Saturday, May 16, 2015

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail - A Thru Hike (Day 3)

LHHT Day 3
1.  Date: 5/5/15
2.  Day 3
3.  Morning temp: 60
4.  Weather: Mild with clouds. Little rain. Some sun.
5.  Time start: 0730
6. Time stop and miles: 1634 13.4 miles 
7.  End point: Route 31 Shelter
8.  Events: hills, pleated wood pecker
Log: A warm morning with clouds overhead. Some rain for about an hour. Lots of water today. Drank a lot. Passed Halfway point. Everything going good.

Wherever you go, there you are... EarthTone

The morning was much milder this morning at 0600 when we both started to get up.  I went through my routine and KJ Claymored his gear over half the shelter as he organized his stuff.  

I was ready to go at 0730 and off I went.  KJ would follow when he was ready.  He would catch me in about two hours.  When I head off ahead like this, I like to just mosey around, checking things out.  Not really hiking fast, as we have all day.  The temps were already in the 60s and would climb towards 80 later in the day.  I described in my notes as the weather being Mile with Clouds.  Today, we were supposed to get some rain and I would be able to try out my new piece of gear.

Rock outcropping from guide
As I hiked along, I came to a series of rock outcropping.  The each looked familiar as I think some of them are in the LHHG guide I had. I took a couple of pictures of them and hiked on.  
Cameling Up.
Shortly after KG caught up, we stopped at this nice stream to take a break and fill our water.  When we were getting ready to head on, a group of three women came walking down the trail.  There were a lot of trail junctions here and they had just come from a nearby parking lot.  We discussed the coming rain and I told them that something should be arriving in about 30 minutes or less.  Shortly after that, I felt a drop or two and I updated my forecast as they turned back to end their excursion early.


New umbrella gear
So, the rain started to fall and I rigged my new umbrella to my pack strap.  After a suggestion from KJ, I moved it to the other strap to better protect my belt pack, where I keep my quick grab stuff, like Aqua-mira, snacks, Vitamin I, TP, etc.  I usually have to remove it and stow it in heavy rain, but this might let me keep it where it needs to be most of the time now.  It started raining at 1000 and had stopped by the time we got to Beam Rocks, just before noon, where we ate lunch.  

Bright Trillium showing its stuff
View from Beam Rocks
At a couple places along the trail, there are fossil rocks right in the path way.  This was one of them.  I would see one more during the trip.  It was pretty cool.  


Fossil
The highlights of today's hike would be crossing the PA Turnpike and reaching the halfway point of the trail.  We didn't head down into the Turnpike Shelter, as this was going to be one of our longer days, and I had heard that the water at the shelter is usually very iron filled.  I was taking notes of every stream and shelter pump for a water report I was going to pass on to the LHHT Facebook group, but this shelter's status wouldn't be on the report.  A truck honked at as as we crossed the bridge.  I usually do that myself, when I am the driver and I see a hiker on a foot bridge.  It is fun. 

PA Turnpike
Half done
Trillium
At around 4:30 pm, we came to the shelter sign for the Rt 31 Shelters.  We headed to our Shelter #3 and dropped our gear.  This shelter area is where I had stayed twice before.  The first time was in the early 80s, when we took that nice three day trip south from this point.  I had also come back in the late 90s with my wife, kids, sister and her kids and did an overnighter that mimicked the start of my 1982 hike.  It is a decent shelter area, but we couldn't find Shelter #5.

Rt 31 Shelter
Shelter #3 at Rt 31 Shelter Area
We did our chores and ate our dinner.  I removed the KT tape that I had put on at the beginning of the hike.  My feet were doing really good.  The small blister on my little toe hadn't grown at all and wasn't causing too much pain and the balls of my feet were feeling fine.  I would re-tape in the morning.  I went down to the small stream that was running through the area and soaked my feet a bit in the water.  

The Ranger finally visited us on this evening.  He was pretty much just checking to see if we were still out there (and probably that we were following the rules). We had some good conversation and then he was on his way.

KJ made a fire outside the shelter this night and I was too tired to make one inside, so before long, my hiking midnight would come and I would be curled up in my sleeping bag on my messed up sleeping pad, but my sleep this night would be a little less spinning and a little more dreaming.  

Tomorrow, Seven Springs...

Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6



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