June 23 2015
Yeah, more rocks. Today I really started moving over the rocks quickly. Clarity tried to warn us that this huge storm was rolling in and that we should take a short day.
I didn’t listen. I ended up on a ridge, eating trail magic donuts and running, screaming through a terrible lightning storm. The trail turned into a stream three inches deep. At first I tried to keep my feet dry, but as the popping and thunder got closer I just took off running over rocks and through the flowing water. Flashes of blinding light kept blowing out the daylight. It was exhilarating. I was singing and laughing, Take It Easy was way ahead in the same storm and Silent Force was following close behind. He seemed baffled by my crazy behavior.
I was scared. But we ran through tree-line quickly and dropped down into some trees that were taller than us. We stopped and squatted down to eat some trail magic oranges we’d stuffed in our pockets as the storm hit. I squatted there laughing at the sight of us: two animals viciously ripping at orange peel, eyes darting with adrenaline, posed as if we were hiding from the world, hiding our food and energy from the passing storm.
We slid down the mountain to the next shelter to find a couple of fresh hikers, clean and dry and a drenched Take It Easy. The three of us looked at each other and laughed. We promptly removed our shoes and began ringing out the brown water from our socks. I changed into dry clothes and started ringing out my clothing, also brown water, and looked over as the other hikers were doing the same,then around to looks of disgust from the fresh meat hikers.
I told them, “You’ll be here soon. Welcome to trail.”
We strung a long line and hung out all the wet clothing. I unrolled my soggy sleeping bag and realized that everything I had was wet. It was a sad night until it started to get dark.
We were all chatting in the shelter, preparing for bed. I put in my ear plugs and was sleeping head out. I had recently started sleeping head out because it made me feel less enclosed. PA was too rocky for much stealth camping so I was starting to have issues spending every night with several other hikers. I was missing my solo days.
Then a faint light hit the trees in the forest. Gradually the lights grew brighter until two headlamps emerged and shined right into my face. It was almost dark and the sky was turning the dark royal blue hue that precedes complete darkness. I popped out my earplugs and heard a familiar voice… that thick Minnesota accent.
I said, “Sota Sam?”
He replied with”Captain Planet?!”
We couldn’t see each other fully. I was blinded by his light and he was looking in at a person who had changed a lot, engulfed in darkness.
We were both completely blown away! I got out of bed and lit an incense stick to ward off the mosquitoes (yeah Pa had those too!) and we chatted in the dark. I met Sam’s new hiking buddy Billy and we caught up a little before they wandered off to find a flat spot in the rocks to sleep. I didn’t see Sam again for awhile, but out of everyone on trail I had the most unexpected reunions with him.