Day 124 – Wants vs Needs
I woke up cozy in my sleeping bag. I had slept great, if I were to grade myself by how I felt in the morning, A+. Surprised to find Neo, Squid, and myself the only ones in the shelter at 7:30, I pulled myself from my sleeping bag. I had a poptart for breakfast and was packed and up on trail by 8:30.
There was more mud today; however, I’d say it was more manageable than yesterday. Perhaps the standing water soaked into the ground a bit. Or the foot traffic mixed the water into the dirt more. Whatever it was, I wasn’t as miserable as the day prior. It wasn’t as slow either, the downhill morning helped with that.
By 1:00 p.m., I made it down to Route 9, a road that leads into Bennington, VT. Morale and energy felt low. I desperately wanted a hot meal, and/or a soda. It wasn’t a ‘need’, however. I had a few days’ worth of food, enough to make it to Manchester Center (my next stop in a few days). But I tried my hand at hitching into town regardless. Unsuccessful after 15 minutes, I gave up and hiked on.
I had a 3,500-foot climb over ten miles. The snacks I ate while trying to hitch must have kicked in because I felt better quickly. I gave myself five hours to the cover the distance. It was conservative, but considering the mud may have been too optimistic.
The mud ended up not being as bad again that afternoon either. Or perhaps my feet got wet early on in the day and after they were already wet I didn’t care anymore where I stepped. My shoe fix finally failed after close to 200 miles. The 50/50 cord I had looped through the toe part of the sole broke off. It had served its purpose, however, and I got the extra mileage out of them that I wanted. I’ll get my third and final pair of shoes in a few days.
I ran into some familiar faces on my way up the mountain. I saw Neo again from the night prior, and Sultry and Highlight (both of which has been a few weeks since I’d seen them last). Highlight and I hiked together for a stretch catching up on recent happenings. Her foot is all healed up from her burn when we were in New Jersey.
All four of us headed to Glastonbury Mountain Fire Tower. It’s a tower at the peak of a pine forest. Its lookout reaches just over the treetops to see mountains in all directions. Neo and I climbed to the top to watch the sunset. We were socked in by clouds and mist, but they abated for about 20 minutes to give us a great view. There’s a Timelapse of it posted to my story (next 24 hours only) on my instagram: @Barkleycharles
We could see steam rising from the trees on distant mountains as the sun peered through the clouds. It was an epic 20 minutes before we were socked in again. I climbed down to set up my tent.
It was still wet from two nights prior and had a mildew-y scent. Highlight and I ate dinner around an unlit fire pit. We chatted about our religious upbringing and where we currently stand with our faith. Both still believers but feeling discontented with the all-too-common judgmental attitudes of some “Christians.” (We’re both Christians, and I’m not trying to paint any group with a broad brush, but we all know individual examples of the type of person I’m talking about).
It was a good chat and a good bonding experience. Tomorrow there’s another pond 17 miles out. Given how badly I smell and need a shower, a pond will work just fine.
Stow away in my pack for day 125 on the Appalachian Trail
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