FRIDAY, April 12, 2013
Boomerang and I planned to meet at my house at 10 AM on Friday to ride down to the Stony Creek Valley trailhead in Jefferson National Forest together. I was eager to get moving so as soon as she showed up, we were off on our adventure! The plan was to hike the ascent to the ridge on Friday night, then meet up with Dirigo and Python on Saturday morning on the trail. It was a long drive…about five hours down…
We finally made our last pit stop and picked up a few necessary items for the ascent!
It was very pleasant as we started up the trail. No extreme climbs, but plenty of switchbacks and debris to climb over, under and around. I think there had been some big storms down this way recently. After hiking for about 45 minutes, I, with my head down, hiking up, up, up…all the sudden THWACK! Boomerang heard it from twenty feet behind me…I had run right into a big branch that had fallen! I saw stars for a few seconds, and my teeth felt loose! But I was fine LOL! Hard head!!!
As we climbed, the rhododendron was so thick is created a magical tunnel through which we climbed. Every once in a while, a space would open up to reveal the bubbling stream paralleling our path tumbling down the mountain.
As we made the ridge, the wind began to pick up. We quickly set up camp. I hid my bear vault, and helped Boomerang with hanging the bearbag…while almost killing myself…again. I used a catapult method of getting the rope over the high branch. Got it over all right, then the baggie with the rock in it swung back and hit me in the chest! How these things manage to happen to me I will never know! I told Boomerang the bear were probably all around us laughing their butts off and wiping tears from their eyes!! 😀
This first night the wind was fierce and cold! It howled up from the hollow to the ridge and back down all night long. At about 3 AM I got up and put on every single piece of clothing I had in order to stay warm!! I was so glad for morning to come so we could get off of that ridge!
SATURDAY, April 13, 2013
I called over the ever present howling wind to Boomerang’s tent at about 6 AM. I told her I was not getting out of my bag until it got light, but as soon as that sun was up we needed to pack up and get going. We both agreed to eat breakfast after getting out of the cold wind! Boomerang decided to layer up with her longjohns and down the trail we went. It was immediate relief off the ridge! We found a nice place to eat breakfast and wait for Dirigo and Python to get up the mountain. The nice place happened to be in the middle of the trail. You do what you need to do! While we waited a guy came by and told us of a group of thru hikers would be coming down the trail headed north to Maine.
Soon afterwards, Dirigo and Python caught up with us and we started down the trail together. We immediately passed the Allegheny Trail and a sign for the Appalachian Trail. The wind kept up and made us very cold hikers for a while until the sun came out in force. Then it warmed up to a very nice hiking day! We were headed towards the bald and Rice Field shelter, about 9 miles.
We hiked up and down rolling hills all day and saw a few signs of spring. Then it got hot, and up and down the hills we went, breathing hard on the ups. All of the sudden on one of the up hills, as we discussed taking off yet another layer, Boomerang remembered she still had her longjohns on…she said she had forgotten! She claimed to have sweating and just forgot…well her trail name immediately became “Boomerang Longjohns”! In Symm’s Meadow, we found a nice spot to stop and have lunch. While resting we decided we would probably stop before Rice Field shelter…it had become obvious that this “ridge” walk was a little more strenuous than anticipated! But BEAUTIFUL, so GORGEOUS!
We finally called it quits for the day beside a very nice spring with nice flat campsites. Unfortunately, previous hikers had not adhered to the “leave no trace” rule leaving part of the site with much to be desired. But we stayed away from the gross part and had quite a lovely time in spite of it. Dirigo, Boomerang and Python hung their bear bags together…I found an old log in which to hide my bear vault. As we settled down to cook dinner, Boomerang Longjohns noticed the remains of a book written by Steinbeck in the fire pit. She decided she would like to read for a bit before going to sleep…her trail name is now “Boomerang Longjohns Steinbeck”!
SUNDAY, April 14, 2013
Slept like a baby! Tromping up and down mountains will do that for you! Got up and moving early on Sunday morning. I found out on this hike that I am not really one to get up and cook in the morning…even if it is just boiling water for oatmeal. I ate a peanut butter and jelly wrap that was down right delicious and drank some water. Boomerang was sleeping in, so I headed over to sit around with Dirigo and Python as they ate breakfast. Shortly after I began breaking camp.
This day was exciting! We reached the bald and Rice Field shelter in no time. Breathtaking. I almost broke out into “The Hills are Alive!”
We stopped off at the shelter before ascending, then descending Peter’s Mountain. The descent was brutal and I was more than happy to find a nice cold creek to soak my feet. Seriously, my feet felt like they were a size 10 squeezed into size 9 boots…was not a happy camper. But I kept trodding along…what else CAN you do??? and I kept making jokes and laughing. It always helps to be positive in times of duress…find something funny, anything…:)