I don’t think I have ever seen as much rain as I did on Saturday, May 13th. It started at 0700 and ended 19 hours later at 0200. I considered taking a zero, but taking a zero in a three-sided shelter when it is cold and raining is not very appealing. Hoping that the rain would stop, I headed out. I was wrong and believe me, it was miserable. This was a hard, driving rain, the kind that results in zero visibility when you are driving. At night in the shelter, the rain made so much noise it sounded as if people were hammering on the roof.
Mothers’ Day morning looked much better and was a good hiking day, weather-wise. However, the 2 inches of rain that fell the day before made the Trail very muddy and slippery.
I called Diane to wish her a Happy Mothers’ Day. Shout out to all moms!
Later in the day, on a steep descent, I snapped a trekking pole. The bad news is that I am down a pole, but the good news is that the pole prevented a serious fall. This changed the rest of my day as I had to get off the Trail to arrange shipping of a new set of poles. After some time on the phone with REI I was told that a new pair would be shipped the next day. I was skeptical at how easy it seemed.
My next two nights were at a hiker hostel, Bearded Woods Bunk & Dine, run by a wonderful couple named Hudson and Big Lu who give a warm welcome to hikers. They fed us very well and washed our clothing. Hikers have the use of the entire downstairs of their home, which includes a living room, bedrooms, 2 showers and a bathroom. Hudson is, by far, the most knowledgeable person I have met regarding the AT. He has thru-hiked twice and is talking about doing it a third time.
When Diane was here last week, she mentioned that a friend had asked if I was having fun. So she asked me directly. The answer to that question, I guess, depends on what your definition of fun happens to be. Fun, to me, is laughing, having good times with friends or family or doing something you don’t want to end. None of these apply to the AT, at least not for me. This is hard work and at times it pushes me to both my physical and psychological limits. My best analogy is that in the 90s, I ran the Berlin, Paris and Washington Marathons. Training for and running the marathons was simply hard work. Even when I was running 60 miles a week, I never appreciated the “runner’s high” that many experience. I was not having fun. So I guess the AT is somewhat of a goal to achieve, similar to completing the marathons. I do enjoy many of the sights I see and people I meet. It is most refreshing to me that many people along the way are simply generous and caring people.
To be honest, I am still not convinced I have what it takes to do a thru-hike. New Hampshire and Maine will make that decision. More on that in the future.
Monday the 15th, I slack-packed 14 miles and it was a great day. It was in the mid 50s and breezy, with no ridiculous challenges. Just perfect. At one swollen stream, the boulders that we normally rock-hop to cross were submerged in water. I was thinking that I might have to ford this 15 yards of knee-deep water, something no one ever wants to do. But then I remembered what a hiker named Billygoat told me he did in a similar situation. I found a huge dead log that had fallen across the stream about 20-30 yards upstream. It was too narrow and slippery to walk across, but I straddled it as if riding a horse and “scooted” my way across. The water and rocks below me were intimidating, as the beast leaned side to side as I scooted. I was happy to have had that previous conversation with Billygoat. Although I was nervous while doing it, it was a success. Thinking about it an hour or so later, I chuckled and said to myself, “that was cool.” So maybe I am having fun after all!
Here are a few interesting pictures taken while in Connecticut.
On Tuesday, went to a local post office and received the new set of poles from REI. Great company.
Now into Massachusetts.