With our bags packed (heavy) and the bear canister in hand, we hit the trails around eight a.m.. Our plan was to only carry the bear canister the few miles in, set up camp, hike and then return for dinner… but because the forecast was still predicting storms, we figured we’d hike just over three miles to the nearest lean-to and wander for the day.
Within five minutes of being on the trail, it began to pour. Not sprinkle. Not shower. Pour. We had to stop, put our rain coats on, manage to get the packs back on, and hike in the pouring rain. My paints were completely soaked through and sticking to my legs. At one point, Paula stopped and turned to ask me if we were making a safe decision- I of course said, “yes!” and into the woods we traveled.
By the time we got to Marcy Dam, the rain had stopped and we stopped to check out the scenery; we had a glimpse into what the dam looked like pre-Irene! Because of all the rain the previous night (and the melting snow from the freak storm the week before), the “lake” looked full once again! The spots that Paula and I had walked out on the day before was now completely under water.
We didn’t stop for long (the packs were heavy!) so onward we went. By 10 o’clock we reached the lean-to and I flung my pack off and grabbed a snack. I wanted to take my wet clothes off but within minutes Paula got the craziest idea to keep hiking. Not going to lie, I was not up for this. Carrying that overnight pack was not what either of us had expected and by us hiking in with the packs further only meant we were going to be carrying them all the way out (instead of dropping the load to hike for the day and return). But with the whole day ahead of us, I agreed, and we set off an additional three miles of so to the Feldspar lean-to.
I didn’t take many photographs during this part of the journey because, well, it sucked. My shoulders were aching, the trail was wet (and by wet I mean a small stream) and toward the end, there was a ton of blow-down. I had to keep reminding myself to stay positive because in just a few weeks I would be hiking even longer miles with the same pack. My phone stayed tucked into my rain coat… until we reached this bog.
Now let me remind you that it had poured enough to fill the dam the night before and it was currently raining at this point of the trip. By this time, I was use to being wet and didn’t mind. “What’s a little bog action?” I thought to myself. Well, this little “bog” was so full of water, that it was deeper than I am tall! And those logs in the water, were floating! Paula took one step onto the closest log, and it began to spin. She turned and asked if we should go back. My response (not aware of how sharp it was) was HELL NO! I was NOT turning around and hiking all the way back with that pack on me. Paula turned to give it a second try. See, she hikes with polls and somehow maneuvered across those looking somewhat graceful. Me on the other hand, panicked. I hadn’t watched her every step and when my body started to move forward, there was no stopping it. By the middle of this bog, I had so much momentum that I couldn’t slow down and I almost fell into the water! I honestly don’t know how I caught my balance and made it over to the other side, but I was shaking and almost in tears. We were joking that if I fell in, I’d drown! My pack was so heavy it would have sunk me. I am thankful that neither of us went swimming that afternoon.
Just a short time after, we were at the lean-to around three o’clock. We unpacked everything to try and dry out, changed into warmer clothes (and my winter hat) and relaxed for a little bit; we didn’t want to eat dinner too early. We both sat and read the log journal, did a little writing and took a little snooze.
Five o’clock came and it was dinner time! My favorite time of the day. I had been dreaming about my meal all day on the trail, so we started boiling some water. My channa masala and jasmine rice was just what I needed! So good, so quick and so much to fill me up! With my belly full, I cleaned my cookware, brushed my teeth, hid the bear canister and snuggled in for the night. It was much cooler but perfect sleeping weather. The sun wasn’t set yet and I could hear the campers on the site near the lean-to but that didn’t keep me up; I was tired and passed out before I knew it.