the land).
Once we were snug in the hammock, I fell asleep pretty quick and didn’t wake up until it was dark. It’s still raining, and I’ve received a few flood warnings on my phone. I can’t help but feel like my timing to come out here might have been ill-chosen. I’m nowhere near my mental or physical limit. However, it would be nice to have some more carefree days of not having to do everything necessary to keep the essentials as dry as possible.
The biggest pain with multiple days of nonstop rain, fog, cold, and zero sunshine is managing the dampness of your gear. When you literally have no opportunities to dry any of your gear, you have to be very careful not let things get too wet. When the air is saturated with fog, this can become very difficult, even when you’re in a shelter. So far I’ve managed to keep everything mostly dry. My pack is wet, my T-shirt is wet, and my sleeping bag is damp – but not compromised. We’re in good shape.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow, but I’m playing with a few scenarios in my head.