Appalachian Trail Mile 1190.2

Friday, July 28, 2017 (Day 86)

I feel foolish. Soaking wet with little visibility I fumbled with my tent in the rain, pack on the ground filling with water, as I attempted an adequate pitch at a less than favorable site of dead leaves and uneven terrain. It would have to do. Just moments ago, I had been .7 miles up the hill at a nice camp site near a lovely spring. It was about 8:00 pm. There was another site in 1.5 miles. There was still an hour of daylight left. I knew the rain was coming. I thought I had time.  I went for it. After .7 miles, it began to downpour.

That’s alright, I thought. That ‘foolish’ part of me that exchanged the prospect of more miles for sopping wet clothes and a puddle filled tent and pack, is the part that will get me to Maine.

This morning my day began with a gentle summon to rise by sweet bird song at a quarter to six. I opened my eyes to a soft cloudy haze and the slightest droplets of rain. I heeded the warning, and began packing up by 6 am.

At 10:30 am I spotted a rattlesnake. Or, it spotted me, rather. I nearly stepped on it. It rattled at me as it curled up, just to the side of the trail.

My heart beat rapidly. We stared at one another. I was aware of its impressive striking range. I went out of my way behind and around it, behind the trees and brush to the side of the trail.

I passed by Rausch and Stony Creek on footbridges. The area was pleasant. It had a certain thickness; the comforting scent of damp wood and wet mosses hung in the air.

Then, fields. How I love stepping in to open fields with the sun shining and the purples and yellows and greens and the winding path that is my home.

Soon I crossed a fallen log and wooden plank over a stream and crossed PA Route 443.

I spotted two more snakes. One was very large. I was not able to identify it as poisonous or not. I have read that you can identify them by the shape of their head; diamond shaped–beware. The second snake was clearly not poisonous.

I am warmer now. I have changed in to my dry clothes and used my stove to heat some water for potatos. I boiled the water within my tent enclosure, trapping the eminating waves of heat that quickly warmed my bones. There were still puddles about. I used a damp sock to soak up what I could and proceeded to wring out the water and repeat. I used my ground tarp on top of my z-rest. My sleeping bag stayed dry enough.

I am happy.

Today was a lovely day.

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