We had intended to hike 30 miles today. Hike 30 miles and have a quick half day into Lincoln, the second to last resupply point of the trail! However as with most plans on this trail, the CDT had to show us who was boss.
We had gotten our shelters set up right before another deluge of rain last night, and then the lightening and thunder started. Oh it was close, about 5-6 miles away. It passed, followed by heavy rain, and repeat all night long. All this rain was surely making up for the dry month of August for it rained unlike I’ve seen on much of this trail. About 4:30 in the morning I woke to go to the bathroom right before another huge storm let loose, this one much closer with strikes just 3 miles away. The thunder echoed off the valley walls and seemed to reverbrate much longer than normal. Damn! This would not be fun to hike through!
When we finally emerged from our shelters we had a break in the rain and began hiking again. We were soon drenched and were able to laugh it off for the first few hours, but then we gained the more exposed divide and the rain turned to snow. Snow! We laughed, but soon those chuckles turned to wimpers.
I had hiked ahead of Mountain Spice, and the snow was getting thicker and the wind stronger and soon I was fighting to keep warm, any hopes of staying dry nil…my gortox socks arn’t so waterproof any more and my feet by this point were cold and wet. My mittens and cuben fiber overmits had my hands warm, and hat was good, but I didn’t have my down jacket on under my rain coat, and didn’t want to stop to put it on. I knew Mountain Spice didn’t have any way to keep her feet dry, no overmits, and no umbrella to help keep the rain/snow off. When I started longing to put up my shelter and get in my sleeping bag for a few hours, I stopped at waited for her to catch up. On top of it all she was getting over a nasty cold.
Man, she was soaked when she hiked up, and we both agreed we needed to get in our shelters pronto. We hiked about another mile to a saddle a bit out of the driving wind and quickly got in our still wet shelters from the night before. Both of us had enough food to sit out the weather, and as I had service, checked in with the weather report – the 100% rain today and 90% tonight had us all but certain that we had set up our shelters for the day.
The forcast looks to improve tomorrow with only a 40% chance of rain, and we’ve identified an alternate to walk into Lincoln if it’s too much to keep on the trail. With wet gear, shoes and socks and freezing temperatures, the best bet may be getting to town the quickest we can.
There is sun up ahead in the weather report, and this half day will definitly impact my mileage. The next section will be a LONG one, 7-8 days, which will be a crazy heavy pack, but the upside is that with all this rain the Bob Marshall Wilderness has reopened from the fires, and those 7-8 days will be spent in a beautiful highlight of the trail. From there I’ll only have about 100 miles to Canada! I should just have enough time to make it to the border to meet Kirk for my finish date. Woooo, so close! But I can’t afford any more of these half days…