Grandpa Pete, having joined us for the worst weather of the trip (coupled with some very steep and slippery ascents and descents) gets picked up by his highschool friend Howie to drive back to Maine and catch an early morning plane. The rest of us all pile into a rental car and head off trail for the first time this trip to go to the Ohio wedding of All In’s aunt.
The heavy rains made for some high water. Streams that were normally a trickle to step across had swollen to raging torrents. Cartwheel was crossing a stream holding Mama Bear’s hand; her foot slipped and the current carried her in an arc around Mama Bear (who was tenuously balanced on a rock) and the pull of the water began to suck her under some overhanging rocks while Mama Bear struggled to pull her out. She was almost fully submerged, pack and all, with only her face clear of the water when Mama Bear finally managed to pull her upright. Drenched head to foot, her only comment was “Well that was crazy!” Then she hurried on to catch the rest of us and excitedly recount the story.
Later in the day, after a particularly steep part, All In went back down to carry Grandpa Pete’s pack up a slick half-mile. Only Grandpa Pete was gone. Vanished into thin air. All In went all the way down to the last break spot, then back up to his pack with no sign of his father. After hiking a little while farther up to catch the rest of the family at the summit (and shouting the whole way), he stumbled upon Grandpa Pete rejoining the trail just below the summit. He had apparently decided that a deer trail looked like a drier way up the mountain and had circled out around, somehow passing the descending All In without notice.
After Grandpa Pete was reunited with his fellow hikers, he had his friend pick him up (with dry towels) at a picnic area. They also took a wet dog and some soggy packs over to our rental car, which they had helpfully parked a few miles down the trail (our original expected exit with Grandpa Pete before the downpours). The trail from there on was a steep and raging river. We were wading in ankle to knee deep currents, which Grandpa Pete was probably glad to skip. We reached the rental car, went to a laundry mat to dry all our gear in parallel, then started the drive to Ohio.
Hope the trail wasn’t as wet as Niagara Falls. It never rained like that all my times on the trail. You are all strong and brave. I’m enjoying your tale immensely. Good luck
Once again, Cartwheel had made me laugh out loud! Though I am sure it was scary for both her and Mama Bear.
I recall Grandpa Pete was a Navy pilot so the water must have been no big deal for him.