August 24 – August 29

I have not been very diligent with my blog lately and this unplanned zero is giving me a chance to get caught up. I got bit by a wasp on the ankle several times Sunday morning and by the time I stopped for the day it had swollen up my leg to mid calf and down to my toes. The next morning I walked 5 miles into Hamburg and it got much worse. So here I am; sitting around staying off it as much as possible. I’ll head back to the trail tomorrow morning and I hope it will be ok.

When I started hiking this trail I had no idea that one of the most challenging aspects would be insects. Psychologically speaking it is the most difficult aspect of this hike. I’ve heard from many NOBOs that the rocks of PA are tough, and they were right to an extent. Of course now that I think about whether I’d rather have bugs or rocks, it’s a tough choice!

Yes, this is the trail. Welcome to Rocksylvania.

However, getting through this section of the trail is strangely empowering. I’ve been hiking bigger miles (18-20 miles per day) and it feels good.

And I’ve had time to think about the future, and one decision I have committed to is moving back to CA and working of the family farm. It’s something I’ve been digesting, so to speak, since Maine. I love Astoria but I don’t have anywhere to come home to now that my folks sold their place. Sure, I could get my own place but it would take some time and would be expensive for me even working two jobs. If I ever want to get serious about building the tiny home of my dreams it would be in Ukiah. And I can make more money than I would in Astoria.

I do dislike how money tends to make decisions for me, but I really don’t see it like that. I’ve chosen my lifestyle and with that choice come sacrifices and compromises. I do what I have to do in order to live my life the way I want.

Isn’t that what everyone does? To some extent.

So tomorrow morning I’ll get back on the trail after the continental breakfast here at the motel. And I’ll hike through the rocks. And the bugs. And I’ll hike to Duncannon where a package from my generous and lovely friend Cindy will be waiting. And I’ll hike through the changing seasons. Until I am done.

Icing my foot, eating berries. I finally bought a pair of “town” shorts ($5 at Walmart) to wear when I do laundry. A solid move.
Not all shelters are like this one; I stopped in to check it out before heading onward.
Ken looking a bit forlorn at the Allenstown shelter.
The woods are beginning to smell like fallen leaves. I don’t see NOBOs anymore. Often I camp alone. I hope to catch my tramily sometime soon!
When PA is not rocky, it looks like this. Nice trail through hardwood forests. Lovely.
Carrot cake cupcake. Not nearly as good as the carrot cake at Coffee Girl.

Ken enjoying an ice cold spring before a smallish climb up to Catfish tower in NJ.
Packing out pizza from town is always a good idea.

Fungus among us.

August 21 – August 23

August 21 Mile 871.4 Brink Road shelter

Mosey was up at 6am cooking breakfast for Slow n’ Steady and myself. Coffee, pancakes, bacon and eggs. Wonderful. The SOBOs who arrived in the evening, Mary Poppins, Rare (and her very anxious and hungry dog Luna) and one other woman slept in a bit. Mosey drove us up to the trailhead after breakfast and I said goodbye to my new friends. Feeling refreshed and rejuvenated I crushed 15 miles to Culver’s Gap where I sat on some lawn chairs behind a bar next to the lake. The bar was closed and the sun was out. I texted with Skyman for a bit and with full water bottles and a full heart I hiked the last 3.5 miles here to the shelter. A nice day hiking, good trail, minimal rocks and good water. Water is becoming scarce now that summer is almost over and I anticipate water carries in the future. Fortunately the spring here at the shelter is not dry, so I was able to find a secluded spot in the woods behind my tent to strip down and pour a bottle of water over myself and wipe he sweat and dirt off. What luxury!

Most of the day today I listened to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s podcast StarTalk, which put me in a very good mood. What a delightful podcast. Of course my crush on Dr. Tyson probably has something to do with it but hey, whatever gets me down the trail, right?!

Time to read for a bit before the antihistamines kick in; a giant horsefly bit me this morning and I have a welt the size of my hand on the middle of my back. At least it’s not on my face like last time!

Another amazing day on the Appalachian Trail.

Oh, and there was an eclipse. I got to borrow some glasses from a day hiker to take a peek, mostly just to see it.

August 22 Mile 885.3 Mohican Outdoor Center

I spent time this morning thinking about the Native Americans of this region and how the heck they dealt with the mosquitoes and biting flies. I’ll bet they had some remedy, some kind of repellant.

After being bit yesterday by a horsefly the size of my thumb this seemed like a worthwhile topic to ponder. The gnats and mosquitoes were not too bad, until I stopped for the day.

The Mohican Outdoor Center is .3 of a mile off the AT and offers tenting, showers, food, ice cream and they also have a little gear shop. Since I’ve been using one trekking pole and a wooden staff since Connecticut, I happily bought some new trekking poles. Now I match!

I spent 15 minutes in an ice cold shower that felt good on all my bites. Not to mention it was 90 degrees today with very high humidity. I have a towel and the main room here at the center is open all night, so I can take another shower whenever I like. There’s wifi here too which is nice. But I think I’ll wait until town tomorrow to upload this blog.

Upcoming stretches in PA have little water and it will be slow going due to the rocks. Maybe there will be less bugs? One can hope.

I am exhausted after only 14 miles, the heat really takes it out of me. So I’m thinking another cold shower, some antihistamines and bed.

Not to keep on with the bug talk but in the time it took me to set up my tent and organize my gear in it (less than 5 minutes), I sustained over two dozen mosquito bites. I had bug spray on too.

This is my life on the AT. Somehow I’m still laughing at myself and having fun. Tomorrow is a new day.

August 23 Mile 896.1 Delaware Water Gap

After a huge thunderstorm around 9pm last night I slept well and woke to a mud splattered tent. It dried off a bit in the night after the storm passed and I packed up the tent hoping I’d have a chance to wash it off and dry it out when I got to town.

It was a lovely 10 mile hike to town and I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay the night but once I got to the hostel here at The Church of the Mountains and met Pastor Sherry I felt comfortable and happy to be here. I found a hose and water faucet and washed off my tent and rain fly and set both in the sun to dry. I washed some of my clothing in a bucket outside with some soap and hung those out to dry too.

Next stop was the PO where I picked up a package from my friend Anita. Wow! Thank you Anita! I also got some chocolate from my dad and I’ve been eating my way through the afternoon.

DWG is a nice little town and I walked down to the pizza place to get a sub sandwich for dinner. The thing is the size of a baseball bat! I ate half and I’ll save the other half for an hour or so from now.

Feeing ready for the next stretch through the famous Northern PA rocks. Flat trail, but rocky. Heck, I made it through Maine and the Whites so I know it will be fine.

Another amazing day on the AT!

August 17 – August 20

August 17 Mile 815.7 Wildcat shelter

Exhausted. But what a great day. Amazing trail magic, new friends, beautiful trail and lots of miles. Would write more but I have to sleep. It’s going to rain tomorrow and I am so happy because that means no bugs. Yes!

August 18 Mile 827.8 Wawayanda shelter, NJ

I was up early and on the trail by 6am hiking in the rain over rocks. After about 20 minutes I hit good trail and got to the highway in 25 minutes. I walked the 2 miles down into Greenwood Lake and found the cafe Skyman recommended to me and settled in for a good breakfast, external battery charging in the outlet next to my table. I love going out to breakfast, it’s something my dad and I do whenever we can so it’s special to me. And since I knew Skyman had been here I thought of him and when he was here, in this space. So far away now.

After eating I prepared to leave and went to pay my bill. The server/cook told me that a regular had come in and paid for everyone’s breakfast. People never cease to amaze me with their kindness and generosity.

The rest of the day passed and I found myself at the Wawayanda State Park visitors center where I filled up my water bottles and took advantage of the restroom to wash the sweat off myself and rinse out my socks. I got a sticker from the park ranger for my AT Passport, which was nice.

I got here to the shelter and set up my tent when two NOBOs walked up and asked if I had any bug spray they could use. Fortunately, I had several DEET wipes John the trail angle gave me yesterday so I passed them on and the NOBOs were happy.   We chatted about bugs and the trail for a bit and then they were in their way. Fern and Gully got here a bit ago and Milkshake, whom I hiked with yesterday afternoon, should be here later.

It’s raining and there is a severe thunderstorm warning for the area in effect until 9pm. I’m cozy and dry in my tent and should remain that way, whatever the storm brings!

August 19 Mile 844.7 Unionville, NY

Back in New York again; the AT goes in and out of NJ for a few more miles then I’ll say goodbye to New York mid morning tomorrow.

Today I saw my first black bear on the AT; a huge one that ran across the trail in front of me and then kept on through the woods. I love the way they move, a kind of lumbering waddle, bear butt shaking and nose up in the air; it smelled me and turned around to check me out and then kept going.

I also saw a bunny, four king snakes, several herons and a great blue heron and all kinds of other birds. A good day for fauna. I hiked with Milkshake on and off for most of the day, and we are camped here in town with Kanga, Roo and Sherpa.

Another brutal and amazing day on the Appalachian Trail.

August 20 Mile 854.8 Mosey’s Place

It was nice to sleep without my rain fly last night and tris morning when I got up at 5:15 to use the Porta-Potty  in the park there was no dew on my tent at all. Nice. I slept well despite the orange glow from the lights in the park and by 6am I was walking back to the trail.

I made quick work of the 8 or so mile to the New Jersey High Point and by 11am I was drinking a free Pepsi (third soda on the trail) with George the Ridgerunner at the High Point State Park Headquarters. We talked about the eclipse and just he was leaving Mosey pulled up. Mosey is a thru-hiker from 2015 and she opens her home up to hikers. For $25 she’ll offers trail pickup/drop off, laundry, showers, a bunk and a huge breakfast. She’s highly recommended by numerous NOBOs and so far I am very glad to be here. There’s a NOBO named Slow n’ Steady here and looks like some other SOBOs may come in later. It is so nice to be clean and have clean clothes. I don’t think I’ve ever been as smelly as I was when I got here.

Looks like we’ll be getting pizza tonight and I plan on getting a large so I can pack some out tomorrow for lunch.

Another beautiful day on the AT.

August 15 – August 16

August 15 Mile 785.7 Hemlock Springs campsite

Well, I somehow lost the last three days of my blog and I do not have the energy to go backand recount everything yet again. WordPress vexes me sometimes and I wonder if my entries are out there somewhere lost in cyberspace.

Big miles yesterday and today; today I was tired all day due to poor sleep last night at the campground, which was next to a freeway of sorts. But it was nice to see Kanga, Roo and Sherpa there. Roo is walking and talking. Hats off to parents who do things like thru hike with their children.

It was a sweaty, buggy humid day and I cannot wait for cooler weather to come. I know I am a very patient person but on trail sometimes it’s hard. I need to remind myself that I am a patient person. I can wait for all the bugs to die, die die!

Tomorrow morning I’ll walk across the Hudson River and climb up Bear Mt., with views of the NYC skyline. And I think tomorrow is supposed to be clear. Fingers crossed.

Sticky and dirty and grumpy and tired. That about sums up today. And I’m ok with that. Some days are like that and I don’t fight it. Tomorrow is a new day and maybe I’ll find my blog posts. Maybe not.

August 16 Mile 796.1 William Brien Memorial shelter

What a difference a day makes. And what a day! Didn’t sleep too well again but slept in until 5:45am to make up for it. Faulty logic. I could have used another hour but I was excited to get over the Hudson. So much fun! The sun was out but it was still cool and some clouds lingered on the mountains around the river. Lovely. I got to town and decided to walk a mile up to a mini mart and get a hot cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich. A great idea.

I got back to the trail and it wound around a little park next to an inn. I wanted to jump into the small lake that is in the park but I remembered that I am in a public place and I probably would get in trouble. Then I saw the No Swimming sign and was glad I didn’t go in, even with clothes on.

The climb up Bear Mt. was nice due to the excellent quality of trail; granite steps the whole way up, perfectly spaced. I go to the tower and could see the NYC skyline 34 miles away. Pretty cool. Then I looked down and saw my friends Fern and Gully. What a pleasant surprise! We sat in the shade and drank ice cold water from a vending machine for about an hour before heading 7 miles to this shelter. On the way I saw a rattlesnake! Then a black snake and a lizard. Fabulous. I love reptiles and it was nice to see them. The rattlesnake was young, only a couple of rattles. The black snake was a good four feet long. So elegant.

Once I got here I set up my tent and wandered around a bit when I saw a second rattlesnake, this one much bigger than the first. Many rattles, probably about 8. I walked back over to my tent and sat on a rock to cook dinner. 15 minutes later I heard a faint sound just to my right and saw the rattler cruising by me. It went right by my tent and kept going. It was really neat to see one so close that was not agitated; I would never intentionally get close to a snake like that. This was a once in a lifetime kind of encounter. For me anyway.

And now here I am resting in my tent, dirty and sticky, but it’s not so bad. Oh the difference a day makes.

Welcome to New York

August 11 Mile 740.9 Tony’s Deli

I woke up not feeling so great; a bit of a sore throats and such. Once I got going I felt better; the sky was clear and I had a couple of climbs which made me sweat out any bug I may have. Or at least that’s my logic. After about 6.5 miles I saw Atlas and Matchmaker again in their van; they’re a couple from Texas hiking the trail, they started out as NOBOs. Matchmaker quit after 800 miles and now she drives the van to support Atlas. Super nice folks. Gear Rat and Tumbledown are traveling with them too. They’re actually here tonight at the Deli which is nice. I’m waiting on the rest of my tramily although I already ate a massive sandwich about an hour ago. 

Most of the day the trail went up and down, gently at times and the hiking was pleasant. I love hiking through the meadows and even hiked by some cows today! There were some babies; so cute! 

Two more big days and then a zero at the Hudson, that’s the plan. I can’t believe I’m in New York. I want to eat everything and sleep at the same time.

August 8 – August 10

August 8 Mile 694.2 Limestone Spring shelter

Well, I somehow deleted the last few days of this blog, and even this entry; I’m rewriting a lot and so please forgive me for my brevity. It’s been a long day and I am exhausted. 

I left the odd and discombobulated energy of the East Mountain Retreat Center yesterday morning and had a tough day hiking. I had very little energy and took lots of breaks and had a hard time keeping a good pace. I was happy when I finally made it to the Hemlocks shelter, 18 miles down the trail. I set up my tent just as it started to rain. Feeing very PMS-ish, grumpy and yet somehow content I burrowed into my sleeping bag after dinner with my tramily. 

And slept for 10.5 hours.

So today was a great day. I had lots of energy and crushed 14.5 miles into Salisbury, Connecticut in 6.5 hours, which is a good time for me. I went to the bakery and got scones to pack out and picked up a few things at the store. I had some great late afternoon views from a spot called Rand’s View, fields and the mountains I had just climbed in the background. 


August 9 Mile 712.4 Silver Hill Campsite

Ah, today. Got going early and got a great shot of the morning fog down in a valley, small green hills peaking up, the sun through the trees. 

After a few miles I arrived at the hydroelectric dam at the Housatonic river. AWOL’s guide book says there’s an outdoor shower on the side of one of the buildings, a power outlet and a garbage can. Everything a hiker needs. Almost! AWOL was not wrong. I stripped down to sports bra and panties and took a luxurious semi warm shower. I had planned accordingly, so I had travel sized shampoo, conditioner and soap. These are things I never carry, but I wanted to have them for this shower. Small luxuries.

As I was getting ready to leave two NOBOs, Cookie Monster and Dirty Hairy walked up with their dogs and we talked trail for a good half hour. Super nice folks from Alabama. We parted like old friends. 

After a flat stretch close to the river and through some corn fields the trail was up and down for the rest of the day. Exhausting. I was very glad to see the side trail leading here to this lovely campsite. Picnic tables, a bench swing and plenty of tentsites. I was here about 45 minutes when my friends rolled into camp. Tomorrow is Fern’s birthday and I have a small lemon pie for her; I’ll make a little card and give it to her first thing tomorrow. Trail birthdays are very special. 

August 10 Mile 722.3 Kent

Hiked 10 miles here to Kent, just ate a huge ice cream cone and now I have wifi so Incan post this and sync my Fitbit before I do laundry. So much to do! It’s hot and sunny with thunderheads on the horizon. Need to check the weather. Hiker chores.

Tomorrow we hike into New York. 

Boom! Progress is a beautiful thing. This is something I have thought about a lot these last few days. That, and Skyman. And newts. Always the newts.

August 3 – August 5

August 3 Mile 624.1 Kay Woods shelter

I woke up to sunshine and warmth early this morning and packed up my dry tent; a pleasant surprise after the thunderstorm yesterday evening. Once trail joined with the road I took a short cut down to the community center in Dalton for a free shower. I was covered in sweat once again and stood in an ice cold shower for a good 10 minutes. Felt so good! I walked down to the PO and picked up a fantastic care package from my friend Cindy. Thank you Cindy! 

I hung out in a cute little coffee shop charging my devices and ate a huge burger/sub at the sandwich shop next door. I ran into Nil, whom I have not seen since Little Rock Pond shelter. I took off ahead of me and unless he stops for a day I probably won’t see him again. I did see Fern and Gully at the ice cream shop at the end of town, and they’re here at the shelter this evening, along with the Counselor, whom I have not seen since Rutland. My new tramily! 

Tomorrow I’ll hike to Upper Goose Pond shelter which has great swimming and lots of tenting and mattresses in the bunks. What luxury! I’ll find out when I get there. 

August 4 Mile 641.7 Upper Goose Pond Cabin

I rolled ontonthe trail just shy of 6am after a fitful night of sleep in the shelter. Mosquitoes. I wonder when there will be no mosquitoes. No matter what I wear, how much big spray I use, my arms and legs are spotted with bites. 

I tell myself it’s all part of the experience. 

Around noon the thunderstorms started and the rain came. I was prepared although I soon realized it was too hot to wear my raincoat. And so it goes! I felt tired all day and realized that it has been two weeks since I’ve taken a zero. Soon, I tell myself. Maybe in Connecticut, which is coming up soon. 

I got to the cabin, which comes highly recommended from Skyman and others. It has not disappointed. I was greeted by Gus Two Socks, a young man who is the caretaker along with his father. I got a nice little bunk (with a mattress!) upstairs next to a large screened in window. I’m resting now after eating a fat dinner and I plan on putting in my earplugs and watching the trees sway in the breeze until I nod off. 

I’ve been waiting for this moment since 10am.

Oh, once I got settled Gus directed me to the dock on the pond where I  stripped down and spend 20 wonderful minutes floating in the bathtub warm water. Just what I needed. 

A good day, a long day, and exhausting day. Another brutal and amazing day on the Appalachian Trail. 

August 5 Mile 657.7 South Wilcox Mountain Shelter

Woke up to blueberry pancakes and coffee. What a way to start the day. 

It was raining and no one wanted to leave the cabin. I reluctantly put my rain cover on my pack and left. It was a nice day of hiking, Fern and Gully caught up with me and we hiked together for a bit. We found some watermelon trail magic next to a road and stopped for a bit while Mr. Whiskers, Smeller and Counselor caught up. We hiked together to the AT Snack Shack, a little shack on the side of the trail with snacks, a power outlet for charging, cold sodas and books. So cool! We sat at the picnic table and drank Orange Crush and relaxed. 

The rest of the hike to the shelter was lovely, if a bit humid. We’re all looking forward to getting into town tomorrow for laundry, showers and resupply. Sometime in the next couple of days we’ll hike into Connecticut.

Progress. One step at a time.

Typical Massachusetts style AT shelter.
Coffee Girl sticker fading. From my bunk in Upper Goose Pond Cabin.
From left to right: Counselor, Fern, Cougar, Gully, Mr. Whiskers and Smeller. Tramily!
Snack Shack!
All the things a hiker needs. Almost!
Massachusetts has more rare plants and flowers along the AT than any other trail state. This is one of them, I forget the name.

August 1 – August 2

August 1 Mile 599.9 Wilbur Clearing Shelter

What a busy day! I hit the trail around 6:30am and hiked 1.4 miles downhill to Highway 2. I waited at the bus stop for about 10 minutes before the bus came and dropped me off a couple of blocks from the Post Office in Williamstown. It didn’t open until 8:30 so I found an excellent little coffee shop and had an espresso and a muffin. So good! I sat outside with Frankenpack and Ken soaking up the sun. Once I got my package and organized my resupply I waited again for the gear shop across the street to open so I could buy due for my stove. It was nice sitting on a bench, catching up on social media and people watching. Some folks stopped to chat with me, asking about the trail, which direction I was hiking and the like.

Once I had my fuel I went to the bus stop to find that it was about a 50 minute wait for the next bus to the laundry mat. I decided to walk, and after about 10 minutes a van pulled over. Inside were two NOBOs and Rob, a trail angle from Tenessee. He was up here visiting family and was helping Jaws slackpack and One Night Stand get some new shoes. Rob gave me a ride and his contact info, so when I’m down his way he can help me out if I need it. Once again the kindness of strangers had me almost in tears (or maybe it was just the PMS!) and I wished them a good day and hopped out of the van at the laundry mat. There, I ran into Fern and Gully, two SOBOs I met in Rutland. Good to see familiar faces. We caught up and once our laundry was done we walked over to Papa John’s where we got half off pizza for being hikers. We charged our devices, ate, hydrated and relaxed. They headed over to their motel and I wrapped up my leftover pizza and headers back to the trail. After a short but steep climb I made it halfway up Mt. Greylock here to the shelter. It’s gorgeous here, and I have my tent on a platform again, which I really like. Good to be out of the dirt.

And a group of about 10 pre-pubescent boys just showed up and are camping right next to me. Oh boy. It’s going to be an interesting evening! Thank goodness for ear plugs!

August 2 Mile 616.9 Crystal Mountain Campsite

Another luscious green campsite. Seems to be the theme these days. Zero complaints. The NOBOs tell me that I’ll get bored with all the green, maybe. I love it now.

Climbed up to the summit of Greylock this morning. It was warm even at 8am when I got there and O was literally dripping sweat. I got a shower at the small lodge there and was happy to be clean, even if just for a few hours. Actually, my hair smells and feels pretty fantastic now at 7pm so it was worth it.

I walked down the mountain and into a little town called Cheshire, got a sandwich and ice cream which was too much food but oh well. I hiked another 4 miles to the campsite, all the while listening to thunder and wondering if I would pitch my tent in the rain or not. Lucky me; I got here, set up, went to get water and by the time I got into my tent the sky opened up with crazy thunder and lightning. For about an hour it poured and now it’s sunny and clear. At least it’s cooler now.

I’m still having fun, even though I am hiking alone. Every evening in my tent as I write this blog brings an unparalleled sense of accomplishment for having met my goal. Even if my goal is small. I don’t get that feeling in non-hiking life. A distilled kind of contentment; living daily life with simplicity, brings me joy so intense it keeps me up at night. Sometimes I wake up at 1am and just kind of giggle to myself before going back to sleep.


July 29-July 31

July 29 Mile 564.4 Kid Gore Shelter

Today was a fairly uneventful day; I had heard that the weather was going to be stellar but it was kind of overcast and cloudy most of the day. I summited Stratton in the morning and had some great views and met Jean, who lives in an adorable little tiny cabin next to the firetower on he summit. She admired Brandon, as most folks do, and wished me happy hiking. Most of the day the trail was relatively flat with few ups and downs. I got here around 4pm; not bad for a 15 mile day with lots of breaks. Met some very nice weekenders and had social hour at the picnic table before retiring to my tent. I’ve been very tired all day and I’m looking forward to a good night of sleep.

July 30 Mile 578.4 Highway 9 Bennington

Wow! Got a fantastic night of sleep in and woke up at 5am ready to go. Bluebird skies. Summited Glastonbury around 7:30 and climbed the lookout tower. So nice. Met some very kind NOBOs who admired Brandon, whose trail name is now Ken, and that is what I will refer to him as for the duration of this hike.

It was a mostly downhill hike to the highway which is next to a gorgeous little river. I got to the parking lot where I immediately got a ride into town from Katniss, a NOBO with a vehicle. Her and several other NOBOs have this truck which belongs to a hiker who had to leave the trail. They’ve been slack packing for about 200 miles. Slack packing is when you just carry what you need for a day, snacks and water mostly, and then you meet up with the rest of your stuff after a day of hiking. Some hikers think it’s cheating, some love it. I really have no opinion; I think folks should hike however they want to hike.

I got a few snacks at the gas station in town, just a few things to get me through tomorrow and Tuesday morning. I’ll be in Williamstown Tuesday mid morning to get my package. I’ll do my usual; hang out at the laundry mat while my devices charge. There’s a motel where I can get a shower for $5.

I got a ride immediately back to the trail from an older couple who told me, “all our boys are hikers, the AT, CDT, PCT. We know a hiker when we see one! Hop in honey. Do you want some cookies?”

I found a place to pitch my tent next to the river, grabbed my bandana and went down to the river. I found a secluded spot with a little pool and stripped down and sat in the water for about 20 minutes. Divine. Simply divine.

I’ll probably cook dinner here soon and lay in my tent for some reading. Maybe go skinny dipping again. These are both lovely options to have.

I am grateful for today.

July 31 Mile 595.3 Sherman Brook Campsite, MA

I was on the trail by 6am with beautiful weather and another good night of sleep under my belt. It was a rather uneventful day hiking, although I did see my first red spotted newt also known as a red eft. Gorgeous little creature right in the middle of the trail. After taking a photo I moved it off the trail so it wouldn’t get trampled. So cute!

I stopped for a rest at the Vermont/Massachusetts border and chatted with some very friendly NOBOs. My fourth state! It feels good and it feels like progress. I got to the tent site around 3:30, which is early but since I’m so close to town my other option would be stealth camping near the highway and I didn’t fee like sleeping by the road again. So here I am, relaxing and reading. The terrain is changing and for most of the day, every day, I am in the green tunnel. Some of the NOBOs say how boring it is but I don’t feel it is boring. Maybe I’ll feel differently in 1000 miles.

I’m trying hard not to be annoyed with the younger and at times immature hikers with whom I at times have to share camping areas with. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the company of many young hikers but every so often someone with something to prove has to make a big deal of themselves and all I can do to just put my earplugs in and read. Fortunately he’s a good 25 yards away from my tent. I remind myself that he’s probably a bit insecure and away from home for the first time. May he be well.

It’s been a week since I’ve showered. Tomorrow! And laundry! And battery charging! Yay!