Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Morgan Stewart Shelter 31Aug05 Day 76

I finally caught up with Team Foo. I managed to thumb a ride from a jaguar. Only one of my bounce boxes made it to Pawling. I am concerned that the other one is either lost in transit or just slow. I was sitting at the train station when they got off. Hows that for timing. Bad Cheese opted to stay another day with friends so we are mostly all here. I ended the day with 16 miles. The weather was quite sketchy today. It was dreary and overcast, then scattered showersm then very windy, the sun came out briefly making it hot and humid and now we are back to scattered showers.

I forgot to get fuel while in Kent then couldn't find any in Pawling. So tonight I decided to eat a cold supper to save fuel. I will run into another town with Steiner when she picks up her main. I did get rid of a little bit of weight from my pack in the form of old maps, extra paper and my crocs. I think I have finally gotten used to the Keens as I have not had a blister in a while.

I passes the Dover oak tree today. It is supposedly 300 years old and has a girth greater than 20 feet. It was right beside the road and it was massive. I tried to take a picture but I don't think it will show the scale correctly.

I was attacked by more deerfly today. In retaliation, I managed to kill about 2 or 3 of them. They are vicious little suckers. This shelter has quite a few skeeters that a mosquito coil is not stopping. Bouie is making a fire to try to smoke them away. Hope it helps. I will have to pull out the anti-itch cream.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wiley Shelter 30Aug05 Day 75

Welcome to New York! Five states out of 14 done. Only 9 more states. I wasn't going to push for NY when i woke up to rain but after 8 miles in scattered rain, I was mostly wet so what was 4 more miles. Tomorrow I have about 8 miles to the road then 3 miles to hitch into Pawling. I hope I have not missed Team Foo when they leave NYC or I may never catch up to them. I could have caught them if I wasn't so lazy. But I did do some writing so I can claim I was productive. I will try to get an early start tomorrow. According to the register, HeeHaw claims it is flat then down to the road. Hopefully this is true and it stops raining. I should be able to move fast then.

I was accosted by two deerfly upon entering NY. They are hard to get rid off and kept trying to bite me in places I couldn't easily reach, especially with a pack on and poles in my hands. I got bit several times behind my shoulders by the first deerfly, I managed to successfully avoid the second one. They seem to know just were to land and they are hard to get rid of as they follow you even if you try to run. I hope I don't have any more meetings with deerfly. I am also now in tick country as evidenced by the large poster attached to the outside of the shelter. Hope I don't encounter any of those either.


Monday, August 29, 2005

Mt Algo Lean-to 29Aug05 Day73

Today was a wet day mostly from yesterdays rain. The ground was slippery and the leaves dripped on me. My rainfly was still wet this morning as were most of the things I had hung in the shelter to dry. It made for miserable walking to the point that I got off at Cornwall Bridge on CT4, got a nice deli sandwich then hitched down to Kent on CT341. I yellow-blazed about 11 mmiles to try to catch up, resupplied, hit the first shelter then stopped. I did jerry-rig an outdoor shower using my rainfly and platypus. It felt good to be clean but boy was that water cold. Assuming I get nice weather tomorrow, I should be able to get out of Connecticut and maybe make it to Pawling, NY. I have to go to the post office and deal with my wayward bounce box so either I will stay just outside of town or I will stay in town. I will also main out my old maps and if there is internet, I will try to upload more entries.

The mosquitos have been eating at me for the last two nights at the lean-tos. There are so few of them that I don't want to put DEET on but there are enough of then that they are eating me and driving me nuts. It has also been a little too warm to stay in my sleeping bag and they can bite me through the silk liner.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Pine Swamp Lean-to 28Aug05 Day 73

I found out I did more than the suspected 22 miles yeasterday. Mostly because I only did 5 miles today. I woke up to overcast skies but didn't think about it as I was breaking down camp. I had just packed away my sleeping bag and pad when it started to sprinkle. Instead of finishing the break down, I pulled the rain fly back in place and decided to wait it out.It was 7:00 and I lay there until 1:00. I had very little room to move, nothing soft to lay on and I finished reading my book so I tried napping but to no avail. The rain finally let up and everything was covered in fine beach sand. I am never camping out on a beach again. I at least put in 5-6 miles to the next lean-to. Now my rainfly is drying out and I wiped the sand off my piece of tyvek. Only problem is that there seems to be many mosquitos here as it is located next to a swamp. It has also started raining again but seems to be just a short sprinkle. I am alone here unlike when I arrived, there must have been about 20 people here. I am glad they moved on. They were very noisy and were all over the place. I had aldo just taken a tumble to my arm and hip are still hurting.

I just finished reading "The Collection" by Bentley Little. It is a collection, duh, of short stories mostly in the horror genre. I expected then to be chills down the back bone scary but mostly they were about what if something is taken too far, or what would you do if x happened. It made for good reading, but I am now without a book. This may be a good thing. I think I am reading too much and I really don't want to carry the weight.

Tomorrow, if the weather is nice, I will push to resupply in Kent, which is about 10 miles away then push to the next lean-to, another 5 miles, I think. That would put me 3 miles from NY and maybe I can have a chance of catching up to some of the group. If it is raining, I may just stay here, or only go to the next shelter.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Falls Village 27Aug05 Day 72

I am now in Connecticut. I should be here only about 2 days if even. Then on to NY. I am camped on the side of a river. I tried to bivy my hammock, as I have done before long ago, but for some reason it didn't work out. I didn't know if my air mattress is too big or my poles were set too high but it just didn't work. I am using my hammock rain fly as a roof but I don't think it will rain. It just makes me feel better.

I have not yet caught up to the rest of the people I was hiking with. I found out that lst night they camped out on a field so I think I am catching up, slowly. I don't think I will catch them before Pawling NY which is where they will catch the commuter rail into NYC. I will zero there then move slowly after that so they can catch me.

So much for going to bed early. I did 22 miles today and got to the beach by 6:00. This should have given me plenty of time to eat, clean up, set up then go to bed. If only the hammock hadn't given me such trouble. I wasted the rest of daylight trying to figure it out then gave up and set up the rainfly in the dark. Now I am writing in my journal then I am going to sleep.


Friday, August 26, 2005

The Hemlocks Shelter 26Aug05 Day 71

I am by myself tonight. I had to get my sleeping bag which meant I would fall behind but htere is also no one else at this shelter. Neither nobos nor sobos. I have forgotten how scary it can be being out here alone. While it CAN be scary, I am not letting it get to me. I am also getting some time alone which is nice. I got into the shelter at 4:00 and decided not to move on. I want to catch up but I was also tired so I set up and had a two hour nap. It was nice and I hope it doesn't affect my sleep tonight. I will try to get an early start tomorrow and try to push out more than they did. Turns out Team Foo (as we are now calling ourselves) only made it here last night. So if I had pushed on I would have started catching them.

Turns out I am in Bear country, or at least there have been black bear sightings and issues in this area. I opted to hang my food up in a tree tonight rather than on the mouse hangers that are in the shelter. I managed to actually hang it in between two trees and get it 8 feet in the air. I am sure it will be fine but bears are cunning when it comes to food.

A mouse just ran by on my sleeping platform. Tonight will be fun. I think I am moving up higher into the shelter too as I can hear something outside. Not that it can't get to me but I think I will feel better up in the loft.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dalton 25Aug05 Day 70

Back in Dalton again from Great Barrington. I was so cold last night I don't think I slept at all. I will be getting my sleeping bag back tomorrow so that will help things. Although I still have a slow leak in my air mattress and have not been able to fix it. I tried once but could not find it. Everyone went on ahead. I am not sure I will catch them before they go to NYC. I am not sure I will go to NYC as I don't think I can afford the expence. It will just give me an excuse to spend money I don't have. I will do as many miles as I can and try to catch up to Bad Cheese. She is opting to skip NYC also so she can finish her school essays.

I called my parents while I was here. It was good to talk to them. They are doing well and my mother had me laughing hysterically about the cats' antics. I miss my cats a lot. They are quite the characters.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Tom Leonard Lean-to 24Aug05 Day 69

The bacon and pancakes this morning were great. A nice start to a long day. This was a 21-ish mile day with a late start. the first 7 miles flew by in 2.5 hours but the rest went slower. I managed to get here at 6:30. I am noticing that the sun is setting sooner. So we have less daylight. Although it seems that I am able to move faster, uphill still slows me down a lot and reduces me to hard breathing. In order for us to finish by Thanksgiving, we will have to average about 17 miles a day. We will be doing 20's to get to NYC then take a zero and try five more days of 20's.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Upper Goose Pond Cabin 23Aug05 Day 68

it is interesting how zero days just spontaneously occur or hit critical mass. Most of us slept in this morning then we sat around enjoying pancakes then the 6 peopson hearts came out. At this point we were on te edge of a zero and away it went. I also got more rules from Trip about 6 person hearts which makes the game much more interesting. Forgot to ask him about the extra cards. We just remove all the 2's except the 2 of clubs and remove a 3 of clubs. That gives us an even breakdown of cards although we are short two points. We are addicted to playing this game.

There is a canoe here at the pond and we had a chance to take it out, so Rooster and I went for a quick tour of the pond. It was very peaceful and relaxing. No on e welse went out. The sun was in our eyes on the way back but it was still a nice time.

We had the opportunity to go into town as the caretaker was going so we got pizza and pot pies for supper. It was great. We also picked up eggs and bacon to add to breakfast. Can't wait.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Upper Goose Pond Cabin 22Aug05 Day 67

I got up early this morning which was a surprise considering my late bed time. A few of us went to the post office, my bounce box had not arrived so I set up a forward to Pawling NY. After that, we got a bit of a late start. I still did the 20 something miles. I am hurting. I don't think I should be doing such big days right after a zero. We had heard such great things about this cabin so we just had to stop in. On the way we stopped at a u-pick blueberry farm and gorged ourselves on absolute amazing blueberries. We also picked some to bring to the cabin as the caretaker makes pancakes for breakfast and will add the blueberries to the batter.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Dalton 21Aug05 Day 66

We woke up this morning to some rain so we went back to sleep. Later on, Rob from the Bird Cage came over and picked us up. He felt bad he didn't have room for us so he made room. It was really nice as we got a shower and laundry. I got a chance to catch up with Puck and Moose Charmer. Puck had some problems with having to jump from a moving vehicle. He was in good shape, just sore and with road rash. Rob took a bunch of us to a swimming hole. HeeHaw and Bouie jumped off the road swing. The water was quite cold. I am glad I opted to not go swimming. Later that night, Rob tooka group of us to listen to his band. It was a great treat to listen to live music. Puck gave me a dancing lesson, the 2-step. I was also hit on by Capt Morgan, a nobo who was travelling with Reality Check. I ended up staying up until 1:30 in the morning talking with Puck, Rob, Reality Check, Capt Morgan(who went to bed early), and Trip. Reality Check and Capt Morgan tried to convince me to hike north with them. They are also talking about doing the PCT next April. That would be so much fun to do after this but I don't think I could afford to go that soon nor do I think I would want to go so soon after doing the AT.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Dalton 20Aug05 Day 65

What a great day. I did about 8 miles in 2h45min in the morning then another 8 point something miles in 2h30min. And that was after a resupply. I managed to do a resupply from a hiker box and take a 5 hour break in town with everyone. Although it threatened to rain most of the day, it was good hiking weather as it was mostly cool/ The humidity did come in later in the day and made hiking harder but I still banged out the miles. I did end up with a soggy pack and backside. At first I thought I wasjust sweating a lot, but later I found out my other platypus spung a leak. Not only is it leaking by the hose attackment, it is also leaking from the top zip on one side. Replacing this bag should prove interesting, it is part of my gravity filtration system and is a special bag. I don't know if they are made anymore or if stores would carry them.

We seem to have just missed Mt. Squid. We saw him driving around but he didn't stop to talk or pick us up. This is fine as we really don't need road support, especially in a small town where the trail follows tge route to our hostel location. We are staying on the porch os someones house. This means free. Free is always good. We were supposed to stay at the Bird Cage place but he was full. Too bad because I wanted to do laundry at least and another shower would have been very nice. Tomorrow will be a slack day. Mostly because a couple of us need to make it to the post office Monday morning.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Mt Greylock 19Aug05 Day 64

What a day. We were supposed to shoot for 24 miles to make up for the slacking we did but we fell short by about 3.5 miles. Instead, we ended up staying on top of Mt Greylock. We got nice hot showers and we dried some of our clothes by the fireplace. All in all a very nice day. We stopped at the grocery store in North Adams to grab a quick bite and at least one person had to resupply. I will wait until Dalton to resupply. We still have not caught up to Bad Cheese but at least Steiner should be able to make the post office tomorrow before it closes. From here, Dalton is about 17 miles and we should be able to make that.

Today marks the start of a new state, Massachusetts. I think if also marks 600 miles but no one is sure. We were also presented with Mt Greylock, our first significant climb in several days, if not longer. We flew up the side at 2 miles per hour and made very good time. That is until we hit this really sharp turn. There was a trail register that distracted us and several of us took the wrong trail down and lost some time. Just one more adventure. I did run out of water on the way up due to setting my pack down on my mouth piece. I really should find a way to shorten the hose, otherwise I should trim it to a more manageable length. I will see what I can do about it in Dalton. I will also try to fix the slow leak in my air mattress. I wake up several times and find I need to add air more frequently.

I had my butt handed to me again in hearts. I didn't even try to get any hearts and still I lost, quite spectacularly too. One day I will beat them.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Congdon Shelter 18Aug05 Day 63

Woke up this morning in a small covered bridge replica in a park. It was great. There was a duck in the pond and deer out in the field. We walked over to the diner for breakfast then hit the post office. My other bounce box was not in yet so I had nothing. We then split up and explored town. Bennington has yellow bikes for people to use to get around town. Steiner and I borrowed two and explored around while Bouie and HeeHAw hit the music shops. Rooster took a nap. I stopped into a pottery shop and we oogled the wares. They had some really nice things. I bought a little something and had it shipped to a friend. I probably shouldn't have but I couldn't resist. It was in the seconds bin so it was cheaper. Bouie is trying to find a violin or mandolin for the trail. A new mandolin is 150$ but he is sure he can find one cheaper. I think we may need to start a fund for him.

Today was a rather lazy day. We did the 4.2 miles in to the shelter. The trail crew was there cleaning up and had just built a new fire pit. So we decided to stay and christen the fire pit. We then had a rousing game of hearts. I lost miserably after trying three times to shoot the moon. Mostly I was forced into it after acquiring the queen. Whatever. It was a lot of fun and justified carrying the cards.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Bennington 17Aug05 Day 62

It is very nice to be able to consistently walk 2 miles per hour. It makes the day more predictable when I know when I will arrive at a sight location. I made good time during the day. I also went up the Glasenbury fire tower and got some good views.

We opted to go into town as a group as we had heard there was a movie theater in town. We watched "The Wedding Crashers" then hit McDonalds for supper. Since Steiner and I got a ride separately from the boys, they came through town at a different point. They found us a good steath camping spot in town. We ended up sleeping in the twon park in a small covered bridge. We fit 4 people in and Bouie slept in the Gazebo. We were so close to the road and very visible but it was free. The town is looking to be more hiker friendly. Hope they don't regret it later.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stony Brook Lean-to 16Aug05 Day 61

We finally got out of town after our unexpected zero day. it was a bit of a late start but most of did the ~20 miles from town to here. Bad Cheese opted to camp on the other side of Stratton rather than do the extra 3.6 miles. The shelter is very full with 8 people with HeeHaw camping out. Bouie and Rooster had to stay in the shelter as they have no tent until Bennington. This shelter has an annoying feature of two poles in the middle of the shelter. We could have either fit another person in here or we could have fit more comfortably.

Toothfairy is here and she is reading out loud from a book called "Not So Funny When it Happened" and the stories are quite funny.

Most of us stopped for a swim at Stratton Pond. The water was cool with a warm layer on top. Although we all hopped in, we didn't stay in for long. Hunger got the better of us so we sat in the sun, dried off and ate lunch.

The climb up Stratton mountain was good until I got close to the summit, then it seemed to go on for quite some time. The weather, which was supposed to be nice, took a turn for the worse. Mostly it sprinkled off and on. I skipped the climb up the fire tower because of the weather and because I was quite tired. I had already been up the tower so I felt I wasn't missing anything. The empty cooler of trail magic was a disappointment though. We stopped for a rest then had much trouble moving afterwards. Seems we have our walking muscles but not our walking joints.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Manchester Center 15Aug05 Day 60

Today was a rather unexpected zero day. One of my bounce boxes didn't arrive but the important one did. I cleaned out my pack again and divided my box into stuff I may need and stuff I no longer need. I finally parted with the old stove and water filter. I also received a silk bag liner to sleeo in as my bag is too warm and I was starting to worry about its cleanliness. At least now I can sleep in the liner on top of my bag and not worry about bugs or stares. I also mailed out more journal entries. I typed some of them in the other day to help as I had time. While at the post office, I bumped into Frakenfeet and Toothfairy. It was nice to catch up with them. They were both in great spirits which is good to see on the trail.

For supper, we all had cheap, store brand pizza and the best corn ever. I find I am appreciating things more now that I can't have then when I want them.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Manchester Center 14Aug05 Day 59

The 2.5 mile hike down off Bromley went very fast. The terrain was very nice and the first section was on a green circle ski hill. Steiner was waiting in the parking area. She night hiked to catch up to us only to find us asleep at 7:00 on top of Bromley. We thought she was behind us so we slept in. We got into town and went to the outfitter. I picked up a lecan sporf and got rid of the heavy metal one I was carrying. I also picked up two lightweight tent pegs in case I ever have to bivy with my hammock. I promised Steiner I would show her how to do it so I will set it up at least once. The tyvek sheet will come in handy for this. I did forget to get fuel so I will have to remember to do it when I go to the post tomorrow.

We got lucky and managed to find some people who where willing to put us up for the night. It ended up being 6 of us total as Bouie, Rooster and HeeHaw also were in town today. We also, finally, met the SoboHobos. I have been seeing their entries in the registers so it was fun to finally meet them. They are a lot of fun and very funny. I hope we catch up to them again and stay with them for a while.

The blister on my heel is very big but doesn't hurt at all. The one between my toes hurts but only when I curl my toes. My feet are doing well otherwise dispite the breaking in of my footwear.


Manchester Update

I am in Manchester center now. Bad Cheese, Steiner and I are in town until tomorrow. We have to stay at least overnight as there are some things at the post office we have to pick up. I will have to go through my bounce boxes and sort things out. There are things in the box that I am sure I will have no need of now especially if I can't remember what I put in the box. I will sort things down and just maintain one bounce box. The next town on the itinerary may be North Adams in Massachusetts. I am in better shape now than when I started and I can see that I am moving faster. Although I seemed to get a slow start, I think things will be better from now on. The shoe break in seems to be going okay now and I find I am flying along the trail nicely now even with some blisters. My knees still give me some problems from time to time. Most of it may just be stiffness but I may be overextending myself on some sections of the trail. I did blast my way up 2.5 miles of mountain in 1 hour. Great time, sore knees, wonderful sunset view. In all a wonderful time.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Bromley Ski Patrol Hut 13Aug05 Day 58

This warming hut is much nicer that the one on Sugarloaf. It is much smaller, cleaner and not so creepy. On top of that, it also has a fire tower, I really wanted to sleep up there but the weather lookes threatening, at least the sunset was great. I will try to get up to catch the meteor shower but it is really cloudy out so that may not happen. I will try for sunrise tomorrow morning. Although it is wasm in the hut, it is cool outside and for the most part, all of the windows are open. There are quite a few nobos here with several sleeping out either on the tower or just on the lawn.

After doing 22 miles yesterday, I didn't know if I would be able to do the 13ish miles to Bromley today. I also awoke to a new and even bigger blister on my left heel right next to the smaller one from before. I wrapped it and taped it up and it really wasnt so bad. The bad part was either stepping on a rock badly or dying from the heat and humidity. I was completely wiped out from the humidity and was really dragging for most of the day. The last 2.5 miles up to Bromley did have me showing better energy. Bad Cheese and I stopped for a break by a water pump. So we ate, drank, peed then filled up on water. I was carrying 4L extra weight and I did the 2.5 miles in just over an hour. I was really proud of myself and it is times like these that I see the progress my muscles are making. Tomorrow is a nice easy day so I can rest my feet.


Friday, August 12, 2005

Long Big Branch Lean-to 12Aug05 Day 57

Today was a great day yet at the same time it also sucked in ways. I stopped at the gorge and decided to go swimming as we had been told there was excellent swimmng to be had. I may not have stopped if Rooster hadn't already been swimming. The swimming was great and the water was cool enough to be refreshing. I then enjoyed lunch in the sun while drying off. Lunch was a special treat as earlier I had picked up a coke and apple at a trail magic site. Since it was early in the morning and I had just eaten, I decided to just shove it in my pack. After swimming I opened up my pack to that forgotten treasure and was very happy. The trail magic was palced at that specific spot in the trail to welcome/congradulate people on their 500 mile mark. Either for the 500 they had left of that they had just completed.

After the swimming, I had a close encounter of the stinging nettle kind. I stumbled and almost fell into a large patch of it. Luckily I caught myself but I did get a few hairs caught in my hand and leg. Boy does that stuff sting. Eventually the stinging stopped but the mosquitoes and black flies would not let up. Then the rain started to move in. After deciding to push on another 8 miles we cam eto a parking area where Mt. Squid was waiting for us. He is harmless but getting very annoying as he follows us around. He got off the trail because he was bored with it yet he wants to still enjoy the trail experience. He seems to have latched on to our group for some strange reason. If he is still following us around after MAnchester Center we will have to do something about it.

We pulled into the shelter at 9:00. Night hiking in the rain is not fun but was quite the experience. Bad Cheese and I basically set up for the night, ate a cucumber we had given to us for supper then went to bed. We tried to keep the noise down but that is always hard to do. At least we kept it down time-wise to only 30 minutes. I slept poorly as we had done 22 miles and everything hurt. It also didn't help that the guy beside me got up twice during the night to pee then actually got up at 5:00 and was shining his head lamp everywhere. It almost seemed he was trying to make as much noise as possible as payback for our late night entry. He also knocked my crocs and socks on the ground and let them there all night. At least I have dry wools but that was very annoying. I couldn't say anything either as that would not have helped things.

I felt that by getting away from city life that I could get down to basics. Eat, sleep, walk. But it seems that you really can't get away from it all as there are still people to deal with and in interacting, everything is still there. Although most people I hae met have been wonderful people, there have been a few who are jerks. Mostly they are faceless people who make lots of noise in the shelter while you are sleeping or they try to tell you haw to do something as you are abviously doing it wrong. Sometimes it is a guy being condescending towards us women as if they think we either can't do it or shouldn't be here. In the end, trail like can be like city life except with fewer luxuries, that you cherish more fiercely.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Super Secret Shelter 11Aug05 Day 56

I have a new blister almost right between my toes. Otherwise, the other bilsters are getting better and things seem to be going well. We are a large group tonight at a private shelter about 1 mile from the Govenor Clements shelter, which was full of Boy Scouts who should NOT have been staying in the shelter. We are six sobos and about 10 nobos, most of which rolled in rather late. They are very nice. There was a guitar , a mandolin and a penny whistle. Bouie was thrilled to get his hands on the guitar. We found out from the nobos that there are a few sobos ahead of us that are giving sobos a bad rep. We are a mush better crowd and they were happy to meet us.

Today was a 4000 footer day. Our first since the whites. Killington was really nice and we went up to the summit where we could ride the gondola down for free to the Killington resort. Since Steiner and I arrived late at 4:00 we could not partake in the water park wince the gondola stopped running at 5:00. Bouie, Rooster and HeeHaw did manage to partake in the water park. Lucky guys. Someone even gave them 20@ so essentially go tin for free.

One of the nobos' trail name is Linux which sparked off a great geek conversation. I made someone very happy when I told them I was running Gentoo. He is a developer for Gentoo. So far, these are the coolest nobos I have met. The music is still going and they passed around pop with hooch for everyone to enjoy. We got ice cream from the owners of the private shelter and passed that around for everyone to enjoy.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Long Trail Inn - Killington 10Aug05 Day 55

Today was a long day. It pegged in at 17.5 miles. The last 5.5 miles were done after a 2 hour break consisting of a post office run and a resupply. I then ditched pack weight and did a semi-slack. It took me 2.5 hours. I could have done it faster but the last mile just killed me. I felt like I had hit a wall. My feet suddenly hurt and my legs disagreed with me. I think it was a few miles tomany. At least tomorrow is only 11 miles. I took some time to do a really good stretch set and I will try to remember to do one in the morning and night from now on. My feet are tender and I think much of that is due to the long mile day rather than the footwear. I will try to give them a chance to heal up some. I would like to keep hiking with Steiner and Bad Cheese. This will also put me in Manchester Center Sunday afternoon. I think that my pack will be a little on the heavy side as I will be carrying 3.5 days of food. I think I will have a gorge fest for supper. I really have not had much of a trail appetite still but it has been very hot the last few days which may be affecting my appetite level. It is certainly affecting my energy level by sucking it right out of me. Puck has it right when he decided to do night hiking. It is not only cooler but there are almost no bugs.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Lookout 9Aug05 Day 54

Some where south of Wintturi Shelter.

Although I have some blistering on my feet, today was a good day. I switched out to my crocs just to give my feet some rest. I did get trail magic in the form of a cooler filled with cold sodas. There were also chocolate bars available for snacking on. It came at just the right point as I had crossed a somewhat large open field in full sun. So I was very hot and thirsty. I also crossed a field with cows in it. Shortly thereafter I saw a turkey and once I got to the lookout, I caught an excellent sunset. The lookout is a small cabin with a viewing platform on the roof that offers 360 degree viewing. Except for a few trees impeding the sunset it was worth the hike up. Since there is no water here, I hulled up 4L of water which equates to about 8lbs of extra weight on top of my alsmost 30lbs. Although I was packing more weight, I felt good and was moving quite well. I could feel my shoulders starting to ache but I only had to go 2.6 miles.

The last 70-80 miles have been quite dry. Many of the streams that feed the shelters are either mud puddles or are just slow trickles of water. There have been some nice streams but they are close to roads which means no camping. I am not sure it htere is a drought in the area or not but it makes for somewhat unreliable water sources. I have heard this is something we will have to sontend with in the south.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Thistle Hill Shelter 8Aug05 Day 53

I made it to the post office this morning and posted out a few items to Rutland. My pack feels better now. I also made it to the optician who was kind enough to put in a pad for my missing one and replaced the other pad which was rather nasty. Since the hardware store was open, I filled up on fuel. I also asled if they had Tyvek sheeting that I could use as a ground sheet. They had some and just let me take a 7 foot section. This now lets me do two things, I can cowboy camp if I think the weather and bugs will be good. If not, I can set up my hammock on the ground if there are no good trees. More likely, I will sleep better on my stomach on the ground rather than on my back in the air. Seems a waste of getting a hammock if I end up setting it up on the ground but at least I have the option available.

I have my first set of blisters since Caratunk (from badly fitting sandals and road walking). So today I did about 15 miles in new footwear. I got 2 blisters on one foot and a rubbed point on the other foot. Tomorrow will be a 12 mile day to a shelter with better water. This shelter had a very dry stream bed. It was a slow trickle with some pools of water. At least the water was very good and cold. I am actually exhausted from the walk today. The hills were like rollercoasters. On some downhill sections, I actually jogged down and now my leg bones hurt from the impacts. I hope I will be okay tomorrow. I am atleast in a new state, Vermont, and feel like I am making progress. Two down and only twelve to go. I seem to be moving faster, although the new footwear will slow me down a bit.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Hanover 7Aug05 Day 52

Last night a few of us just camped out near the trail as there are no hostels in town. This is a good way to save money. Hanover is a very nice town and one of the biggest towns so far on the trail. It is actually very reminiscent of Providence as there is Dartmouth University within town. There is also a co-op store that is like Eastside Marketplace. This would be a nice place to stay awhile. After living in Providence awhile, I now think that small college towns are great. There is always something happening in town. Seems that there was a Shriner's parade yesterday that we had just missed.

I managed to get to EMS courtesy of Mt. Squid who was in town with his truck. I had to get footwear as not only were the seams breaking but the part under the sole was badly cracked. I think that the boots should have been able to handle more than the 400 miles they have seen. I may have to bring them back to REI. I decided to go with Keen sandals as they fit nicely and gave me lots of toe expansion room. I hope they work out. There is another EMS about 100 miles away if I do have problems. My pack is also down to 30lbs again. I do not have a scale to verify but I did remove more unused items and have only 3 days of food. Tomorrow I will have to hit the post office to mail out. Also, since there is an optician across the street, I will try to remember to get my glasses fixed. One of the nose pads popped off at some point and although it doesn't really hurt, it does bother me sometimes when I am really sweaty. Hopefully it won't be a problem for them to fix it.

I thinkthat tomorrow will be a somewhat short mileage day. I am not sure when I will be leaving town and I will have new footwear on so it is best to just take my time, rest often and keep an eye on my feet. If all is well, I will start pushing more.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Dartmouth Update

So I am now on the edge of changing states. I am currently in New Hampshire and will be in Vermont soon. As a tribute to this a bunch of us (6) went out and enjoyed a Vermonster. It is a huge bucket of Ben and Jerry's ice cream for those of you not in the know. I think I will be sick. We then went out for supper after this great ordeal (read big mistake). Actually it was a lot of fun but the mint ice cream mixed badly with the cherry ice cream.

I am now close enough for some of you to come visit me. If you feel like coming up and joining me in the woods for an overnight, let me know and I will see what can be arranged. I really have limited internet access so make sure you plan well in advance. Plan for something in Massachusetts as I will be there in about 10 days-ish. I updated the Itinerary on the side so that may give you an idea of how fast (slow) I am moving. I may start to speed up on the "flatter" terrain. They are calling them mountains but I am not sure where they got this definition when compared to the White Mountains we have been training on.


Hanover 6Aug05 Day51

2 nights and 3 days to Hanover from Glencliff. I had way too much food for this trip. I actually pegged in at 40lbs with food, water and snacks. It was the snacks and 3L of water that pushed me over but because of that I am re-evaluating my gear again and am looking to purge more weight. This time I will replace a few items but mostly I will just get rid of more stuff that I am not using or don't need.

I hit town at 4:00 today after pulling a 17 mile day. My feet were sore and I have come to the conclusion that I need new footwear. My boots are just not wide enough or big enough to accomodate my feet. They are also falling apart after only 430-ish miles. I thought/hoped they would last longer than that but they haven't. There is an EMS on the next town over so I will go there tomorrow to look at footwear and other items. I must be good and try to lose pack weight, not gain pack weight.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Trapper John Shelter 5Aug05 Day50

The hiking has become a little bit boring now that I am out of the White Mountains. It has also become buggy again. I am not sure I should be sleeping in the shelter, especially since it is almost too warm for my sleeping bag. During the more boring sections today I decided to shake down my pack again. I think I can lose a few more pounds and if I am careful about the amount of food and water I carry, I should be able to lighten up a bit more. I think I will be replacing a few things but mostly it will be small, inexpensive purchases. I will be happier carrying a lighter pack. I think I also need to replace my boots as my toes have been hurting on the downhill sections more than usual. I also think I have a slow leak in my air mattress so that will need to be dealt with. I may have to take a zero in Hanover for two reasons. FIrst, it has been awhile since my last zero and second, I may be mailing things out and will have to wait for the post office to open Monday morning. At least there is an EMS so I can get some replacement gear if needed. I hope they have a good boot selection.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hexacuba Shelter 4Aug05 Day49

After being told time and again how easy the next part would be, I was surprised I was not able to walk faster. The trail was mostly rock and root free but the gentle incline seemed to completely wipe me out. I think I actually preferred the steeper climbs as the summit appeared to arrive sooner. Mt Cube only comes in at 2000ft but the switchbacks kept on coming with no end in sight. I had the song "This is the Song that Never Ends" with the words changed to account for the never ending climb. The climb down was much rockier that I expected. We also seem to be in a n area with somewhat scarce water. There is water but at the shelters the water is standing pools of mosquito slime.

The sun and views on top of Mt Cube were enough to persuade me to sit up there and enjoy the day. Bad Cheese also sat up and enjoyed the day with me. This shelter is hexagonal and quite different from the standard lean-to design. Generally, the lean-to is a three walled structure with a slooping roof. This shelter has 4 of 6 walls and a roof with a peak in the middle. There are 4 sobos and 4 nobos. One of which is carrying a homemade banjo.

I am very tired right now. Although it was not a very long day, only 15 miles, I did go to bed quite late and woke up quite early. I will have to pull out some ear plugs to try to ensure a good night's sleep.

I am glad I have stayed in the habit of always doing my journal entries everynight. I have met so many people who had started doing journal entries then started putting them off until they are now quite behind. It can be a pain as it keeps me up when I could be trying to sleep but the discipline is good and it lets me remember things that happened during the day. It is almost like living the day over again. I have only forgotten to do an entry once and I did it the next morning as soon as I remembered.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Glencliff 3Aug05 Day48

Today was a good day. The owner of the Hiker's Welcome Hostel happened to be in North Woodstock this morning and saw us hitching out of town. So we ended up slackpacking Mt. Moosilauke. Just Bad Cheese and I took up the offer. Since there were no daypacks available, we just clipped a nalgene to our belts and took a bag of snacks for lunch. Although it was fun and we moved faster, I was a little rushed and forgot my camera and windbreaker. So no pictures of the spectacular waterfalls as I was climbing up and I could not pause too long on the summit as it was quite windy and I was getting a chill. Mt Moosilauke was the last big challenge we will encounter for awhile.

I wasn't very hungry today for supper so tomorrow I will be going in with 5 days of food for a 2 1/2-3 day section. It must have been the pint of Ben and Jerry's I had earlier. My hiker appetite has still not kicked in. I did make some peanut butter squares using the recipe I got from Zealand hut. It was a little softer than the ones they served but they were just as good. They may have needed more icing sugar or less peanut butter. Everyone loved them.

The hostel has quite a movie collection and I find myself drawn to watching them. Which means I am still up, watching "Chronicles of Reddick" and it is midnight. I did try to parch up my boots again and I hope that holds but I will have to face facts, it is time for new footwear. The goop is only temporary and will start peeling after awhile. The side seams have given up long age. I think my feet are too wide for the boots. I may switch over to trail runners soon. It will depend on the type of terrain I start encountering now that I am out of the mountainous area.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

North Wookstock 2Aug05 Day47

The plan was to get to GlenCliff then resupply but I have noticed that it is hard to stick to plans on the trail, especially if other people are around. So here I am in North Wookstock, camping near a river with Puck and Bad Cheese. Steiner decided to keep going after resupplying. I now have 5 days of food to get me to Hanover. I will be stopping in Glencliff tomorrow, I think, so I can shower and do laundry. Although, we were invited for some good times at a camp ground near 25A. If it isn't too far we may push for it. It is raining right now and there was some thunder and lightening earlier. Bad Cheese had just finished seam sealing her new tent. Hows that for timing. I did manage to get more paper for my journal entries. I was worried as I was down to scrap paper I got while on Mt Washington.

After tomorrow, the terrain supposedly gets easier. For the last week or so, the elevation gain has been massive. Most of the mountains in the Whites are over 4000ft. After this the elevation scale maxs out at 3500ft, compared to 6000ft for the Whites. I will miss the hut system. As commercial and crass as they can seem, they were great and so were the croos. It makes hiking more accessible to people and lets them enjoy a beautiful area of the country. But is does increase the impact on the terrain. I think it would be fun to work at a hut over the summer.

Tomorrow is on of the last tall, hard mountains to summit and my pack will be topping at 32-35 lbs. I hope the trail will be dry in the morning, but I seriously doubt it will. I don't enen think my fly will be dry so I will have to either set up tomorrow night or hang my fly somewhere. I would like some good views, it makes the effort more satisfying.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Eliza Brooke Shelter 1Aug05 Day46 Monday

I didn't do many miles today, just 6. I walked to Dingle's place at Kinsman Pond tentsite. Everyone from last night was there and we all sat around wasting more time. Dingle tried to get us to stay and do bog board work, but as much as I thought it would be fun, we all moved out. The view from the summit of N. Kinsman was great as I was above the clouds. I stopped for a break with Steiner and Bad Cheese came in shortly. We all made it to Eliza Brooke shelter to the ominous rumbling of thunder. Shortly thereafter, the skies opened. Dingle called it when he predicted we would not get further than Elisa Brooke. He also gave us a trick for calling people over distances by making a foo noise. So we were fooing from the shelter. Puck called and I answered which surprised Bouie. It was neat. We all snuggled in for a nap. Shortly after waking up the skies opened up again and this time there was hail the size of marbles. Hee Haw's tent partially collapsed so he moved into the shelter. We are 7 in a 6 making it cozy. There was a camp group of 7-8 kids who also came in. They holed up in their tents but are in the shelter cooking and trying to dry out. They couldn't get the stove going but eventually it caught. Being out of the rain is good for them. The little stream we crossed is now a raging white water stream. We are 8 miles to town were we can resupply then press on to Glencliff.

I am reading "Destiny Doll" by Clifford Simack. I am almost finished. I was unsure about the book at first but it has turned into a very good read. I have been very lucky so fa. I wonder what will be my next read.