For the first few weeks of the hike we were battling some serious cold and rainy conditions. Our favorite saying to help us through these tough times was “Embrace the Suck.” The conditions sucked but we were training ourselves to deal with it. Face it head on and just know that it won’t last forever. This strategy worked for sure and it has been adapted as the temperature warms up.
The humidity is getting more intense and the afternoons are warming up. The gnats and mosquitos are coming alive and following us as we hike in an annoying haze. The spiderwebs crisscross the Trail and cover us in a thin layer of sticky residue. We are sweating all day and our clothes are constantly wet. Add in the bug spray and sunscreen and you have a quite slimy situation. The new mantra is “Embrace the Slime.”
I like it tidy and I knew this was going to be hard for me. I was daydreaming all day today of a shower or at least a deep stream to clean off in. I was fantasizing about clean hiking clothes and washing out my nasty backpack but I won’t be in town for another three days. When we got to our campsite tonight I was so happy to see that they had a well water pump house with clean cold water on tap! I spent about 30 minutes there taking a nice cold shower and scrubbing my hiking clothes out and hanging them up to dry. I felt like a new man. Not sure if I smelled any better but it felt amazing.
The 22 mile hike today was great except for a disappointing experience at Bear Mountain. As we came across the back side of the park we were facing a sad sight. There was trash everywhere. Water bottles, clothes, masks, diapers and toilet paper littered the Trail for several miles. A volunteer was out collecting as much as she could and I stopped to thank her. She said for some reason this area attracts a lot of day hikers and they are always trashing it. It was infuriating but seeing her gave me hope that there was someone else who care about keeping the park clean.
Jellyfish cracked me up this afternoon. As we were having lunch together at a deli today I noticed this huge stick attached to her pack. She explained that she lost her spoon a few days ago and she was whittling another one from a small tree branch. To prove it works she ate dinner with it tonight. Now that some awesome upcycling!