Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gettin' better by the minute

Sometimes you just have to spill the punch line up front.  Here it is:

This is the late afternoon view of the Delaware River from Mt. Minzi.  This was a day (Tuesday May 1st) that dawned cloudy and foggy with thunder and rain.  I got a late start but still hiked nearly 18 miles.  The day may have started lousy; but it just got better by the minute!

Morning found me traversing the difficult 0.2 mile stretch of rock-hopping on Wolf Rocks with the rocks still soaking wet.  My shoes slip on these kinds of rocks when they're wet.  I skinned my left shin before I went ten feet on the rock.  I slowed down, testing every step for its slip-factor.  But 0.2 miles of tough stuff at Wolf Rocks and a little patch at Lunch Rocks is all 'Rocksylvania' threw at me today.

Beyond Wolf Rocks I re-entered the dismal wilds where I ended yesterday's hike.  I don't like this section of trail because it is a woodland that is struggling.  I'm sensitive to that.  I wish I could explain it better.  There was one highlight - a remarkably effulgent oasis amid the drear.  Oasis indeed - the 'Seasonal Spring' on this otherwise barren section of broad flat ridge was gushing to overflowing.

This section has an intimidating look to the rock.  The trail is straight and flat and a jumble of jagged stones that often seems to stretch to the horizon. But here's some advice (worth what you paid for it):  you can't walk it all at once, so don't try.  Stop anticipating.  Look down at your next few steps and you find that there are more smooth, comfortable places to put your feet than you have feet!  As I said yesterday, put your mind on auto-pilot, shut down the angst and analysis, and let the 5 million years of barefoot-walking hunter-gatherer genes do their thing.  Suddenly Rocksylvania (all but the very limited big bad stuff where you *do* have to think about footing) is no big deal.

The weather began to improve.  Walking back across Wolf Rocks, I now found them dry.  And the fog had dissipated.  Now I could see the view - nothing to write home about really.  Back at Fox Gap I began the much more entertaining leg north.

It got good after Kirkridge Shelter.  I got to Lunch Rock and could see the next few miles of trail stretched out before me.  Actually, I could see the first half dozen miles of trail into New Jersey as well.  And by now the weather had turned perfect - calm, warm, just enough humidity to make the air feel soft, yet not enough to smother the views.

For me this is perfect - ideal weather for walking the wilderness.  So I took my time on the way back.  I found a secret vista with just a hint of a trail leading to it and sat there drinking in the experience with all five senses.  I dawdled at every other viewpoint.  I let the afternoon slip into evening.  I milked this day for everything it had.  So I got back 'home' at dusk, by now in a state of euphoria.  Today just kept getting better by the minute, right up to the very last.


Here's the plot of my route for today's hiking.  The title above the map is a link that will take you to many more photos and other trip information:

AT Day 111 - Wolf Rocks, Mt. Minzi at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near Allentown, Pennsylvania

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