When things were going well:
It was a hot and humid day (91 with 95% humidity to be exact) but I am doing a hiking challenge and I wanted to get extra miles. I looked over my park map and found a trail that was just over 9 miles long. It was the Fendley Station Trail at Pocahontas State Park. I knew was going to be a bit of a challenge, but I could handle it. According to my weather app it was supposed to rain later in the afternoon, but I had plenty of time. With my camelback all filled, I was ready to go.
The first 2/3 of the hike were great. I had a good pace going and I got to snap a few wildlife photos along the way. There was an app running on my phone so I could get a rough estimate of how much longer I had. I was really enjoying myself until I realized I was farther from my car than I thought. The app said I had done almost all of the distance I needed, but I was still over 3 miles from my car… I sat down in the grass so I could figure out where I had gone wrong. I mean, I had been following the obvious markers the whole time? What happened?
After a minute I realized that the trail I was on was actually listed as two *separate* trails. Instead of picking a 9 mile trail, I picked one that was almost 14 but broken in two for some reason! I knew I had to change plans. I looked to see if there was a trail near by I could bail out on, but there was nothing. My best option was to walk 3.5 miles along the state park road. I had enough energy left to do it, but I was running out of time…
When things were not going so well:
It started to thunder shortly after I got on the park road. I began walking faster and the thunder got louder. My phone started going off “Closest lightening strike within 3 miles. Seek shelter immediately!”. Great. I’m 3.5 miles from the car and the lightening is 3 miles away. Good planning on my part.
Just before it started raining, I had the sense to try to protect my camera. It wasn’t a great solution, but I took my camelback out of the carrier it was in and shoved my camera in there. Then the sky opened up. Within seconds I was soaked.
Eventually I got to the park’s gift shop and was able to get a plastic bag to shove my camera in. My day was ruined. At least my camera wouldn’t be!
There was still quite a bit more trudging along the roadside until I got the the parking lot. I was thrilled to get to my car without being struck by lightening. My camera survived. My only real injury was some slight ankle pain from walking along an uneven road. The biggest casualty was my ego. In total, I did 12.6 miles that day. From now on, I’m going to check the trail map AND AllTrails.