I woke up at 4:30 in the morning. I was rather cold and I didn’t want to get up and start a fire so I tried to go back to sleep. I found that perfect comfortable spot to fall back asleep and slept for a whopping thirty minutes. At 5:00 I woke back up and decided I needed to get up and start a fire. I grabbed my sleeping bag and sat by the fire for two hours before Mark woke at 7:00. I just spent time watching the fire, talking to God and watching the sun come up. It was just an amazing time relaxing by the fire getting ready for the long hike; thirteen miles to be exact.
When everyone began moving around, I made my breakfast. I cut some jerky in small pieces, scrambled two eggs and began to commence eating my breakfast burritos complete with eggs, beef jerky and cheese. After making them all jealous with such an awesome breakfast (lol) we started to pack up camp. We left camp by ten o’clock and we were on our way for a long day.
The trail consisted of hiking trails and old forest roads for park rangers as well as ways to get to some of the old cemeteries we came across. I found an old tree that had fell across the trail and asked to have my picture on it. It wasn’t bad getting up but the getting down was a little more tricky.
It was a lot of ups and downs, a lot of hills and valleys so we had some good spots to look at the trail from a ridge which made for some good views. I took some pictures but it doesn’t really do justice what we saw. We walked for what seemed like forever before we broke for lunch at an old cemetery that only had one grave. We all settled for about 30-45 minutes. I had some jerky, cliff bars, Snickers, Twix bars and water. Mark decided since he didn’t get much of a breakfast that he would pull his stove out and make some oatmeal. The others just had some candy and chips.
Again we were off and my feet were definitely hurting by now. The trail crossed the Trace. When we began to cross I saw a car coming and I ran out on a grass embankment and began waving figuring to scare the driver but she never looked up. I don’t think she ever saw me waving. I had Mark take my picture on the road when we crossed. Then it was back into the woods. We never saw another person the whole time we were on the trail.
Again up and down through the woods. The only thing that got me through walking so long and far was my time with God that morning. Throughout the day, I felt God gave me a new idea for my next book. Spinning off my last book Faith Debugged, I think now I will write a book called Faith Deblistered – Spiritual Insights From a Hiker. As I thought about this I started coming up with so many ideas and was getting excited to learn more and hike more so I would have stories to write about.
We made it to a place that a tree fell across the trail but we were uncertain where the trail went. We all spread out looking for any blaze or sign that said which way the trail went. We finally found one in the grass and on a tree far down the trail so we were glad to know we were still on the trail. This is when we entered an area they had been clearing out. This all seemed to take forever to get through. Josh and Dalton were way ahead of us by this time. Mark and I were pulling up the rear. That’s what old men do.
I noticed that the sky started to become overcast. Before I left for our hike, I checked the forecast and there was no rain in the forecast. We felt we were getting close to camp but was still rather unsure where camp was. Josh and Dalton were far ahead of us we had lost sight. I mentioned to Mark since there wasn’t a spring near the shelter that we were passing a small creek, we should go ahead and fill up on water. Just as I had gotten my filter out, it began to sleet. Yes, sleet! We still went ahead and filled our water bottles. It added another few pounds to my pack cause I was now carrying almost four liters of water. I could tell it was heavier.
The rain began to come down as we got back on the trail and we didn’t know how much longer we had. I didn’t put my rain gear on because it wasn’t in the forecast so I didn’t know how long it would last. I figured we’d tough it out. We later learned shelter was about a mile and half ahead. We were almost there when Josh came to meet us wondering where we were at. He was in his camouflage rain poncho and he looked rather ghostly coming down the trail.
When we arrived to Iron Mountain shelter, Josh and Dalton had already settled in. Mark went to use the outhouse that was there and I sat down to make some Mountain House Lasagna. Let me tell you, when you had just hiked 13 miles, and you’re as cold as I was, that lasagna was the most amazing thing I had ever tasted it. I made love to that lasagna. I was so close to ripping the side out and licking the bag it was so good. For supper, I not only had lasagna, I had two cliff bars, three Twix bars, two beef jerky packs with cheese as well. I was hungry. I had the Ramen Noodles set out but fell asleep before I could eat them.
We was unable to make fire that night because of the rain so I got in my sack wet clothes and all (I know now was a mistake) and shivering all over. I texted Carrie to let her know that we had arrived. She said there was nothing on the radar about rain so who knows where it came from. It was 6:30 when we all laid down and fell asleep. I woke at 9:00 to text Carrie one more time goodnight then I was off. I was surprised and pleased that my sleeping bag was comfortable and warm as it was. I slept better than I thought I would.
After Carrie told me the rain was not on the radar, I could only think that it had come because God wanted to make my book more interesting. I can’t write about what I don’t know. Remember, it’s not about the mile, it’s about the smiles. It’s not the end that’s important but the journey This was definitely becoming a journey.
- Hiking Dunbar Cave Recovery Trail (picturesoflillies.wordpress.com)