Day 155 – Dayglow

Despite not sleeping well, I was up around 7:30 for breakfast at the Sterling Inn. It was a decent spread of cold continental breakfast items and coffee. Packing occurred at a leisurely pace, but I was checked out and a group of 6 hikers piled into an SUV to head back to trail.

We were back on trail by 9AM on the dot. It was a beautiful sunny day that you would have hardly believed a hurricane passed by less than 24 hours before. The trail was in decent condition without many tree blow downs or muddy trail sections. I hiked in my newest bubble of peeps with Wiki, Orphan, Feral Goat, Purple Pioneer, and Hays.

They’re a really fun and spirited bunch, very easy-going and down to earth. I’ve enjoyed every moment with them all so far. We all had a shelter 18 miles away on our minds. The terrain had some mild ups and downs but overall, the trail was very forgiving. We took a break at Pleasant Pond Mountain for snacks and decent cell service.

I tried calling Shaws hostel, my planned stopping point for tomorrow but their phones were down because of the hurricane. Apparently, it did more damage elsewhere than our present location. I had a leisurely hike down the mountain and started listening to my latest audiobook “Brave New World.” It’s interesting thus far.

At the base of the mountain and start of Moxie Pond, we came across some informal trail magic. I’m calling it informal because it was a former thru-hiker supporting his friends and cooking burgers for them. All of these individuals we met the day prior and had stayed at the inn with us. They had extra burgers and offered us some with some chips. It was perfect timing too because I had been starting to wonder about what to eat next.

Shortly after leaving there was another water crossing. Feral Goat and I crossed in flip-flops and crocs and managed to keep everything dry. We had a good chat on the way up Moxie Bald Mountain. She used to work in fashion design but may want to transition to hiking gear design. We talked about all of the ways our respective gear could be better if we were in charge.

On the way up Moxie Bald my right arch and achillies started to flare up. 2 days removed from a 25 mile day, I was likely not fully recovered despite the nearo yesterday. I tried to alter my gait to accommodate the discomfort and I took more ibuprofen and Tylenol at the peak.

I hung around the peak for several minutes. The wind was brisk, but the sun was just beginning to set (and we all know my propensities for sunsets). I lingered a bit and took in the 360 views, but I was not too keen on hiking down the last 2 miles in the dark. Begrudgingly I headed out just before the sunset got good. I did admire the cotton candy pink clouds on my way down the mountain, however.

My final 10 minutes of hiking was with my headlamp as I arrived in darkness at Bald Mountain Pond Lean-to. I had dinner at the picnic table with the whole crew from today in addition to Jolly Green Giant. We discussed trail name aliases we’d go by, and I introduced them all to Chia Mio.

I found a flat spot next to the shelter when I realized all the pond-side tent spots were claimed already. Sleep came quickly to the sweet and sultry sounds of a loon call on the lake. If I’m being honest, I thought it was a moose call (I’m preferring to call it wishful thinking in lieu of ignorance). I still have yet to see my white whale (moose).

Tomorrow is another 18 mile day into Shaws hostel, the last hostel on the AT and before the 100 mile wilderness. Hoping to make it in before the expected afternoon rains.

Until then, Stow away in my pack for day 156 on the Appalachian Trail

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