Days 94-95: Mile 1,500

Day 94, 7/31/23

Schaghticoke Mtn Campsite to Pine Swamp Shelter

20.2 miles, mile 1,491.4

I was on the struggle bus today. I was not prepared for so much elevation gain in CT because it’s such a short section of trail it’s hardly talked about. We climbed up and over a lot of mountains today with about 5,000 feet of climbing. There was a portion of the trail that was flat down by the river, which was very appreciated. The bugs were nowhere near as bad as NY, but once again it is mosquito land at camp. We hardly saw any other hikers today until the last couple miles, and there are some section hikers at the shelter. I had intended to go another 2.3 miles today, but I was so tired of the ups and downs another 500 feet of elevation seemed impossible. This was a bit frustrating because we have done longer mileage days with more elevation than today, and I don’t remember being as tired. You would think after almost 1,500 miles it would be getting easier, but I can assure you it is not!

Tomorrow we will hit 1,500 miles, which will be a good feeling, and we got beds reserved for us in Salisbury!

Day 95, 8/1/23

Pine Swamp Shelter to Salisbury, CT

16.2 miles, mile 1,507.6

Today was another great day! I have realized the common denominator to a great day is swimming, beautiful weather, minimal bugs, restaurant food, and lattes. We woke up earlier today and were hiking by 7:30 a.m. because we had beds, laundry, and a shower awaiting us in Salisbury. There are no official hostels, but two locals have rooms they rent out to hikers. I texted one of them and Kev and I got a room with two twin beds. The homeowner, Maria, is 94 as of today. Her grandson helps her run everything with the hikers.

We hiked the first eight miles very quickly because we had another motivator awaiting us – a cafe! I got a quinoa bowl because it was the only gluten free thing on the menu, but it was good. And of course I also got my iced vanilla latte. There were a decent amount of hikers in the cafe and we had another “small world” moment. Another woman was from NH and we told her we lived in New Boston. She said that we must have gone to New Boston Central School and that she is good friends with the gym teacher there, who also has thru-hiked the AT. We gave her our names, and she took a photo of us to send to her.

After our cafe break, we hit mile 1,500! There was a beautiful spot by the river that we took another break at and went for a swim. The weather could not have been better today. There was a magnificent breeze, the sun was shining, and the sky was so blue. I know it sounds kind of cuckoo to say this but the woods in New England just feel better than the woods we have walked through the last 1,500 miles. Even though yesterday was not my favorite day, New England has been far superior already. Although I may or may not be a little biased.

When we got to the house, Ed gave us a tour and we talked to some other people staying here. My shower felt amazing per usual, and we got to put clean loaner clothes on after. We mentioned that we were heading to the store and a woman said she was leaving soon and driving right by there, so we got a ride! Then another guest heard me saying I have celiac and he gave me a sleeve of his gluten free cookies he just bought. Kev and I got a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to split and we ate it outside in some lawn chairs. There is a pizza place that delivers for free, and I saw they have a gluten free crust! I ordered a pesto pizza, which was so yummy, and Kevin got an Italian pizza. We sat and talked with Ed and a ridge runner for a bit while we ate. He gave us some watermelon after dinner. Then another guy showed up who is a three-time triple crowner. Meaning he has done the AT, PCT, and CDT three times each. I asked why on earth he would want to do that and he said, “It just happened.”

I’m excited to get some sleep tonight and put on clean clothes in the morning!

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