A flash of lightning lit up the sky, thunder shook the ground beneath our beds.
Brianna rolled over and asked, “what time is it?”
“0200, plenty of time for the storm to roll through before 0400,” I replied.
Our 0415 alarm went off, it was still storming. The same was true for our 0500 and 0600 alarms, still storming, and violently so. Our resolve to start earlier was overruled by our desire for self preservation. We would not be hiking through a storm in the dark. If the storm wanted to get us, it would have to pierce the paper thin walls of our three person tent to do so. It did eventually reach inside to get us, pounding rain bounced off water puddles, sending little splashes in at us and our gear.
It was becoming clear that not only were we not going to start our 24 mile day early, we weren’t going to start it dry either. The best thing we could think to do was pack all of our wet gear up and retreat to the park’s pavilion for coffee and breakfast. If we couldn’t start the trail when we wanted to, we may as well start it how we wanted to. It’s like when you know you’re going to be late for work because of some stupid reason that was completely out of your control and you stop for coffee anyway.
It was 0900 by the time we started the trail. Our 2 mph average would get us to camp after an 830pm-ish sunset. We would also need to find a time and place to lay our gear out in the sun. An impossible task that we somehow pulled off.
All of our disadvantages for the day also brought advantages along with them. The storm had kicked us in the mouth, but it cooled the day high down from 88 to 80 and gave us a nice breeze all day. We needed to make it 24 miles because Ruby was dropping our food off the next morning, but that also meant our packs were almost as light as they could be. We rolled into our destination site and setup camp just as the final day lights dipped below the horizon. Mosquitoes were bad, but we were home for the night.
Trails were beautiful and the work our trail coordinators/angels, Ruby and Bruce, do are evident. The mowed trails were a dream to walk through and the unmowed trails, like the final 3 miles, were a slogfest.
Thank you for all that you do!