Lightning Sparks Shortcake
Monday April 3, 2017
Mile: 86 to 93.6
7:55am - 12:10pm
Weather: torrential rain and T-storms
Slept in Carter Gap Shelter
Shortcake hurrying up the trail
Yesterday was absolutely beautiful and today was just the opposite. It started raining just after we packed up. We were still on the blue blazed trail and the rain drops started falling. They were a pleasant mist at first but with every foot step the drops fell faster until it couldn't rain any harder.
It's one thing to hike in the mountains during the rain. It's a whole other story when the precipitation is joined with a choreographed light and sound show. Shortcake confessed her fear of thunderstorms early on. She handled two other stormy nights tucked away in her sleeping bag like a champ. But hiking in it was a different challenge. With the first flash of lightening and percussion rumbling overhead Shortcake took off up the trail with a pace I hadn't seen her do yet.
I had just glanced at the GPS and knew we were headed up. Not a good direction with the electricity flying around but Shortcake was on a mission to get to the shelter and I was not going to stop her. At one point I did suggest we not use our poles. A while later we reached the safety of the shelter unharmed. To our disappointment it was already packed with stranded hikers.
If there is one thing the trail is lacking, it's not people. There are so many hikers on the path it's hard to find peace and quiet. It's good for safety in numbers but it's bad when 30 people try to fit into a space designed for eight.
The shelter was filled with thru hikers, section hikers and a group of nine Boy Scouts with leaders. I know we are all out there in the wilderness and no one has priority over another but I was a little disappointed that it took the pack leader 2 hours to tell his scouts to give their seats to the hikers who were wet, shivering and standing in the wind. They did graciously give us a space blanket that Shortcake and I used to wrap up a fellow hiker who was on the verge of hypothermia. Eventually the troop moved on after the rain stopped.
Cuddling in the shelter with trail buddies