Day 3 Continued... 8/9/15. Vt. Route 9 to Little Pond Mountain.
Once we crossed route 9, I stopped at the trail head to use the bathroom and then we came around by the river and suspension bridge. I stopped here to get water, wash up and have breakfast. Carrying 3 liters of water usually lasted the day. After packing up, we crossed the bridge and walked a little on a nice flat path. It was after this that the trail climbed and it was hard today because I was tired and because it was hot and because my pack was still heavy. Two ladies passed us while we were huffing and puffing up the trail as well as several men who silently passed as I struggled. I however was determined though to make it to the next shelter. It's really the heat that gets to me and then I get down and grumpy. But still I move on and eventually, we catch up to those ladies who are just out walking. They believed that I would go all the way... Why can't I at this point? Because I'm hot and tired and hungry... All the time now.
Isis and I pass split rock which is literally a rock split in two and the trail finally flattens out. That's the other thing that gets me is the ups. I suck at them and by that I mean I suck wind. We are going slow and there is no breeze today. Two more hikers come up behind us... They know our names and not jut our trail names but our real names. :) It's Apple Pie and Greenleaf with the Monkeys in person! I was happy to meet up with them and Isis got her picture taken with the Monkeys too. They move on at this point and I probably will not see them again this trip but ti was nice to see some familiar faces on the trail briefly. Isis and I make an early lunch at Melville Nauheim shelter... More tuna! She's still a little confused and acts out towards me which I am hoping corrects itself as we go and she gets use to the routine.
Back on the trail by noon and shortly after the shelter, I hear something in the woods as does Isis. We stop in our tracks and see the ass end of a bull moose walking away from us... Day made! That literally sustained me for a while as I walked over power lines, into muddy sections, over rocks, and through some bugs. I continued to think about bailing out but I pushed it away saying I was not ready to go back to work yet. We wound our way through the lower trails and then began climbing. Again, this takes a lot out of me. It seemed to take forever for me to get to Porcupine Look Out where there was a nice camp site. We passed it over in favor of getting to Little Pond Mountain our intended stop for the night. As we climbed still, I found a little determination. And once we stopped and found the peak and a place down low to camp, I felt better. There was not much of an out look but what I saw was nice. An older AT thru hiker was also sitting there enjoying some food. We chatted for a while. Isis was not too keen on him and he could not understand why she growled. I however appreciate her guard and tend to now listen to her warnings. 4B as the hiker was called turned out to be a pretty nice man. Isis settled and as we chatted, he told me that day 4 gets easier. That I'll feel stronger and that it gets better. I believed him. Tomorrow was day 4!
Day Four: 8/10/15: Little Pond Mountain to Kid Gore Shelter.
What is it about Day four that makes you stronger? I felt really good today in addition to feeling really hot. Last night, I was joined by Scout and Tumbles who are NoBo's from Tennessee (19 and 16 year old siblings!). They cowboy camped at my site. Tumbles is quite the ball of positive energy. I did not meet them officially until morning as I was too comfortable to get out of my sleeping bag last night. We also had a martin in camp last night causing all kinds of mischief.
After chatting and packing up, we all headed out on the trail. My first stop was to get water and I hoped that it would last me until Goddard Shelter. As I hiked through, I was sucking it down in the humidity. There was a climb to do to get to Goddard. It was a BIG up too with no switchbacks. It kicked my butt and I ran out of water. I met back up with Tumbles and Scout having snacks on the trail. Tumbles shared some water as we were almost to the spring. We talked about what else... Food. There was a real craving for a root beer float and citrus. I had root beer energy gel but that was not the same. As we came to the spring, I cheered! Isis took a huge drink and I filled a cup and drank as well. The water was good and cold. I filled my bladder and was very happy. There was a bit more to climb to the shelter and still to get to the top of Glastonbury mountain but it was no problem. I signed the register at the shelter and then it was up to the tower for lunch (More Tuna!). We were joined by another crowd of NoBo's (Dirty Peanut was one of them I did not get the others names). We stayed put here for an hour and joked around. I did not climb the tower but we had fun anyway playing around some of the do not enter sections (re-forestation, I only stepped in a little).
With the sun being out, I charged up my charger on my solar panel and got enough juice to last through the rain. Once we got moving again, the trail was mine alone. The NoBo's hike fast and long so I let them go. We hiked over rocks and roots, up and down and flat sections. Once we began descending, I was surprised because I thought that we would be climbing. It was welcome! At the junction, we ran into Tumbles and Scout again. Tumbles came down to the shelter with me and took a peanut butter break. After she left, it took a while for others to come. A group of Thru hikers (Rigga, Boston, and Yeti) spoke about a rescue the previous night. Apparently, a little boy had wandered off with no head lamp and they helped find him. This group moved on but I enjoyed their company. Then it was a group of LT hikers my age and some older AT hikers, all men joined me. Plus, Teacher Mon and his crew and eventually the Russians who were rescued. I had taken the lower tent site at Kid Gore so, I was out of everyones way with the dog. But everyone loved Isis. She however was worrying me by not eating enough and being disagreeable when I put food down. We had a nice dinner with everyone and even shared my chocolate and wine. It is always enjoyable to make camp and talk about the day.
I got water for tomorrow as I knew that I would not want to do that in the rain. Once I got back, I tried again to feed Isis and she ate. More importantly, she did not go ape shit on me which I was so happy about. She just ate and curled up. I prepared for the rain by packing what I could in my dry sack and then protecting what I could. It will be a wet walk tomorrow but I'll do it. I sat in my tent and looked over maps and figured I'd modify my 11.2 miles I had planned. I would just have to see how the day went.
I felt really good today and as if I actually belonged out here for the first time. It's a wonderful feeling!
Day 5: 8/11/15: Kid Gore Shelter to Stratton Mountain Base.
I woke up at Kid Gore to the pouring rain and after sitting restless for a while and thinking of other plans for the day, I decided to pack up. We were going to get wet either way. I put my tent at the bottom outside of the dry sack so that maybe things wouldn't be too wet. We began walking to... I didn't even know. I was just going to walk until either I could find a place to camp or I reached my intended stop past Stratton Mountain. I was soaked and the terrain was a river instead of a trail. The scrambles I had to climb were also no fun in the rain but when you're long distance hiking, you just go. You walk and you walk in all kinds of weather. People remained in great spirits as they pass us and wished everyone well and safe travels. I knew that this trip was not going to be all sun shine but this was crazy. It took us forever to get to Story Springs Shelter. The trail was mud, a river, or a muddy river. My boots were soaked through as were my cloths. I was miserable and yet determined. Once I arrived a Story Springs, I thought I would stay there. But after a tough walk around a marsh, a climb up, and arriving at a packed shelter, I had other thoughts. I immediately stripped off what I could to be decent (there was a kid there). I grab my towel to dry off what I could and change into something dry too. Mind you I was in the presence of only men as well. I find a spot to have breakfast after some hikers take off again. There is one really grumpy guy who is intended on staying in his very spot in the middle of the shelter and not budging. Turns out his name is Old Man River and he has nothing nice to say about anyone and he stayed there all day. Another reason to go after breakfast and my first cup of coffee in 5 days! I Loooooved it. And it was perfect for the wet weather. I figured that if I could get tot he base of Stratton Mountain, I'd still be in good shape.
I tired to send a quick text to my family about the resupply on Thursday and that they may want to stay tuned mileage wise. I hoped that the phone would hold out too as I need sun to charge things. So, I turned it off out right. We walked through the rain and I asked Chief (My grandfather in Heaven) to make the rain stop. As we walked, more of the same river trail, the rain did stop after a while and the sun came out. With it, the humidity came back too. As we continued, I swore that I would make it to Stratton Mountain. We passed camp sites and I thought that I would regret passing. We finally emerge onto Kelley Stand Road and I raise my hands in victory! I met up with the Russian father and son (the ones that were rescued) and told them that the first camp site I see, I am dropping. They were going stealth camp up further or make it over the mountain. About 100 feet up the trail from the road, A CAMP SITE. Perfect and it's big too. I was able to string up a line to dry cloths and set up my tent right away to dry that out. Everything was wet it seemed.
Groups were passing by coming off the mountain. Looked like school or camp groups mostly. There were some rumbles of thunder in the area and a warned a father daughter group going up but as brushed off as they said it was a truck and not thunder. Whatever... Good luck. Then, as I was setting up for dinner, who should appear... Rigga, Boston, and Yeti. They are exhausted from the rain as well and only make it from Story Springs to here. They decided to join me for the night and it was nice to have the company. There were plenty of jokes and as Yeti began cooking, the rain came back (apparently, that is his talent). So, into our tents we go. The rain stops but no one really moves. We are also joined later by Atlas and Little Bear. I told you the camp site was big.
Division Two... Completed.