We finally got around to resuming our work on Hiking Merit Badge. Tyler and Patrick were on board and ready. I was having hassles nailing down adult leadership. Patrick's father, John, agreed to hike. Tyler's father also showed up to hike, but he was sick, so we suggested he go home and rest up. The weather report was calling for showers and thunderstorms and it might be getting unpleasant, we thought.
With all that in mind, the four of us drove down to Paoli and got ready to hike the Young's Creek Trail. This is a mixed use trail, meaning horses and bicycles also use it, which makes it really nice for hikers. It's wide, well-marked, soft to the foot, and has a lot of tree cover along most of its route. It began raining shortly after we started off down the trail, but the forest canopy over the trail kept us from getting more than spattered.
The rain ceased altogether by the time we emerged onto a road. We had gone maybe two miles and had a mile or so without tree cover to go before slipping back into the forest. It remained overcast and a bit steamy, but no rain fell while we were out in the open. Shortly after resuming our forest path (about 4 1/2 miles or so along), we stopped for lunch. Patrick said grace and I excused myself in order to walk down the trail with my Magic Orange Trowel™, the better to experience The Wonder Of It All (TWOIA); thereafter I applied myself to my ham sandwiches with great gusto. And brown mustard.
At about the three-quarters mark, we stopped so that Tyler and I could change to dry socks. And then the rain came in earnest. We heard it coming before we felt it. We hustled into our raingear and then it was upon us: steady, soaking rain that no trees could keep out. We slogged on, faster, as the trail turned to mud beneath us.
After about a mile and half, the rain stopped. We had about a kilometer left to go, and we made the best time we could, finally slogging back to the trailhead five hours and fifty minutes after leaving it. Then it was heigh-ho and hit the road for home. Tyler and Patrick both handled the day well: no griping and best foot forward, even in the rain. I was impressed. John did better than he thought he would. I'm beat, but happy to have another hike in the record books. Today's ten-miler brings my lifetime hiking total to approximately 1,457 miles (hoping to break 1,500 soon).