Thunderstorms

Va 635 (633.0)
Day 51 (5/31/19) R
Miles – 22.6
Total miles – 662.4

We were up early and at Food Lion grocery store when they opened to buy breakfast and a few last minute items for lunches. Despite these errands, we were on the trail by 8:00. A short time after getting back on the AT, we came to a cemetery. Of course we had to walk through it. The oldest grave we came across was Captain Pearis, dated 1810. On his stone, it stated that he fought in the American Revolutionary war. Our trail took us on a gradual up for several hours. Near lunch time, we broke out of the trees into a large open field with great views to the north across from Rice Field Shelter. We stopped for lunch on a small outcropping of rocks. Big puffy clouds covered the sky. There was a 50% chance of rain today. So far no rain! For lunch we made sandwiches that we eagerly devoured. Afterwords, we continued a long ridge walk. Most of the time we could not see anything but trees overhead, which is normal for the AT. Around 2:00 we heard the first rumbling of thunder. Soon it was all around us. It is exciting to hear all the thundering in all it’s tones, however there also is dread and fear. It is never pleasant to hike a length of time in rain. In fact, it can get down right miserable. Additionally, when we are high on the ridges, we are more exposed to lightening strikes. During the last bout of rain we had, a hiker one day behind us was struck by a bolt and was left unconscious by it. When he woke, he had a large gash in his head requiring ten staples. He is uncertain if he was hit in the head with the lightening or fell and hit his head on a tree? He really has no memory of the incident. When the wind picked up, we knew that rain would soon follow. We put on our rain skirts and got out the umbrellas. Immediately, it started to rain and hail. This went on for 15 minutes or so then followed by light rain. Not long after it stopped, all together the trees just dropped their leave’s water on us. An hour or so later, another thunderstorm rolled over us. We just kept hiking. As we started down off the ridge towards Pine Swamp Branch Shelter, the third thunderstorm began. This thunderstorm was on the far side of the ridge, so we did not get hit that hard. It was 6:00 when we walked up to the shelter. There were three other hikers hiding from the down pour. We came in out of the rain and cooked dinner. The rain soon stopped and blue sky popped out. After eating, we hiked on. We went a few more miles and stopped at the last road before our next big climb. There is a low chance of rain over night, but it has already sprinkled on us. Fireflies sparkled around us. We have learned that fireflies stay low in grassy areas during the day and come out at night and head for the trees at night. This explains why we do not see them very often because most of our time on the trail is deep inside trees. Very seldom have we had the opportunity to camp in a meadow area. Tomorrow has a 40% chance of rain, which we have learned pretty much guaranties rain!

Square Peg & Cowboy

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