04 AT 2023-07-03 MO – rain and ticks drove me out of the wild

Summary: hike 11 mi (2.4 mph) to climb to 1500” (Mt. Prospect) – highest in this trip and back to the car

05:22 wake up after a stormy night. Sleeping bag and things in the hammock are damp, but I am OK and not cold. I would wake up several times during the night and note that the rain eventually calmed down. At one point I discovered that my pants and fleece had slipped off the hammock into pools of water. What a mess! They are now both wet and covered with needles and dirt from the ground.

05:22 – 08:28 long hours of packing the camp trying not to upset tree and leaves that are dripping wet. First thing is to go get the water to wash my stinky feet, to filter for the road and to drink some now. Water here comes out in the middle of the ground hole in a ground that is clean, cold, and crisp. Rain continues, but iPhone shows no rain till 4PM today. Even with slow leisurely rain falling, it is a pleasure to do the morning washing of the face, neck, torso. Miraculously, it is not cold in the forest this morning. And by 07:20 even the sun comes out.  What a strange weather? Use branches of stiff bushes to line up the ground so that I can place things somewhere while folding and sorting, and packing.  I pack wet things into plastic bags, but still I must put on the wet pants – there is no other option.  They will dry out from my body heat in an hour.

 

 

 
Soaked, but determined – let’s finish this trail before the rain starts at 4PM Crossing Housatonic River that I was following for 3 days – looks so timid and calm.

 

 

08:30 immediately at the side trail and AT juncture I’ve met Tom and few moments later Ben who started and 05:30AM today 5 miles earlier at the shelter. We parted yesterday at about 1:30PM yesterday. I quickly overtake them and cross the road. This next section turns out to be easy – crossing route 7 and then 112, going parallel railroad tracks, even on the streets. The trail is waving along the Housatonic River in a section marked as handicap accessible. There are few interesting mile markers here. First you see “700 miles to Mt. Katahdin” sign, then “1494.6 mi to Georgia”, and then in a miles or so, second sign that read “1500.0 miles North from Springer Mt. GA”. Here, on that relaxing section on the trail at 09:40 I realized that I do not have my black leather camera case that I decided to ditch half an hour ago. I almost ran the expanse of the trail back (without my backpack) and almost immediately met Tom and Ben again. They are surprised to see me. By 09:58 I am back at the spot where I was changing, losing layers, and rearranging things in my pockets. There is no leather case here. I ran back a mile to my bag and checked a couple more places and pockets inside the backpack. No. No lather case there either. Nothing to do but to continue with about 35 min lost.

The trail crosses Housatonic River a second time, goes along the river on the street and finally veers off into the forest again. I sense a relief to be back into the wild. It is silly to walk with sticks and a large backpack in the middle of Americana.

11:07 As I climb steadily up, in my mind I go through the steps I have taken when changing clothes.  I’ve changed from a hacky shirt and pants into a white top and Adidas trunks.  I do not remember what I did with the leather case. I stopped, took off my backpack, placed it of a good size boulder, and look inside one more time.  I would took out clothes that I shed, unfold the jacket and a shirt, and pants, and here it is – the black leather case wedged right in there. It means I ran an extra 2 miles for no good reason. Now, with a sense of relief I can concentrate on the path ahead. The feat still feels as an achievement.

11:39 -11:53 I stopped at a random flat open place that started to  dry out a bit.  I can sit on the ground with my back against the tree. Always let your back rest and be very comfortable when your backpack is off. Finally, with my mind calm, I start to write down the happenings of this day. I am checking the weather forecast. The rain will start at 4PM and will continue till 3AM. And then will continue at 9AM tomorrow. With that I made my final decision to quit today and send a message home that I will arrive later this evening. So far, I have been following an aggressive schedule, but I do not want to continue into intermittent rain. Here I am about the midpoint of today’s journey. There is another 5.7 mi to go to the car and less than a mile to the next shelter. Another good piece of news – it turns out I am almost at Mount Prospect (1461′) and the trail, already mild, will mildly go down to Salisbury from here.

 

 

 
Handicap section of Appalachian Trail. This track runs along the Housatonic River, has multiple benches and is straight and pleasant to walk.  From 09:40 to 11:07 I was under impression that I lost this camera case while changing.  To my surprise, to  fond it in the backpack upon a closer examination

 

 

12:20 I flew by a side trail (0.5 mi) to Limestone Spring Shelter.

12:51-13:17 – I am at Billy’s View on the bare ledges.  This probably will be the last stopping point of my trip. Only 3.6 mi left to the car. I can use this sunny spot to check for ticks and cut nails on my feet.  They need some TLC. This morning I carefully spread bug spray all over my legs, and so far, I don’t see any ticks.

14:16 – 14:39 – walking the streets and roads in Salisbury. It is hot.

14:39 – 14:44 ODO 145.9 +24°C – AT parking lot in Salisbury.  The car is waiting for me. Drink sparkling water from a lukewarm cooler, detach tarp and sleeping pad roll from the backpack as they are still leaking water from the rain last night and drive off to pick up my bike.

15:33 – 15:51 ODO 176.9 – Appalachian Trail parking on Hoyte Rd. on NY/CT border. Find the bike, find the saddle, and front bag, load everything onto the car and depart for Boston.

 

 

 
The rain did not start. Perfect. I am back at the  Salisbury parking lot with 48 hiked miles under the belt in 3 nights and 4 days. Time to turn in. Hidden well – after 3 nights and several powerful rains my bike is found in the woods. The chain already rusted, but that can be cured with a thick coat of oil.

 

 

17:52 gas stop on Mass Pike on Charlton Plaza $4.289 * 16.380 = $70.25

18:35 ODO 334.8 +26.5°C – arrive home under a sunny sky.  Where have all the rain clouds gone? Lira took 3 tiny ticks from my legs and torso with pincers. Was the Lyme disease already transmitted by those tiny creatures?

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Navigate through the List

  1. 00 AT 2023 07 Preparation for the trip (2023/06/29)
  2. 01 AT 2023-06-30 FR - from NY/CT border to Schaghticoke Mt. Camp (2023/06/30)
  3. 02 AT 2023-07-01 SA - dry day along the Housatonic River (2023/07/01)
  4. 03 AT 2023-07-02 SU - Rain begins to tell its forest story (2023/07/02)
  5. 04 AT 2023-07-03 MO - rain and ticks drove me out of the wild (2023/07/03)

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