There’s nothing like hiking in the rain! When I’d planned this little trip, the forecast called for nice weather. As our departure day drew close, it changed to rain for today. I laid out my rain gear, but forgot my coat. While it was supposed to be 65 degrees — not that cold — it was supposed to rain the entire day. I bought a poncho last night, then decided this morning (while it was pouring) that I needed more protection. So we stopped at the Wal-Mart in Ashland en route to our rendezvous with trail angels Bob and Jan Zeilenga and I got a raincoat. Good call!
Bob and Jan are lovely folks who shuttled us from the trailhead in Drummond — where we’ll end Sunday morning and dropped our car — back to the trailhead on Kornstead Road. They live in Florida most of the year, but have a home near Lake Owen here and volunteer with the NCT because the trail passes so close to their home. How kind of them!
It was raining pretty hard when they dropped us off. Oh well, at least it was warm out! As hikes in the rain go, this wasn’t so bad because it was a warm rain. And it kept the mosquitoes away. Still, it’s never great because you can’t see much and can’t enjoy any snack breaks or lunch. It was especially hard on this trail because there are no benches trailside anywhere, and there weren’t even good rocks or tree stumps to sit down on or set our packs when we stopped — and we didn’t want to set them in the mud. Oh — the other positive is that several bridges are out, necessitating wet-water crossings, but it didn’t matter since our feet were wet anyway. J
We had maybe a one-hour break from the rain about 4-5 p.m., but then it really began to pour again. Our original plan had been to camp at Beaver Lake campground, but it was raining hard when we reached that spot about 3, and we didn’t want to set up camp in the rain, so we opted to push on another 5 miles to the Marengo Adirondack shelter, which is just past an old Swedish settlement.
Various mileage signs we saw along the way contradicted our maps, so that was frustrating – how many miles did we have left?! Of course it was more than we thought/hoped, but eventually we reached the shelter at 7 p.m. Athena/Milkweed was there for the second night and graciously made room for us and let us use her clothesline and enjoy her fire. We shared some fresh veggies, cheese and coffee with her.
The rain had stopped by the time we reached the shelter, but we got chilled quickly once we stopped moving. So I headed down to the river and washed up, then put on dry clothes. Our dinner tasted great after our long, difficult day. Tomorrow should be better!
Snowshoe and Stubs
WI NCT miles today: 19
WI NCT miles to date: 51.2
Total NCT miles to date: 241.5
Total NCT miles to go: 4,358.5