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!


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