Saturday, February 11, 2012

Woulda ... Coulda ... Shoulda? ... Naahhh!

Trail pundits will tell you: 'no rain, no Maine' - in other words ya gotta hike in the rain sometimes or you're not going to finish your thru-hike.

Well, to that I say HYOH, dear anonymous pundits. That's another trail euphemism: 'Hike Your Own Hike'.

Just look at the dreary day, those sullen clouds, in the photo above. Yes I got up and headed out early, hoping to beat the forecast rain that had not, as of sunrise today, yet begun. Well ... it was literally, and I mean *LITERALLY* less than 30 seconds after I stepped on the trail when it began to rain. And it rained on-and-off, sometimes pretty heavily, for the rest of the day.

Fortunately it was mild, and fortunately my nice over-sized poncho works well at keeping the rain out. So I hiked until 11AM, getting in 6.5 miles. Then I took a pause, drove into Damascus where I could get internet access, and checked the weather. It rained cats and dogs as I drove, then quit for an hour. But more was on the way -- it poured from 3PM on into the evening.

So instead of hiking any more, I used the afternoon to do a driving tour of Damascus, and stopped in at the Mount Rogers Outfitters for some trail talk and gear shopping. It's the slow season in town, and half the trail-dependent businesses are closed. I could only imagine what it must be like here during the thru-hike frenzy centered around their annual 'Trail Days' festival. Actually, I'm not sure I'd enjoy that. I'm kinda liking the quiet solitude I'm getting.

Anyhow ... today (Saturday, February 4th) my journey took me back up to the highlands for the last time, up the slopes of Beech Mountain to almost 5000 feet where I had turned around yesterday in glorious clear weather. Today it was spraying rain under looming clouds.

The long side-hill traverse climbing and descending Beech Mountain was enjoyable but not all that scenic. The best I could do was this shot, I call 'stopping by a rock on a rainy morning'.

I took other photos, just because I'm trying to get at least one shot every mile of trail. The others you can access through the EveryTrail link below, as usual. And with it you can follow the unusually short GPS track.

Yes, I woulda hiked a lot farther if I had to. The weather wasn't *that* bad. I coulda done it, easily. And there was that little twinge of nagging guilt ... that *shoulda* that momentarily tightened my insides when I bailed and headed for town.

But I have this sojourn under control, I think. I'm ahead of schedule. And tomorrow looks like a better day. So, sorry little Mr. Shoulda, but you're going to have to go find another victim, and thank-you-very-much ...


For detailed GPS track information and more photos, click below:

AT Day 32 - Beech Mountain at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Virginia

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