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[at-l] Section 7H

	At 11:40 am my wife dropped me off at Smith Gap Road.  My wife muttered
something about stupidity and insanity as it was raining slightly and
there was the rumble of distant thunder.  I waited until 12:20 pm for
Joel Urbine, but he never showed.  So I started off in a light rain with
thunder in the distance.  After a while the thunder sounded more ominous
and I picked up my pace hoping to reach Leroy Smith Shelter before
everything broke lose.  For those of you who are not familiar with the
shelter it is on a side trail that goes approximately 100 yds through
trees, then the trail crosses a power line cut.  This is not a cool place
to be with lightning all around you.  I did the 75 yd dash in about 0.3
seconds and the back into the woods.  There is a camping area to the left
and when I reached it the skies real started to open up.  I made a mad
dash to the shelter where I found a thru hiker.  I knew he was a thru
hiker from the aroma.  I did not catch his old trail name but he is
changing it to Cheese Doodle.  Within ten minutes another thru hiker
showed up, by the name of  Garbage Man.  As soon as Garbage Man showed up
the rain become torrential and the lightning was hitting the power line
poles.  I had 45 minutes in the shelter with the two of them (amazingly,
after that time I had lost all sense of smell).  It turns out both of
them had been off of the trail for extended periods of time and Cheese
Doodle was thinking about bailing out at Harper's Ferry.  His dad was
going to meet him there.  Finally the rain slowed down and the sky was
lighter to the west so I gathering together my stuff and was ready to
head out when Eric showed up.  He looked like a drowned rat.  Hiked in
the rain with the lightening flashing all around.  Not very smart.  The
rest of the hike was uneventful and I hit Wind Gap at 4:30.  I used my
cell phone to call my wife and she picked me up.
	After a good nights sleep in my own bed I got up at 5:30 am and loaded
the van with all of my daughter's stuff and left home at 8:00 am heading
towards Northampton MA.  On the way there I crossed the AT twice.  I
cannot even begin to describe how bad MA drivers are.  I managed to get
my daughter unpacked at Smith College and we left the lovely community
around 6:30 and I got home before 11:00pm.
	On Sunday I drove to Fox Gap with plans of hiking to Wind Gap where my
wife would again pick me up.  It had rained the night before so I was
more cautious as this section of the trail is really rocky.  Rain into
four women hiking north.  They warned me about Wolf Rocks.  I should have
listen.  As I started to climb I took a nasty spill and had the wind
knock out of me.  After laying on the cold rock for ten minutes I hike to
the top of the rocks to assess the damage.  My left leg was cut and
bruised, but nothing serious.  My side hurt, but there were no broken
bones.  I pulled out the trail guide and after looking at it I made the
executive decision I bailed out.  It was a good thing that I did because
in a couple of hours I was in real pain.  Ice packs and Vitamin I helped
a lot.  I would wait until the next morning to decide if I would continue
with the hike.
	I slept in on Monday morning.  It had rained some overnight and I was
sore.  So instead of hiking out of Fox Gap to Delaware Water Gap, my wife
and I drove to Delaware Water Gap and parked in the AT parking lot and
walked the .3 mile to the I-80 Bridge where we met John O and his friend
Ron.  Had a great time telling tall tails, etc.  I hope that in the near
future I get to hike with them.  After 30 minutes we parted .  My wife
and I spent about 45 minutes walking through the little town and then we
headed home.
	In a couple of weeks I hope to get back on the trail and finish the HATT
hike.  By then it should be cooler and drier.  I am also looking forward
to the PA Rock Huggers hike at the end of the month.  From personal
experience I can tell you I would much rather hug my wife, than a PA AT

Grey Owl
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