Around 4 am, I tiptoed out of the shelter to go pee in the dark. Not long after I got tucked back into my sleeping bag did the sky open up. Rain pounded against the metal roof and thunder roared with such an intensity that it shook the entire building awaking everyone inside. Flashes of lightning illuminated everything, creating brief moments of illumination inside. Thank God the Stratton Pond Shelter had an enclosed picnic area in the front because the wind carried the rains into the first few feet on the deck and I would have surely been soaked otherwise.
I looked across to Marie whom I had planned to hike to Story Spring Shelter with today and told her there was no way I was hiking in this storm and that I’d be staying here again today while it raged on. I rolled over and fell back to sleep until about 8:30, then got up to make breakfast with everyone. Thankfully my bear bar was not too far from the shelter and I was able to quickly retrieve it. Unfortunately, the Sea To Summit compression waterproof bag was not actually waterproof but only a little resistant. The inside was soaked but thankfully I put everything into a plastic grocery store bag and that seemed to keep my food safe. Plus, everything I had was in Ziplock bags.
Bee’s Knees and Princess suited up in their oversized ponchos so that they covered their packs as well as their bodies. They looked like a giant blueberry and grape. They needed to get going regardless so the intense rain since they had a reservation at the Green Mountain House. I had also tried to make a reservation there when I had heard about the storm coming in, but they book up fast and typically people book 3 to 4 days in advance. But now that the storm was here I was glad I didn’t have to hike in it. It was coming down so viscously it looked dangerous to be in. The ground was flooding and it made it impossible to see what was in front of you, never mind the wet rocks and trying to spot the blazers marked on the trees. Marie asked if I wanted to get going too. I said no. The shelter was dry and I knew there was no way I’d manage out there with my ankle still tender as it was. Marie decided she’d stay too and when Elizabeth heard this she decided she’d join us as well. Eventually, all the men left and it was just us three women.
The rain came in heavy and gentle waves throughout the day. It was like a river flowing from the sky. None of us wanted to trek the 1 mile down and back to get water so we lined our bottles, cups, and pots outside to collect rainwater. It was raining so heavy we were all filled up nearly instantly. A little after noon a group of college hikers came by along with an older gentleman. They all chatted and ate lunch with us. They were completely soaked through. One of the kids was not feeling so well so he climbed up in the loft above to take a nap. The older gentleman decided he’d spend the rest of the day with us. He looked completely exhausted from being out in the storm.
After some Raman, I decided to get back into my sleeping bag since I was getting cold and I took a 2-hour nap. My body truly hated me. Everything hurt. I woke up around 3pm. The girls had taken a nap too and we all migrated back to the front of the shelter to sit under the overhang and get some light. The main part of the shelter was incredibly dark, it felt like a cave and I was desperate for some light.
Marie sat by sketching in her Trail Journal. This was her 5th and last section to complete in order to finish hiking the Long Trail. Her drawings were simple yet intricate. Seeing her work reminded me just how much detail and variation you could do just using a pencil. In the past few years, I had gotten so caught up in painting that I had forgotten about drawing. It hadn’t even crossed my mind as something I could do while out here. I had originally planned to bring my watercolors but last minute decided not too because I figured I wouldn’t find the time. That’s when I remembered I did bring my embroidery threads. I had been so busy just surviving that I hadn’t had time for anything else.
I pulled out my purple sun hat and began embroidering the beautiful black butterfly with white and blue details I saw when I first came out here with Len over by Prospect Rock and then drew the outline of a black bear to represent the night at Griffin Lake. As I was sewing, I had my Platypus Hydration sack hanging above my head and I accidentally pulled too hard on my needle and stabbed it. Water started spewing from the bottom. Luckily, Elizabeth had duck tape easily accessible. After patching the hole I decided I had enough of the day, journaled, and went to bed.
As a trauma survivor I have learned to move forward in my life and heal from my past by exploring many passions such as spirituality, art, travel & herbalism. I hope my blog can help inspire healing in others and let them know they are not alone on their journey.