A Character Building Day on Trail
ECT Day 239&240
IAT Day 70&71
Day 239: 12 miles
This morning we all woke up nice and dry inside the garage. What a perfect night! It was pouring rain out but at least we didn’t have to break down a campsite outside in the rain.
Once we all got packed and ready to walk we headed over to the main house. We wanted to thank the lovely couple who had let us stay in their garage last night. When we walked over to say thank you they wound up inviting us in for breakfast! Who could refuse such an offer. So we headed inside to sit down for a nice hot meal.
They poured us coffee and gave us some fruit to eat. Then cooked up some incredible scrambled eggs with the best sour dough toast I’d ever had. It was such a perfect way to start off the day. We talked to them about their home and where they were moving to. Apparently a handful of years ago they hosted 2 other ECT hikers that they saw passing through the area.
After eating we thanked them for everything and headed on our way. It was still pouring rain out and the weather looked bad all day. We braced ourselves and headed into it. Not long after stepping outside we were all soaking wet. We walked along the road for about 2 miles before we came to a ferry. The only way across a small body of water in the town was a quick ferry ride across! It only took a couple minutes and we were there. The ferry actually runs on a pully system so the engine of the boat isn’t even on. The boat runs 24/7 to bring locals across. Apparently it’s a quicker route than driving around.
At least while we were on the boat we got to be out of the rain briefly. Then we got to walking once again. The rain kept up pretty much all day. So we walked continuously for another 8-10 miles before stopping. It was fairly cold but not too windy. All of us were making the most of it. I was just so glad that we were able to stay dry last night!
In the early afternoon the road brought us right past a small restaurant. It had a sign outside that they had world famous fish chowder. So we decided to head on in for some lunch. Apparently this new location had just opened and the kitchen and serving staff were all still training. The food wound up taking almost an hour, but at least we were inside and warm. In the end we spent about 2 hours there before continuing on. But Trucker had actually booked a room for the night in the upcoming town, so we had to wait to check in anyways. The timing worked out as always.
After leaving the restaurant we walked over the motel. The lady who checked us in her an adorable dog Bailey that I got to give lots of love to. Then we got into the room and got situated. It had a kitchen so we’ll be able to grab whatever we want at the grocery store to cook dinner! We dropped our packs and then walked down the street to get snacks and goodies for tonight.
I wound up getting a lasagna and garlic bread to eat for dinner. Then got a huge tub of yogurt to pack out and eat tomorrow with granola. Back at the room we all lounged and showered. We watched TV and cranked the heat up. It felt so great to be comfortable and out of the rain. I made myself a hot chocolate and watched Love is Blind with Sparkle.
The rest of the night consisted of a whole lot of eating and lounging. The lasagna that I got for dinner was absolutely delicious. And I made so much garlic bread to eat with it. It was the perfect meal. Later on I laid in bed and watched TV before falling asleep.
Day 240: 31 miles
This morning we didn’t even wake up until after 7am. Apparently Trucker had been up for a while and had been trying to make noise to wake us up. But Sparkle and I didn’t hear a thing and just slept through it all.
Before we left the room I finally bit the bullet and bought my flight home to the states. We finally have a good idea of when we’ll be finishing up here in Canada. Once we finish near Caribou, Nova Scotia we will have to get a ride over to Halifax. Then we’ll all fly out of the international airport there. It felt surreal to buy my ticket back to Birmingham, Alabama. I’ve been in Canada for over two months at this point. It was about 8 months ago now that I flew down to Alabama and began walking north from there. And after almost 4000 miles of walking I’m ready to fly back to Alabama and complete the final leg of my journey. Once I walk from Alabama to Key West I will have hiked the entire Eastern Continental Trail in one calendar year. And I’ll be the second woman in history to complete it.
By 8:30am we were all packed up and walking. We stopped off at a gas station for some drinks and then kept moving. As we walked I ate yogurt and granola which was fantastic. At first I felt ridiculous packing out 600mL of yogurt, but now I think it was a good decision. I’m burnt out from just about everything else there is to eat.
It was a misty day out but it wasn’t necessarily raining. And as the day went on the sun came out which was lovely. About 10 miles in we stopped off for our first break of the day. I pulled some snacks out to eat while we walked. We still had about 20 miles to go and with our flights booked there really wasn’t much wiggle room. Now is the time that we really have to stick to our schedule.
Over the course of the day the weather got worse and worse. It wound up getting really windy out and began to rain. But we just had to push through and be strong. Days like today are what we call “character building” days in the thru hiking community. Sometimes the hiking is hard. You might be cold, uncomfortable, sore, and tired. But at times you have no choice but to keep moving.
As the day went on the went the weather only seemed to get worse. I was so cold towards the end of the day but really didn’t want to pull out any dry clothes to put on. We wound up walking for 7 hours straight. It was way too cold to stop and break. We would just cool down and get even colder.
Those last 2 hours of the day were some of the hardest I’ve ever hiked. It was hard on my body and I was tired. I just wanted to stop and be done but we were alongside the road. So there was nowhere to stop off to call it a day. We had to keep going. I was absolutely freezing too. Any colder and it could have been dangerous. It was so uncomfortable.
Finally after hours upon hours of walking through the cold wind and rain we came to a small town. There was a motel that we were able to call and get a code for to check into the room late. It was well past dark at this point and we had been walking all day. When we got to the room it was around 8pm. All of us got inside, dropped our packs, and just sat there. That was the loudest silence that I’d ever heard.
We had all just spent the last few hours doing whatever we could to keep moving. That takes its toll on you. We all sat in silence in the room before finally starting to laugh at the whole situation. Just minutes ago we were freezing outside. Now we are indoors and going to begin warming up.
I took a hot shower and made a hot chocolate. Then I also decided to make a knorr side for dinner. I felt so much better after all that. I didn’t fully realize how cold I was until I took a shower. Even sitting in the hot water for 10 minutes my skin was still cold. This was one of the hardest days in Canada yet. But possibly the last brutally hard day we’ll have on the IAT. Somehow at least my body felt less sore this evening than it has in the days prior. We all lounged in the room and finally warm ended up. Then called it a night.
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I’m glad you made it safely back to ‘Bama. I’ve enjoyed your blog immensely and prayed our Good Lord keeps ya’all safe.
Wow. When you started to laugh in the hotel room. Perfect.
I’m gonna be so sad to see you go. I’ve been experiencing the trail through you, following your journey.
There will be tears when you are through. (I’m crying, just thinking about it.)
I will continue to follow the people of “The Trek”. But you’ll be missed.
It’s been so wonderful to read the post. I may never get to the trails but I feel like I’m there when I read yours. I’m looking forward to moving to wegufka area soon tired of central Florida.
Another fine post. Stay warm.
Quite a remarkable journey. I truly appreciate your posts, especially the fact that you leave politics and current events out of it. Good luck in your continuing journey. If you find yourself needing help while you are in Bama or Florida, let me know. I am nearby in Franklin county, AL. Fair winds and following seas my dear.
Vince aka The Dude, A/T, LASH, SOBO, 16′,17′, 18′ and hopefully 24′ to finish.
So glad I started reading your blog. I have found another EPIC HIKER. ECT indeed. This old coot totally impressed. Now, not only following but will have to go back and read all your posts from Day One. Thank you PEG LEG.
Glad you made it safely, even if cold and wet. Happy trails ahead.
I have no clue what or where this hike is, can you give a short description of it? I am new to long hikes, going for the AT in Mid April. I am 73 and looking forward to doing this for many years and now that I am retired I can go for it!
No question that the rain and the cold are horrible to walk in, but when you complain about the “trail” conditions in the Canada section, did you reflect on the ridiculous trail sections on mud and rocks and scrambling and multi-thousand elevation days you did getting there so recently? Other than wet and cold, this part seems like a dream!