Monday, August 24, 2009

MS Greenway Thru-Hike Part 2

Day 2
The Rain was still falling when we awake. We talked about how we woke up every couple of hours because it was just so bloody hot. We sat and talked about packing up camp or waiting for a bit to see if the weather would break, but in the end we figured with 10 miles ahead of us we'd be better of moving on sooner rather then later. We break camp and put on our pack covers for the first time. As Dustin hoists his pack i start laughing uncontrollably. His green pack cover and turned his overnight pack into a turtle shell which we dubbed for the rest of the trip as Donatello. I'm still giggling about his cover when we reach the Gorge 1/2 mile down the trail.

After a short jaunt up the trail from the gorge we reach a long road section. I'm sure it isn't too bad in the right conditions but with the rain pouring down the lack of tree cover wasn't welcome. The rolling stone lined roads and sprawling farms lands boosted my spirits a bit. I felt like i was in the heart of Vermont running the VT50 and/or the VT100. After a long climb we reached Silver Lake, a perfect spot for lunch, had it not been raining and humid. The trail soon turned from the familiar hard packed dirt to an old logging road. The rain was starting to break and we were both happy to be off the road and away from vehicles again. We marched on quietly until we were both startled to a halt by a turkey, who was equally as shocked to see us. As it crashed off into the brush we turned and caught our first glimpse of Child's Bog. With all of the rain we've gotten this summer the "bog" as it was described was filled to the brim and it looked almost more like a reservoir then anything. The trail passes to it's south below the dam, which gave us an amazingly perfect horizontal view straight across the water.
The sun, now fully exposed in a beautiful blue sky was heating up the woods. The trail still wet from the rain and the humidity in the air almost stifling at times. We talk about how great it's going to be when we get to Nelson(the small town that marks the half way point), and how hopefully they'll be a little convenience store there. As we come out of the woods we are greeted with another long stretch of back country road. As we march down this long dirt road i turn around for some random reason. I still couldn't tell you why. Back about 200' up the road a doe and two fauns march out of the woods and then back up the hill. Dustin looks at me like i had 2 heads. "how the hell did you know they were there?" Wish i knew, suppose it would be a good 6th sense to have if i was a hunter. At the bottom of the hill we reach pavement for the first time in two days. It means we had reached the small town of Nelson. A short jaunt up the asphalt, passed the ancient gazebo and we reached the town center, where we met two other hikers.

They must have overheard us talking as we walked over because one said, "nope, no store, i could have really gone for a coke too." I laugh and said that i was saying the same thing all morning. Tom and John were a couple of older guys that were heading southbound and on the third day of their thru-hike . With the 4 of us laying all of our gear over the mailboxes and parking stalls it must have looked like a yard sale to an untrained eye. As we eat lunch we get the scoop on what lies ahead and fill them in on the rest of their day. We are warned of the beaver pond crossing that is about mid calf deep and the exact words describing the rest was "rolling terrain." Sounds like a breeze right? We wish them safe travels and head out of town, after about 1/2 a mile we reached the pond. Dustin, took off his boots, as he had taken advantage of our lunch break and had dried out his boots to the best of his ability. My shoes were beyond drying so i marched right on thru and snapped a photo
With another 4 miles beyond the crossing and the guys saying "rolling terrain" we figured we'd be at camp in an hour tops. Be able to dry out the rest of our gear and enjoy the afternoon. Well, here's the thing, in one direction "rolling terrain" means what it sounds like, in another it means, long steady climb with a few short dips. We climbed for what seemed like an hour, with 50lbs of weight on your back, soaked shoes, and a water filled trail making ever step up seem like five. Then it hit us, a climb that dwarfed all of the climbs leading up to this point. A long dirt road that you couldn't even see the top of, looming in front of us. The sun beating down on this dry road as we consult the map. Yep, straight up it! and we've still got 2 miles to go. Dustin mumbles, "rolling terrain my ass," under his breath and we put our heads down and marched up. This thankfully was the last real climb of the afternoon. Once over the top we were on what seemed to be snowmobile trails right up to camp. And what a welcome sight that was, our hips and shoulders starting to feel the effects of two day and 20 miles of trail. With another shelter to ourselves we dumped our packs as fast as we could, set up shop and started hanging out whatever we could to get things dry. We spoke of how awesome tomorrow is going to be with the vistas, the blueberries and the non-official half way point of the trek behind us. Never mind the store that we knew was in Washington where we could get a taste of some food that didn't need boiling water. The site register had a Sodoku book and cards so we were able to entertain ourselves while our food cooked. I was curious why so many entries in the log book had mentioned critters until the sun went below the tree line. From what we could tell in the spots between the wall joists and the roof joists a few families of rodents had made home. It was a bit unnerving at first, but the munching and scurrying above your head soon became white noise. With no rain, and a clear sky we were treated to a fantastic nights rest. Good thing too, 14 miles, 3 summits and a lot of trail started first thing in the morning.