The rain was originally supposed to start early this morning, but it held off and I was managing some decent miles. Around noon and after probably 12 or so miles I was able to get a cell signal and saw the large storm system about 1-2 hours west and heading for me.
Although I could have easily finished the final 5 miles or so of the route this afternoon I decided to stop at 1pm and set up camp. I’m not so wild about road walking 15 miles or trying to hitch to town in the rain after finishing. So I waited out the rain in my hammock. Right after I set up it began raining and continued for nearly 12 hours straight. I have to hand it to my hammock, kept me bone dry the entire time!
I saw this and few times over a few miles and could not for the life of me figure out why people would randomly be sticking branches in the mud standing up like this. Then in a “light bulb” (or face palm) moment I realized they were actually falling like this.
I figured since I was up early this morning and dry I would pack up and try to get in at least a few miles before the rain.
Just because that’s the way it goes, no more than 10 minutes after I set out the rain started. Light at first but over a period of about 2hrs it became fairly moderate. I was in surprisingly decent spirits. I thought back to my experiences hiking in the rain on the Appalachian Trail in Maine and told myself this wasn’t nearly as bad. The terrain on the Northville Placid Trail was much more forgiving than the swamps of northern Maine.
I hiked for 7 hours pushing through increasing mud, rising streams and slippery trails with stubborn determination. Around exactly the 7 hour mark it began to really open up and come down. My feet which were as I would have described at that point “pretty damp” were now nothing but giant sponges which squished and poured out buckets of water with each step. Moving a few feet was becoming very laborious and not a inch of me was dry but I was almost to the next lean-to and the Cedar Lakes.
I reached the Cedar Lakes and the first of 3 lean-to’s along the lakes around 3pm. I’m not so wild about staying in lean-to’s but they offer great protection from the rain. I stopped to look at the lakes and thought to myself how beautiful it must be here but I was soaked and needed to dry out. I have learned while you will eventually need to hike in the rain it is extremely important to make sure when you are done so to have dry clothes to sleep change into after. So of course I had buried in several bags and ziplock bags, a set of dry sleeping clothes which I gratefully changed into while I hung the rest of my wet clothing. Also there’s a reason I pack a few loose leaf tea bags with me. These days are just such a reason. Nothing better than dry clothes and hot tea after hiking 8hrs in the rain!
As I sipped hot tea and settled into dry clothes I took a look at the maps and guidebook to see what lie ahead. I knew the Trans Adirondack Route would veer of course from the Northville Placid Trail soon and closer attention to navigation would be required. As I read the guidebook I realized the next section was an off trail bushwhack and not just that a fairly substantial looking one from the maps. I have to admit my spirits are dampened in several ways. My previous off trail experiences were less than fun and I honestly just didn’t want to do any more bushwhacking, especially not in the rain. I was determined to complete the route as laid out so I just deiced to wait and see what tomorrow will bring.
I made dinner and quietly sat back watching lightening and storms gustily blow through from the dry lean-to.