Jacob Leistra / "Game Boy" / PCT 2019

Day 91: Stormed Out to Green Springs

Mile 1731.9 -> Mile 1735.5 -> Roadwalk to Green Springs Inn

Soon the pitter-patter of rain turned into the unending firing of a machine gun. The fat rain drops smacked the thin layer of DCF (overly expensive plastic used to make hiking gear) so violently I had to check multiple times that there weren’t holes. There weren’t. But that didn’t stop me from getting absolutely soaked. The rain came so hard and heavy that it hit the dirt around me and splattered under my tarp. The splashback flung dirt all over my gear and forced me to curl up as tightly as I could.

Then the flashes of light started. I had pulled my down quilt over my face and put my rain jacket over my head. I still saw flashes of light and heard the rumble. As if I was a kid again, I saw the lightning and started counting. “1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, …” until I got to 8. Then the thunder rumbled overhead. The lightning-thunder combo repeated and creeped closer, all while the rain assaulted my small sphere of dryness.

Suddenly my entire field of vision flashed white. Only I had no vision, as my eyes were shut under my jacket and quilt. “1 Missi–” I counted before I was interrupted. It sounded like Thor himself was summoning the elements above me. The thunder roared so loud I couldn’t hear the rain bullets firing overhead. Holy shit. I was surprised I didn’t hear a tree splintering like spaghetti noodles spilling out of an upended box.

Then the storm moved, the rain lightened in intensity, and I fell asleep. Until the next storm cloud came an hour or so later and repeated the process. It left as well, only to be followed by one or two more storm clouds.

I’m amazed I slept at all, but when my alarm went off I realized I was indeed sleeping. The sun was just starting to brighten the sky but the dripping of rain surrounded me on all sides. I patted myself and my gear to find everything wet. I opened my fanny pack. My phone and battery pack, while wet, still turned on. But everything else was soaked through: my ditty bag with first aid and permits, my poop kit and toilet paper, my pack. Everything was wet. I had a little bit of reception and checked the weather for today. More intermittent thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening, with no promise of sunny skies to dry all this stuff out.

And that’s the story of why I went 3.6 miles to HWY 66 and then walked along the road to Green Springs Inn. I paid $125 for a room–the cheapest they had–with a Jacuzzi, shower, bed, and ample amounts of dryness. I sat in the dining area and ate a fantastic breakfast burrito and had a big mug of coffee.

Looks like I’m taking the day off.

Main Photo: The trail on Hobart Bluff after a night of thunderstorms on August 10.