Friday, April 9, 2021

Day 8: The Day the Weather Turned.... for the better!

March 2: It rained heavily and steadily all night long, but started to tapper off by around 7:30am. I had expected this--I checked the weather report. Along this trail, every site where I camped, I was able to get a signal on my phone allowing me to get up-to-date weather forecasts each day. The downside, of course, was just turning on my phone, checking the forecast and occasionally checking in to let everyone know I was alive and well--my phone had now been run down to a 4% charge.

I lingered in camp a bit late since I didn't plan to hike far. The weather was expected to clear up significantly later in the day and I had about 20 miles to the end of the trail. I decided to split the mileage more-or-less evenly between today and tomorrow and use the large quantities of sunlight later this afternoon to finally turbo charge my solar power panel. =)

Notice the dry spot where I camped? It was actually wet when I set up camp the evening before due to raining all day, but my body heat alone was enough to dry the small patch of ground I slept on despite the heavy rain all night long. (The part under my tarp where my body didn't lie didn't really dry, though--it really needed my body heat to actually dry!)

So I didn't break down camp and hit the trail until closer to 9:00am. Before leaving the campsite, I did walk over to the other two backpackers and introduce myself. I could hear them talking to each other through their tents so I knew I wasn't waking either of them up. I was surprised to learn that not only were they other thru-hikers, but they were hiking in the same direction as me! They had started the trail a couple of days after I had but were moving at a faster pace than myself. Presumably, they passed me yesterday when I got off trail at Double Lake for several hours. They must have spent some quality time hiking in the rain, though--a fate I had managed to avoid.

Neither of them were even getting ready to hit the trail, though, so I waved goodbye and continued onward. Perhaps they'd catch up to me later in the day and we could chat some more. I hoped so, at least. I didn't ask where they planned to camp since I figured that would probably make me sound like a stalker. (I think I forgot to mention that they were both young women, so I really didn't want to put out that creepy stalker vibe, but I was still lonely and desperate for company to chat with!)

The day's hiking was generally uneventful. I stopped for two considerably long breaks lasting a couple of hours, and both times I set my solar charger out to collect all that beautiful sunlight. The first break was next to a bench on the trail overlooking a small river. It was a nice place to rest and relax, and about an hour after I arrived, the two girls passed by with nothing more than a "hi." I guess they didn't feel like chatting. Oh, well.... They still had each other to chat with and probably didn't experience the loneliness or boredom that I did.

Instead, I spent the time reading my Kindle. I was surprised to notice that I had been reading my Kindle so much, even the battery level on that device was beginning to run low. Usually a single charge will last me for weeks! At the pace I was going, it would be dead in a couple of days. Fortunately, I expected to finish the trail tomorrow.

That's not how boardwalks are supposed to work....

The trail was quite pleasant, following alongside small rivers much of the time, or up on an old, former railroad bed that was flat, dry, straight and easy.

The weather was absolutely prefect as well. Not too cold, not too hot, not too humid. There was plenty of sun and plenty of shade when I didn't want to be in the sun. The best day of weather so far on the trail!

I finally called it quits for the day by a creek near mile marker 85--barely 9 miles from my last campsite leaving me with just 11 miles left to do tomorrow. I set out my solar panel again to collect what light I could before sunset, but at the end of the day, it was still blinking a red light which indicated it was between 10% and 50% charged. I had really been hoping to pass that 50% mark, but nope. At least, I hoped optimistically, it was at the higher end of 50%. With as much sunlight as it got today, I felt it had to be closer to 50% than 10%.

But now was the moment of truth and I plugged in my phone to see how much more power I could get. If it were sufficient, maybe I could watch a short episode of something on Netflix.

But the charger died when my phone reached a mere 17% charge. That was it?! I was devastated. I expected to be back in town and have all the electricity that I could want later tomorrow, but I still wanted to keep a small charge on my phone in case I wanted to call for an Uber or Lyft or something at the end of the trail. And pull up maps of Cleveland to find my way around and orient myself. And to tell everyone I finished the trail. And... whatever else I needed to do before I could plug into an electrical outlet. A 17% charge still wasn't very much--certainly not enough to be watching Netflix videos.

So I turned on my Kindle and continued reading for the rest of the evening before falling asleep.

The weather called for clear skies throughout the night and the next day, so I didn't bother to set up my tarp. I really enjoyed cowboy camping and was a little disappointed that I couldn't do it more often on this trail. As it turned out, only my first day and last day on the trail was I able to cowboy camp. The rest of the time, I needed to sleep under the trap.

And that was the end of another day.....

Beautiful, blue skies! I didn't realize how much the overcast, grey weather had been getting me down until it cleared up today!

I very much enjoyed the shadows that the trees cast across the trail! And everything just seemed to have more color in it. Or at least more shades of brown! =)

And the trail followed alongside several creeks and river for miles! Which is always nice. =)

And the trail included several benches to sit on! The first benches I'd seen on the entire trail.

And, at times, the trail followed these elevated humps which were old railroad beds and a pleasure to walk on.


KuKu said...

I know this is a short trail but I'm not ready for your adventure posts to be over!

Mary said...

I was very confused when Ryan said he wanted to pull up maps of Cleveland at the end of the trail! I googled it. “The trail starts just South of Richards, Texas and ends North-West of Cleveland, Texas.” Of course there are multiple Clevelands and not just in Ohio! I certainly did a double-take when I read his entry!

Blogger said...

Cleveland, Texas is not as nice as Cleveland, Ohio. LOL