View Full Version : Wind Gap PA to Leroy Smith Shelter PT 3 OF 3

07-27-2015, 11:12
Part 1 of 3
July 18th - 19th

Dinner is served, I did get to use my Mora Companion knife for dinner prep and the fire, I ground the spine with a flat for using with a firesteel.

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After my Knorrs Pasta Sides, "Cheesy Bacon Macaroni" and a little help from a packet of tuna-fish, pepper and some olive oil, I secured the tent as the weather forecast had changed to severe thunderstorms between 9:00pm - 12:00am. Staking the tent with stakes, proved to be futile, getting a stake in further than an inch was impossible so I had to improvise with rocks and logs.

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After dinner and securing the tent I sat out about another half an hour watching the fire and headed to bed, about an hour or two later the storm came in, Man was that some heavy rain, I gotta give KUDOS to this tent, not one leak!

Here's a video recording of the rain. You can't hear the thunder and the rain was actually coming down a lot harder before I decided to grab the camera.

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After the storm, I'm guessing midnight, a few hikers came in and setup camp around me, they must have been soaked. I'm guessing the shelter was full at this time!

I slept well and the next morning I covered a couple hot spots on my toes with Mole Skin, then broke camp as soon as there was light. The reason I wanted to get on the trail so soon was due to the heat advisory and I wasn't taking any chances. I was packed up and on the trail in half an hour, probably 6ish.

I decided to hike to the clearing and have breakfast and sit a while.

I put the camera in the backpack for the hike out and only took it out a few times, I figured I had enough Rock pictures!

Here's some pics from the hike out, these shots are from the power lines.

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I popped 4 Advil after the power lines, my hips were feeling a bit sore.

I happened upon this guy and felt he warranted me taking my camera out of the pack. He was right on the trail so I moved him off the trail a few feet, this guy wasn't moving for anyone! "Sub Adult Red Spotted Newt".

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I was making pretty good time on the trail and decided to stop and have my breakfast and take in the view.This is where I had my A-ha moment. It was at this point I realized something very important, this was my "moment in time".

I sat there in solitude enjoying the view, there was a slight breeze and I could hear the tall grass rustling all around me, the wind was cool and pleasant, a bird chirped behind me, a cricket made his way across an open area directly at my feet, a bee was making a quick meal on some wild flowers. The whole time I'm sitting there munching on my breakfast and enjoying my coffee.

I wasn't thinking of "where I was headed" or "where I just came from", I wasn't thinking about what time it was, how fast I was going, the ride home or my next meal. I was in that moment and nothing else mattered.
I didn't realize this until I starting writing this article, but this was the moment that stands out for me, not the accomplishment, the heat, the spider webs, the rocks, the rain, etc...

Yep I get it!
I finally get it, it wasn't the "Destination", the "Journey" or the "because it's there" scenarios. It was the "moment in time", the 30 minutes I sat up on that mountain is what I will remember the rest of my life.

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Back to what I was saying earlier about the spider webs... the webs were so bad I had to carry a stick in front of me like I was using a divining rod. These weren't just a few strands but huge full size webs with spiders visible in the web.
I was covered with spiders when I sat to have breakfast.

The stick looked like cotton candy (a colorful analogy) by the time I saw the first hiker coming the opposite way (clearing the webs), I said with a cheerful grin, "Hello" and tossed my Spider web stick.

My hips seemed to have loosened up a bit and I felt pretty good, I was able to breathe through my nose most of the hike. I was soaked from the waist down, with every step I took, I could feel the water squeezing through my toes and pushing out up through the boots, needless to say, my Moleskin was floating around somewhere in my boots on both feet but I wasn't about to take them off at this point.

I was rationing my water a bit, I had plenty of water left but one 19oz. bottle was filtered and not boiled, this was my last resort if I was feeling dehydrated.

The pack out was a bit lighter, probably 4 pounds, and I think I got the pack dialed in a bit better, I need to keep the hip belt pretty darn tight and keep the heavier items closer to my back. I already pack this way but need to be even more critical. There was almost no weight on the shoulder straps on the hike out.

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I stopped taking pictures the rest of the hike, the camera was getting a bit cumbersome.

The last 1.5 miles was a bit rough, Climbing a rocky trail is one thing but descending it is another, plus it's a bit tougher on my knees, I had one slip where I thought I was gonna slam on my ass.

Back on route 115 and headed to the car, at this point it was about 87 and I could feel the heat radiating off my chest into my face.

Back at the car I tossed my gear in the back, got a Starbucks Frappuccino, and apple juice, took off my socks and shoes, put the key in the ignition and said a prayer that the car would start, woohho, it started.
Popped on the AC, punched in some coordinates for a McDonald's and Picked up a Bacon Egg and Cheese breakfast biscuit with hash browns and a chocolate milk... life don't get any better than this.

The rest of the ride home (90 minutes) was nice, just sucking up that air, listening to music and singing along, although The songs lyrics weren't the same as mine.
It was well over 90 by the time I got home.

Back at the homestead, out came my sleeping bag, pillow and tent and I placed them on the deck to dry.

Hopped in the tub, popped on the jacuzzi and took a bubble bath...Hey, I deserve it!

Tossed on some comfy clean clothes placed a fan in front of my recliner and grabbed the remote, oh yeah, grabbed a handful of M&M'S too!

Things learned

You are gonna get wet.
Hike your own hike!
It's not a race.
I love M&M's and snickers
I have a new trail food (Tortilla Shells)
Jalapenos are good on anything.
Let other hikers pass to knock down the cobwebs and water on the brush.
Solo hiking is nice as you set your own pace and not stress about keeping up.
I can do it!

Things I done right

Food, I was very pleased with my choices of food.
Keeping Advil in the Hip Belt pockets with the snacks.
Fuel was adequate, no need for backup, hey dumb-ass you can build a fire!
Water was more than adequate
Shelter, proved itself in the thunderstorm yet again.
Pack Weight, I was very impressed on how light I got my pack.
Put on the Rain fly and staked out the tent with rocks and logs before I went to bed.
Cooler chest with ice, water, soda, apple juice and Starbucks Frappuccino in the car.

Things I done wrong and/or need to fix/modify/improve.

Water filtration, need to modify this and reduce weight an ounce or two.
Camera, I love my camera but for this type of hiking I need a Lightweight point and shoot camera that can be kept on my shoulder strap.
Keep a pair of spare socks and boots or shoes in the car.
When using Moleskin on a toe wrap, do a complete wrap around the toe with duct tape.
Knock another pound off the pack.
Loose 10 more pounds.

Things to ponder

Life is short, don't talk about it... JUST DO IT!
Waiting for perfect weather or the perfect moment to plan a trip will never happen. JUST DO IT!
Enjoy your surroundings, look closer, listen harder, breathe deeper, take time to smell the roses, so to speak.
Would I do this trail again? NO, not unless it's paved, I will do another trail.

Seeya on the trail!