Well, here it is, 7:35 AM, the day after yesterday. I don’t feel so cranky anymore, so yay! But man, do I have a dilemma.
It’s still raining. Not only is it raining, it’s pouring. Not only is it pouring now, but it poured all night long; I didn’t really sleep. That usually leads to questionable decision making. It’s times like these that really make me wish I had a partner to bounce things around.
It’s cold. Not freezing, but I imagine it’s in the 40s. The wind is gusting hard. It feels like a regular old nor’easter.
Inside the tent is relatively dry. (Well, things are damp. It’s a mesh tent, and even under the fly, the rain is fierce enough to kick drops of rain and mud up the bottom third of the tent wall. Everything is ridiculously filthy.) I managed to keep the quilt pretty dry by staying semi-conscious all night and not letting it touch wet things.
So… do I stay or do I go?
I’m currently at about 3000 feet, I think. Whitetop and Mt. Rogers, ten miles away, are at about 5500. I’m sure they’re 10 degrees colder. It’s all uphill from here. It’s almost 8 now, and getting packed in the rain takes time. It’d probably be 9:30 or 10 by the time I got moving. The most I could reasonably expect for a long uphill and that late of a start would put me right at the top of the mountain to camp—with soaking wet gear. Hypothermia is a concern under these conditions.
Or I can sit here and wait it out a day. It’s me versus the mpd. I want to get up, get the miles. It’s just a little rain! Don’t be such a wimp! Things are gradually getting wetter anyway. The tent floor is damp in spots. The quilt is dampish.
But today’s the last day of rain predicted, I believe. And that mdp is much more easily corrected now when I’m trying to get it from 7 to 9 than it will be later when I’m trying to get it from 10 to 11.
Meh. I think the smart choice is to sit tight. I certainly have enough food. At least I can keep an eye on things. If the sun comes out, maybe I can get to another campsite up the road, just a few miles farther.
But I don’t think the sun’s going to come out.
It’s you and me! I’ll keep you posted.
10 AM update: Still raining! Not so much with the pouring, though, which is excellent. Just a steady soaking rain. It’s staggering how much water the sky can hold.
The bad news: The tent’s finally leaking. Who could blame it? The ground’s so saturated that we’re basically sitting in a lake.
The good news: I hear birdies. Two of them.
Oh, crap. We just upgraded back to pouring.
Well, rain or shine, tomorrow we’re on the move again. The plan’s only good if the tent is dry. If it’s wer anyway, well, let’s gnaw on that mpd.
Come on, sun! Come on! If I had any signal I’d try to get a forecast.
Noon update: The sun’s trying to come out! That is… the periods of steady rain are broken by periods of intermittent drops, and a couple of times the clouds have turned vaguely yellowish. Now I’m having crazy thoughts: If the fly dries by 12:30, I’ll pack up and go for 4 hours! That’s pretty ridiculous, because nothing’s drying. It might get just the slightest bit of dry time, then it rains again.
Later: Last update, probably. It’s raining again. 😉 Looks like it’ll just be a long wet slog tomorrow. Luckily I’ve reduced my food weight by a couple of pounds. Also, it turns out I’m the kind of person who can spend a day in a coffin-sized tent with absolutely nothing to do and completely enjoy it. (I’ll read some in a little bit.) Who knew?
After Mt. Rogers comes Pearisburg. Traditionally that’s where you send your winter stuff home. So presumably, after Mt. Rogers, if this should happen again, hypothermia won’t be an issue. At least not until New England.
Sorry, mpd. I’ll make it up to you. I promise.
Really, really the last update: The sun came out at 2! I emptied the tent, got everything dry, put it all back in the tent… and it’s pouring again! You gotta laugh. 🙂
Really, this turned out to be the extra day I should have taken in Damascus. I had a chance to look at the book and make some plans for the days ahead, including hitting some restaurants that the trail passes close to. I really have to start reading that guide every night. I’ve just been using it for water and elevation profiles, basically. And mileage.
Anyhoo, I’m going to get an early start, rain or shine. I’d love to hit the 500-mile mark tomorrow, but that includes Mt. Rogers. Also, I might camp just before Grayson Highlands. That’s where you see the wild ponies, right? I don’t want to be rushing through that just to score another 3 exhausted miles.