Sat, Apr 2 2005 - Expert Shuttle Hike on the AT (Snickers Gap) (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Jesse Allen, Emilio Ungerfeld, John Hughes, bartlett rhoades, Wil Bruce, Douglas Smith|
It was cold and rainy and cold and wet and did I mention it
was cold? The sky was pouring down buckets, but our
interpid hikers needed their training hike to prepare for the
Hike Across Maryland on May 7, so even in the cold and the
rain and did I mention it was cold? Anyway, we met up at
Snicker's Gap to head off north through the last three hills in
the famous "rollercoaster" section of the Appalachian Trail (17
hills in 27 miles). Doug was running a little behind, but called
us to encourage us to head on ahead without him.
After some brief, chilly, wet introductions (and a quick lesson
in Russian from Emilio about how to say "It is [expletive]
cold!"), we headed off up the trail.
Perhaps trail is a generous term. In a number of places, it
was more of a shallow stream. Making it rather different from
the small streams at the bottom of each of the valleys we
crossed which were running rather swiftly.
Not only was it cold and rainy and did I mention it was cold?
Ah, yes. A few minutes into the hike as the walking warmed
us up, we got our first distant roll of thunder. Not close, not
threatening, but not pleasant. As long as we kept hiking, we
were fine. We even forded the first couple of streams without
Right up to the point when there was a brilliant flash of
lightning and a thunderclap almost at the same time. That
was no gentle inter-cloud strike miles away, but a vicious stab
to the ground and somewhere not too far away from us. This
was all the more disconcerting for happening as we were
climbing up towards Raven Rocks, one of the most high and
exposed spots on the trail.
We high-tailed down from the ridge and across the rocky
scramble of Devil's Racecourse and regrouped there and
discussed our options. On the one hand, we had come in
only 3.5 miles of our total planned 20 for the day and several
of us were very keen to get in a long hike needed to be ready
for our 40+ mile adventure in a month. However, the trail from
Devil's Racecourse goes up onto a ridgeline and stays there
the rest of the hike, something we were not so keen on with
lightning. So we made the choice to turn back and not linger
at any high spots.
We caught up with Doug around Raven Rocks. Naturally
within half an hour of turning back, the rain eased off some
and we did not hear any more thunder. Still, we all preferred
safety to hiking.
Emilio, John, and I celebrated surviving the experience with a
good lunch in Frederick at the MOC regular feasting place,
Brewer's Alley. After a while, we even managed to thaw out a
Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to Amy Lipsius at email@example.com
. Please note that we prefer to receive the photos in approximately 640x480 or 750x500 pixels - do NOT send original high-res photos. If you have a LOT of photos, please submit up to twenty of your favorites (only) for a day event, or up to forty of your favourites for a multi-day event.