The rain was even worse today. And it was much colder. From the entire time of leaving the campground to hitting the hotel, it was constantly raining. And it was cold.
A Decent Night’s Sleep
As you already know, my new sleeping pad is already leaking. And each night it seems to get a little worse. Since I was camping on concrete last night, I really needed it to function well. But it did not. I had to blow it back up at least six times during the night.
Jack and Mickey are using closed cell foam pads. They are nearly identical to the one that I used on the Pacific Crest Trail. But interestingly they are using two pads and not just one. They use a full length pad on the bottom and a torso length pad on top of that. It may not be a light solution, but it looks like a comfortable solution.
I was originally planning on using my closed cell foam pad. But I decided against it because when it is strapped on top of my pack it sticks out to either side. And I knew I would be crashing through a bunch of weeds and brush. And the pad just catches those things and makes it harder to push through.
But Jack and Mickey have found a solution to that problem, too. They stowe their pads vertically instead of horizontally. My pack is not equipped with the cords to be able to do that, but I think I might modify the pack when I get home to be able to do exactly that.
It rained most of the night last night. I have my tent on the picnic table blocking the wind. But the wind was shifting throughout the night so it wasn’t always effective.
When the rain intensified, I could feel water mist on my face during the night. But when the rain let up, things did actually dry quite well. When I woke up in the morning the bag was as dry, if not dryer, than when I’m in my tent. It also happened to not be raining very hard at the time.
A slack in the rain means eat your breakfast get packed up and get moving quickly. So I did just that. Because it was only 15 or 16 miles into town, there was no rush to get out early. So it was only 8:00 when I left.
Here Comes the Rain Again
I left at the perfect time, because 5 minutes after leaving camp it started raining pretty hard. I was wearing my shorts, a short sleeve t-shirt, and a long sleeve t-shirt over that. My rain jacket is actually what I’m using to keep rain from soaking through from the top of the pack down to the rest of the pack.
I wasn’t sure how warm or cold it was going to get throughout the day. I didn’t want my long sleeve shirt to get wet, but I also didn’t want to get cold. I was beginning to think that the decision to wear the long sleeve shirt might have been the wrong choice.
I am not using a pack cover on this trip. My backpack is made of nylon and not waterproof. All of my clothes and sleeping bag are in waterproof dry bags. But the packet self gets very wet.
I had forgotten that I have a garbage bag with me. I was hoping to be able to put it over the pack and then cut little slits to pull the backpack straps through. But this garbage bag is not nearly big enough to do that. So all I can do is drape it over the pack like a shower cap.
It does not work well at all and at some point during the morning blew off on the roadwalk. I never even noticed that it happened until I got to the hotel and it was missing. I really wish I had gotten a Dynema backpack for this trip.
Jack and Mickey passed me about six or seven miles into the road walk. They found an abandoned house with a very large overhang to hide from the rain. I went to join them because it was time for a break. I also wanted to try and call the hotel to reserve a room.
I called the hotel and they did have a room so I was very relieved. We were still two miles from the convenience store, and then another three miles into town. So two hours from now I should be dry.
Jack was getting very cold so he went ahead and took off and Mickey followed after him. After I packed up everything up and set out again, I can see that Jack actually started running down the road. He was getting very cold and shivering and probably close to getting hypothermia. He really wanted to get to that convenience store quickly.
After only about a half of a mile, I could see that Mickey was getting a ride from a pickup truck. This is probably the best thing for them if Jack is in that bad of shape. I expect that they will hitch all the way to the hotel just to get out of the rain immediately.
For some odd reason, even though I am cold and pretty wet I am in good spirits. I guess mainly because I was expecting it today and it really wasn’t that bad of a road walk.
My umbrella keeps the top half of my body moderately dry. But my shorts and obviously my shoes and socks were completely drenched. I could see from an electronic sign at a bank that the temperature was 56°. This normally would be perfect hiking weather, but when it is windy and rainy it’s a little on the cool side. 66 would have been much better.
It doesn’t take long before I am at the convenience store. I go inside and I’m happy to see that they have a hot deli counter at the back of the store so I head directly for it. Fried chicken, fried okra, baked beans, and cornbread, please. The fried chicken is not quite as good as the Jay Veer store but it was still delicious. And the store is warm and dry.
I also bought a chocolate milk and an oatmeal cream pie to eat before leaving. But I also bought a tube of Pringles and a honey bun for tomorrow in case I can’t find breakfast food.
I am planning on resupplying at the Piggly Wiggly that is at the other end of town, but I want to have an emergency backup just in case. If it rains this hard all afternoon, then I’m not likely to go to the Piggly Wiggly.
A few miles out of town there is a sidewalk which makes the walking much less stressful. But this sidewalk must be too close to Bradwell Bay, because big stretches of the sidewalk are under water. Some of the deepest sections are about 4 inches deep. My feet are so wet it doesn’t really matter if I walk through them or not.
I managed to get to the hotel at 1:00, which is when I told them I would arrive. My hands are so cold that I have to give the clerk my ID and have him fill out the form for me. When it comes time to sign the credit card receipt, it is so jagged it doesn’t even look like my signature.
The first thing I do is to head straight for the shower. I take my shoes and socks off and my long sleeve shirt, but just jump in the shower with everything else. Everything is so soaking wet it doesn’t really matter so I might as well rinse them out at the same time.
The hot shower never felt so good. Instead of washing dirt off, this is just to get my body temperature back up. I haven’t even bothered to get any dry clothes out of my backpack.
The next thing is to get the heat turned on which takes a while to figure out but eventually I get it working. Then I can finally get into some dry clothes.
After a quick 5-minute rest, it’s time to do chores. The first chores are to wash the filty things that need washing. In this case it’s mainly socks and gaiters. I washed them and set them out to dry. Then I set all the other wet clothes out to dry.
Then I need to get everything out of the backpack so I can hang the backpack upside down to dry. The dry bags work extremely well at keeping the clothes and sleeping bag dry. But the outside of the bags themselves are wet and need to be dried.
This room is going to start stinking in just a few minutes with all this nasty laundry lying around. But as long as I’m dry I don’t care what it smells like.
Later in the day it does stop raining. It is about 5:30 and I make my break for the Piggly Wiggly to go hit their deli. It is 3/4 of a mile so it is not a trivial walk.
When I get there, I am horrified to see that the deli has closed and is already cleaned up. The only thing in the deli are packs of cooked ribs and one sausage dog. I will have to go buy stuff from the Frozen aisle to cook in the room. This was not the Piggly Wiggly trip I have been dreaming about for days.
I also pick up some things for breakfast tomorrow, and enough walking snacks and lunches for the next two days. I made the mistake of not eating before grocery shopping and buy way too much food. I guess I will be feasting for dinner and breakfast. It’s good to be the King.
Emotion of the Day
I want to pick the word accomplishment.
Not that hiking in the rain is some major task to overcome. But I started out the morning knowing that it was going to be miserable. And all during the miserable hike I was in pretty good spirits.
After I ate lunch at the convenience store, I did get much colder than before. This is because the body sends blood to the stomach to process the food and you tend to get cold very quickly.
So the 30 minutes after leaving the store I was probably my coldest. The rain might not have been at its hardest but it definitely was far from its lightest.
Then even though I had a nice sidewalk to walk in, it had enormous amounts of water all over it. But it didn’t seem to bother me at all.
I was in the hiker zone. I was cold. I was wet. But I was not tired and I was not hungry. I was also in a somewhat upbeat mood.
The worst part was probably the cold. If I had a better solution to keeping my backpack dry, I probably should have worn my rain jacket. After all, that’s what a rain jacket is for – keeping you warm in the rain. It’s job is not actually to keep you dry. But that is a secondary function as part of its purpose to keep you warm.
I know it is going to rain like this for two days again at the end of next week. I will be better prepared for that rain.
So I guess I feel accomplishment because I was able to take really horrible hiking conditions and actually have a reasonably good time doing it. But tomorrow will be better when it is cool and no longer raining.
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