Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crocker in the Rain

... or how the weather once again humbles the meteorologist ...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012:

I decided to start hiking as early as possible today, hoping that the forecast 60% chance of rain would come in the form of small, short-lived showers.  That's all that was appearing on radar when I hit the trail at 6:50AM.  And the model output suggested that the bigger threat for rain would be after 1 or 2PM.

So much for computer forecast models and mountain weather.  By 9:30AM it was pouring - a steady gushing rain that didn't stop for well over an hour.  I and the two dozen or more other hikers I passed were all soaked to the bone.  I cut my hike short, turning around at the half-way point between the two road crossings (Caribou Pond Road and ME 27), figuring that I could do the other half with dry clothing either today or tomorrow depending on how long it took me to get back and how the weather evolved.

Well, it took me a bit too long to get back - there was a lot of climbing today over two of Maine's 4000 footers - North and South Crocker (both with wooded summits and no views) - and that included one steep section that had some difficult, slow footing (even when dry), but with a few half-decent views - at left is a view back to Sugarloaf, and below is a look down into Crocker Cirque where there is a campsite:

The rest of the time I was in the woods, and often in fog as well, but on trail that wasn't terribly difficult to negotiate, just fairly steep.

I finished this 4 miles of AT by 1:20PM ... just as the sun began to break through the clouds.  The afternoon turned out to be gorgeous - full sunshine and warm - but logistically I had no choice but to sit still - rest up for another day - stoke up on calories (I continue to battle to keep my weight up), and try not to feel guilty about failing to take advantage of the beautiful afternoon weather.

These are the times when I envy the thru-hiker's freedom.  They can hike on, camp in the woods if they can't reach their goal, but accomplish extra miles while the weather is good.  My logistics are a little more complicated when there aren't many intersections between trail and road, and today I felt tied down, restricted, constrained, un-free!  And I didn't like it.

Well, Okay.  Life's not perfect.  Get over it, dude.  I established my hiking rules for this year-long challenge before I started it, haven't broken them yet, and don't intend to.  Tomorrow's weather looks sketchy again - a good day to be hiking just that other four miles up from the other end and back.  It seems like I'm just creeping forward these days, but Katahdin is getting ever closer - under 200 miles now - and I'm beginning to feel its tug.


Here's the map of today's route and a link to more photos:

AT Day 206 - N and S Crocker at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Maine

1 comment:

  1. At 55 you give me hope that I might one day follow in your footsteps. Thank you for your blog.