Epilogue Day 3: Secret Shelter

Epilogue Day 3. When I looked at the weather for this part of America on Monday, it showed sunny or partly cloudy for 6 days straight. I thought I was going to be blessed with perfect weather to push these miles out. Not too hot, not too cold, not too wet. Nope, wrong again. All 3 of my pairs of socks (including the supposed waterproof ones) or soaked through. The ground has been saturated with rain water all week, and it poured on me yet again today.

I was really hoping I’d get in the 18 miles to this shelter before the thunderstorm hit this evening. Reports were showing 30% chance of rain from 3-6pm, and then worse after sunset. I woke up a bit late, but still tried to push my hiking pace, so as to arrive between 3 and 4. I thought I had a good chance of staying dry until I ended the day, then staying dry in the comfort of a shelter. It was great this morning, with the sun even poking out at times for a quick and warm hello. But then the rain hit at 2pm, and it was a straight downpour until 4pm when I finally arrived at camp. And of course, now as I sit here under this cover of roof, it’s dry skies again. When it comes to weather, I simply can’t catch a break out here this time, and it’s really starting to annoy me. However, I’ll look optimistically to tomorrow, who’s forecast shows clear blue skies and sun. I need that sun. Both to dry out my gear and warm up my spirits.

Side note, how cool is this photo? It looks like the sun is heart-shaped and sending down rays of sunshine like a carebear.

It was a generally nice hike today (before 2pm), and I saw a handful of Sobo hikers again as I traversed my way North. Done we’re chatty, some not so much … but it was great to see people all the same. There were a couple of nice rest areas to kick off my shoes and let my piggies breath, and some not-too-difficult ups and downs in-between. Physically, I could tell that yesterday had taken a toll on me, though not as bad as I feared. I was a bit slower to start, but then found my hiking legs as I made good time trudging through the trail rivers and wet pasturelands of today’s AT.

The shelter I’m staying at, is actually a privately owned cabin on a farm the trail passes through. its called the “Secret Shelter” because it’s not advertised in the printed guidebooks (though is marked on the Guthooks app). A thruhiker from 1989 bought this land and established the cabin as a refuge for hikers in need of shelter along this section of New Jersey, which does not allow stealth camping. It is locked at times during the year, but I was pleased to find it open today and available to me. I hung up some gear, laid out my bed, and ate dinner on the porch while watching a donkey graze nearby. Although I was frustrated from the rain, it was a very tranquil evening. I’m always amazed at the community supporting this trail, and this is yet another example of a past hiker opening his home to future walkers of the path. It’s nothing special, with just a dirty tile floor to put a sleeping pad on, but it’s dry and it’s here. It also has a water spigot and electrical outlet to charge my phone, which is nice.

Tomorrow might have to be a really long day, as it’s 18 miles to a shelter or 26 miles to a town. After the past 3 days, a motel in town sounds like heaven to me. If I cant get that far though, I have a feeling I won’t be able to get all my missed miles in before Sunday. We shall see, but I can always come back another time if I need to.

Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!

  • Start Mile: 1326.1
  • Start Time: 08:15
  • End Mile: 1344.9
  • End Time: 18:30
  • Miles Hiked: 18.8
  • Miles to Go: 47.8
  • Lodging: Secret Shelter

6 thoughts on “Epilogue Day 3: Secret Shelter

  1. You have the,rest of your life to complete your desired goal. Just think how much fun it would be to take your own children and what a blast it would be to have your grand kids help gramps finish a life long goal. Have a wonderfilled trip. Happy Trails

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “The greatest danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark” – Michelangelo-artist


  3. Sharkbait!
    Happy here 🙂

    Definitely a better day. It is, I’m sure, hard to pick up the pack again and return to the AT.
    I’m sure there is no shortage of sharp protruding rocks, devious roots trying to ensnare you feet, and large black King snakes waiting to sample your hide. Fear not – the end is shorter this time!
    Just keep on eye out on those weather reports. It continues to rain here :(.
    mom & Happy

    Liked by 1 person

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