Day 3 - Jordan Junction to Potomac Forks - 63.6 miles
Thieves struck in the middle of the night, the furry kind that are sneaky. At 11:30pm I heard my lidded-bowl fall to the ground. I emerged from the tent to investigate with pepper spray in hand, a whistle, and my headlamp. I found the bowl under the picnic table, grabbed it and went back into the tent. A few hours later I heard more rustling, so I again grabbed the arsenal and headed out into the night. This time my little stove was gone and my pannier was partly unrolled, but still clipped shut. I needed more light so I grabbed the light off of my bike and began searching for my stove. About 10 feet away, I found the stove! At 2:30 am, it's not the best time to be fiddling with hanging food bags, so I just took the pannier and stove into the tent. Thankfully the raccoons left me alone, although I did hear them rustling through remaining items on the picnic table. Lesson learned, hang the food!
I knew it might be difficult to find someone to bike the entire 6-day trek with me, so I was prepared to spend a few days by myself on the trail. Monday, day 3, turned into a solo biking adventure. I headed out of camp ready to face the day.
About 30 miles into the day, a storm started to brew. I had met a couple traveling the same direction as me and we ended up hunkering down behind a tree together for about 1.5 hrs while the storm passed. It's hard to find shelter in a path of trees during a storm. As the rain let up, the three of us set off through puddles toward our respective destinations. When they stopped for their b&b, I still had 24 miles to ride to my campsite.
I pressed on alone. At one of my stops for water, two guys told me that there were trees down ahead and they had tried to clear some of them. They found shelter in the Paw Paw Tunnel during the storm, but had considered jumping in a port-a-John if they hadn't reached the tunnel. After exiting the tunnel they came across this downed tree.
This section of trail is worth a visit just to the Paw Paw Tunnel. You can hike there from a parking lot, but the approach by bike is impressive. Make sure to bring a good light, because it's dark!
Upon exiting the Tunnel, I encountered a father and son who told me there were more downed trees ahead. It was not one or two but felt like at least 10 or more for a 1/4 mile section. Some were so high off the ground that I had to unload everything off of my bike to be able to lift it up and over the trees. While I was stopped to leapfrog my bike and gear through and over the trees, the mosquitoes were gnawing on my skin. This section challenged me to the core as I was tired, hungry, and not prepared to carry my bike along with riding it over 60 miles.
Camp never looked so good! Eating dinner as daylight receded was not my intention. Another storm rolled through at 3:30am. I also made sure to hang my food in case of hungry animals.