Friday, July 8, 2011
Hemlock Springs Campsite
First woken by a 5:30am rain squall but quickly was lulled to sleep by the same. Then my Blackberry went off at 7:00am and probably woke everyone up! I thought I had turned that thing off.
It was nice to see the forest today. It is your typical canopy you might find in the NE but without the density of underbrush so visibility was pretty high into the nearby forest. The water source (spring) at the shelter seemed questionable and had a lot of debree in it so we opted to not fill up. Peter and I hit the trail by 8:00am.
A couple miles in I realized I had neither started this thing with enough calories of water in me... on top of it my water was low as a consequence of that morning's decision at the spring. Basically a result of being so busy at wrk and last minute planning combined with excitedly hitting the trail without fueling up properly. By the time we reached the top of Bear Mountain, I was cramping and feeling a little dizzy. Luckily at the summit, Peter bought a Powerade from a vending machine and shared it and some water with me. Oh.... and I forgot my wallet (another casualty of the rush) so I am relying on Peter for money too! Anyway, we paused on Bear Mountain to explore the firetower, enjoy some views, dry our feet and eat lunch.
After an hour or so we headed down the fill to Bear Mountain Inn. The whole descent we listened to nearby ominous thunder and just as we arrived at the concession stand the rains came and escalated into a full torrent! We enjoyed drinks and company (woman hiking w/ boyfriend... didn't get the names and he was off swimming somewhere). The concessions guys generously filled our water for us which was appreciated as we were pretty much empty at that point. Finally a chance to rehydrate and get some strength!
As the rain escalated, I decided to check my Blackberry for messages from the office. Of course, there were a ton of messages (it is Friday afterall) and a staffing emergency. I had apparently left a loose end open on a book for a client and the MD and staffer were both asking what the plan was. I was getting a little panicked but Peter helped me think through the right response. After a few emails and a display of commitment to get the work done after coming out of the woods, my MD showed an amazing kindness by basically saying he wants me to have my vacation and he got someone else to take care of the job. I was thankful for the result, appreciated his kindness and was relieved to have effectively reiterated my commitment to the team while still preserving my vacation time. Time to turn the Blackberry off!
After waiting out the worst of the squall and having out significant others check the weather for us, we learned the rain was going to be around for the rest of the day and night so we bit the bullet and took off in the rain hoping, beyond reason, that it wouldn't escalate again. It did. Soon enough we were soaked through. Crossing the Hudson was on of the highlights of the day as was finally arriving at Hemlock Springs tent site a few miles passed the bridge.
This section of the trail doesn't have many shelters unfortunately. It wasn't fun throwing up a tent in the rain but I was able to strip down, dry out and put on a dry set of clothes as the inside of the tent dried. I am sure all my gear will still be soaking wet in the AM but at least I will sleep dry and comfortably tonight.
The water source here (spring) looks good so tomorrow should get a good start. Since getting our tents up we have been holed up in our respective shelters but I did make it out to hang a clothes line and cook dinner during a relative break in the rain. It has been fun reading up on the trail ahead (yet another casualty of lack of preparation time before heading out) and being left to my thoughts about work and family. I love getting out here. On the trail life gets simple, worries are few and gratitude for it all is plentiful. It is great to be back, soaking wet, first blister and all!