Nov 7, 2007

Long Trail Trip Report - Day 2 - Oct 28

Day 2 – Saturday

Unfortunately, Saturday morning started much too early probably just after midnight, as I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep. I really needed a pillow, and just couldn’t get too comfortable. Finally, things started to get a bit lighter and although it was drizzling and chilly, it was nice to get the day started. I’d been looking forward to making coffee for a while, so I jumped at the chance to get started. Unfortunately, it didn’t work so well and became a comedy of errors. First, I added the coffee to the water before boiling which caused it to go from quietly bubbling to exploding all over the place, including the hiker next to me. For my second attempt, I left the coffee out but then the fuel emptied mid process and I had to switch out canisters with my uncle. I finally got a cup done which my uncle started but then pulled the top off midway through and mixed the grounds in the cup, so that was a partial washout as well. The last cup I made turned out great and I got to enjoy a nice cup of coffee!! I’m thinking my trail name is ultimately going to be related to coffee in some way.

After packing, we set out for a day in the rain. It really wasn’t too bad for the most part as it was a light rain, and my raincoat kept me mostly dry. There were a couple really interesting and beautiful spots on the days agenda, the first being a “beaver-challenged puncheon” Even after discussing this with Steve, I could come up with no theories about what this was, but as soon as I saw it, I knew it. A puncheon is actually a boardwalk road (I discovered this via wikipedia after the fact), in this case, one which was partially below water just below a beaver dam. It was a very interesting sight standing three feet below a beaver dam that looked like it could collapse any minute and send us cascading away in a deluge of water.

Later in the day we came to a beautiful stream that was the biggest we had seen so far and just gorgeous. It was close to the shelter that I was really looking forward to seeing. At this point we were pretty wet, and my feet weren’t feeling too great. It felt like I had partially torn a toenail on my foot and I was looking forward to changing my socks. We took a short break in the shelter to eat lunch and dry out a bit. I changed my socks and although I couldn’t see any obvious issues with my toenail, it still hurt pretty good. (It’s since turned black and I’m apparently going to lose it soon… not sure exactly what happened)

We started out for the last stretch, hoping to meet my wife at 4pm where she was supposed to pick us up. The last part of the trail includes a pretty steep section that has “extensive stone staircases”, and my uncle was a bit nervous about this section coming. Of course, it was here that the rain all of a sudden came down the hardest, and it just poured. It was actually quite treacherous as we picked our way down the steep trail from rock to rock. They were covered with leaves and the rain was coming down like crazy, we had to stop and laugh out loud at one point about how crazy it was. My uncle took a short fall, but otherwise we made it okay. I was getting a bit worried, it was definitely a broken leg waiting to happen. Once we got to the bottom we started wondering how late my wife would be, she isn’t known for her promptness. It was quite cold, and we were soaked, not a good combination. Cell phone service was unfortunately nonexistent, so we had no idea what her eta would be. It turns out she was early, missed the trailhead and I managed to flag her down on her way back east.

Ultimately, it was a great start, we both learned quite a bit about our pace, conditioning and what sort of supplies we needed. We had considered this a “get our feet wet” kind of trip, and it certainly fit that bill. I’ve managed to compile a list of items to bring the next time, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be much more prepared…

Until next time on the trail…


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