The night didn’t seem to give any great hope for the next day’s hike. Rain pelted the tent and when I got up in the middle of the night I found small trees leaning sideways from the force of the wind. I scrambled back to my tent to the relative warmth of home.
When morning arrived the rain had subsided but the wind was strong and the trees were soaking us with the water that their leaves were saturated with. We also had to hike through a huge top of the mountain field so we opted to keep our rain gear on.
Progress was slow and rocky. At 0925 I was busy watching my step on a downhill slick rain soaked path when I walked into a covey of rouse. Birds rocketed into the air from both sides of me scaring the you know what out of me. Jed spent a moment attempting to flush another one so I could get a picture but they were gone.
Harassing the Grouse
Many years ago I was walking point on another hiking portion of my life when I flushed some sort of massive lizard who was cooling his jets along a riverbank. I just about stepped on him and when he jumped up from his belly in the sand position his legs were about 6-8 inches long making his 3 foot long body look humongous. Needless to say my heart went to my toes as I scrambled in one spot attempting to avoid this fellow who was only interested in getting into the river. The birds were not as shocking as the lizard but they gave me a start.
The weather forecast had been for two days of rain but in spite of that it began to clear and the trail became a sauna sucking every bit of energy out of us. We passed the terminus of the Allegheny Trail which leads down from West Virginia. Progress was slow as we struggled with this only the second of six days on this section of trail.
Rocks Were the Order of the Day Again
This hike has definitely given me a reintroduction to rock formations. This particular one overlooked the valley below and some ambitious soul had climbed up on it and built a cairn. For the life of me I don’t know how they get the strength to do anything but hike. By the time my hiking day is done it’s all I can do to put up my tent and cook supper. Oh……the rocks… I could use a mess of them to build a stone wall around my property like we had in New England. Always loved our stone walls….
The Bridge Over Big Stoney Creek
We finally worked our way over a second mountain and came upon a large creek. A road meandered along side of it and I quietly hoped for a trail angel. They are conspicuously absent now. Now that we are in the heat of summer the need of magic is greater but the hiking bubble is gone so there are not enough hikers out there to spend the day or the money on the Magic.
Brand New Graduate of Penn State
Once we arrived at Bailey’s Gap Shelter we found Redeye already there reading a Stephen King novel. He had just graduated from Penn State with a degree in Economics and has a job lined up to teach English and Economics in Japan. Long term he wants to teach the same in U.S. schools once he has expelled some of the travel bug he has. If he’s got the same travel bug as me he may never teach.
Throughout the day we met Goldie twice. He must have some time travel thing going on. I find him all over and then lose him again.
My tent and rain fly were still soaking wet from the previous night so I opted to sleep in my tent instead of the shelter so that my tent could dry. Another peaceful long sleep.
These two days have been absolutely draining. The mileage is down and the legs are weary. I wake each morning hoping that it’s too early for the sun to rise allowing more time on the comfortable ground. Just a little more reprieve before it’s time to hike on.