Saturday, March 24, 2012

March 24, 2012 - Return to Wheeler -or- Hiking in a Thunderstorm

Let me preface this by saying that after the 80% chance of rain for Friday never came to pass, we didn't think anything about a 30% chance of rain on Saturday.

This was a return trip to the same area we hiked on the 4th of this month. The plan was to start further to the west and hike the full outer perimeter of Wheeler Wildlife Refuge to the east, on the far side of I-65.

Chan tries the wood sorrel

Esther also munching on wood sorrel
The hike was going just fine. More wildflowers were out than last time, the sky was full of happy little clouds and we were generally enjoying the day. The kids took turns swinging across the Poison Ivy Ravine of Death on a vine and there was even some wanton skipping.

The first signs were the slightly less happy clouds gathering in the sky.

The second and third signs were these two guys:

Everybody knows that frogs bring the rain

Technically a toad
And then the rain finally did come and we had to turn back just on the other side of the I-65 bridge. We took a short cut back to the bridge and waited out the rain in the shelter of the interstate. Soon enough the sun back out and we were on our way again.

Along the trail we found a body. Not a first for the Refuge...

Chan does what anybody would- poke it with a stick


We walked in the sun for about another forty minutes and then the second wave of rain hit us- with bonus lightning and thunder! With no real shelter and a phone-call forecast of more to come, we toughed it out and just walked it for about forty-five minutes in the rain. The sun came back out for the last twenty minutes of the hike- just in time to see the Decatur half in the rain and half out across the river.

Total mileage for the hike: 14.5 miles. Total time: 6 hours, 15 minutes.

Here's all the pictures from the hike and here's the tracklog.

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