Had a good dry night at the hostel but all good things must come to an end.  The rain started about 4am and hasn’t stopped yet.

I got up at 6:30 and got packed up and ate three bowls of cereal.  I also made toast and tried the last two jams, peach and apple butter.  I think the peach was my favorite.  I checked out and was on my way by 7:45.  I would have preferred to leave a little earlier since I had a long day ahead and need to make the actual shelter so I don’t have to camp in the rain.

First goal was Chestnut Ridge Shelter for lunch.  It was 12 miles away, so it would be a little later for lunch.  Time to make tracks.

The rain was mostly a drizzle most of the morning and actually stopped at about 11.  That was good because one of the streams had the bridge washed out and I heard there was a tree across the stream and I didn’t want to cross in the rain.  When I got there I spotted the tree and saw that it went to an island in the stream that got you half way then stone hopping for the other half.  I made it with only one shoe getting a tiny bit wet.  I was fortunate to have been hiking several hours in the rain with only slightly damp shoes.

About two miles before the shelter, the trail turned to meadow but was freshly mowed so my feet stayed fairly dry.  I stopped for water at a spring fed lake then motored on to the shelter.  As soon as I arrived it started raining harder.

I still had 11 miles to the next shelter and was having lunch and hour later than usual, so I ate my cheese steak quickly and moved on.  By this time it was raining pretty heavily but the trail moved from meadow to woods so I had some protection from the rain, but the wind had picked up so I needed to use the umbrella a bit sideways.

The ridgeline was pretty challenging most of the day.  It was steep and rocky for most of it.  But I was making good time and had my hipbelt pockets stuffed with snacks I could eat without stopping.  I think I took my pack off only once all afternoon to drink my Coke.  

I arrived at the shelter at 6:40 and saw a pack but no person.  They must be getting water.  He arrived in a few minutes with water bottles filled.  We talked and chatted for a few hours about all sorts of things.  He is headed south on the second half of a flip flop.  He started in PA and went north, then went back to PA and is headed south.

I have an even longer day tomorrow so I am hoping to get an early start before sunrise.  Also hoping the terrain is a little more forgiving and maybe the rain a little lighter, too.  There is a lot of dead skin that came off my feet tonight so I want to be sure they can survive tomorrow.