Less than 500 miles to go!
General update: I last blogged from Staten Island, NY. Less than 500 miles to go and I’m hanging on by a thread. Can’t quit now though! I’ve got a care package waiting for me in about 200 miles. As long as I keep moving forward, I’ll get there eventually.
Days miles: 17.4
Back to the trail we go! Viking, Mayor, Schweppes, and I woke up this morning at 4:15, left the house by 4:45am, walked a mile toward the subway station, realized quickly that we didn’t remember where it was, and stopped at a convenience store to ask for directions. We missed the first train, and caught the second. From our train we went to the ferry. From the ferry we went to the subway. From the subway we caught a shuttle. From the shuttle we caught another subway. From the ‘nother subway we caught a train. From the train we called a cab. The cab took us 4 miles back to the trail for the low low price of $20, and from there we cranked out 17.4 miles! Laughing at farts made transportation much less stressful.
Days miles: 25.6
This is the longest 25 I’ve ever done. It was up down up down all day. I got up in the shelter at 5:30am and met Viking on the trail at 6:00am. We hiked the whole day together. We ran into Puzzle, Ladybug, and Bullseye. It was so good to see familiar faces. And we made new friends, Cactus, and Aroo. They started March 1st, hike fast, long days, and have taken about two months worth of zeros. That’s nuts! But I like it. I had to get to Cornwall, CT 20 miles away by 4:30pm to get a package and ship some stuff home. (Got my sleeping bag back. Yay!!!). We got down the hill just in time and stuck our thumbs out. Jehovah’s Witness, Maryanne who was driving in the opposite direction turned around to pick us up. She was on the way back from getting groceries and she gave us watermelon, cinnamon muffins, and croissants. It was awesome trail magic and so sweet! I got my package, and Viking and I sat outside eating and sorting stuff. Everyone we saw was super nice and smiled at us at the very least. Most people made conversation and were very friendly. We told a guy about MaryAnne giving us the watermelon and he said he couldn’t let her outdo him and gave us a bag of cherries. Again…Awesome. We had no problem getting a ride back to the trail from another friendly guy at the gas station. This town as a whole has some of the nicest people that I’ve come across. Viking and I cranked out 6 more miles after town and made it to the shelter right around dark. It gets dark at 8:30 now FYI. No Rush and Mailman had their tents set up in the shelter because the Mosquitos are so bad. They seem like cool guys.
Days miles: 20.1
Today was a great day. Viking and I slept in until 7:00…yes, that is sleeping in. I think we’re averaging 100 mosquito bites per day. It has been ridiculous. But this just meant we took shorter breaks, so that’s alright. During one of our breaks we saw some hikers coming up the hill. It was Atlas, Shea, and Shea’s friend T-Rex. I was so excited to see them! Last time I saw Atlas was before the first time I went to Philadelphia. Since then, I’ve taken 10 zeros, so I assumed they were way ahead of me. We hiked about 4 miles together, passed them and met them again in town. In town I picked up new shoes, new socks, and new leggings. Boom. We managed to spend 2 hours in town, hang out with Atlas, Shea, and T-Rex, meet and chat with 4 SOBO’s and 3 NOBO’s, and still get in a 20 mile day. Success! We’re camping at the shelter with Karate Kid from Ohio tonight. Poor guy is out there in his hammock getting poured on.
Days miles: 23.2
A huge thunderstorm rolled in and it rained most of last night. It was pretty awesome to watch from inside the shelter. I miss watching thunder storms. Mayor and Schweppes still haven’t caught Viking and me. We left early the other day to catch the post office and haven’t seen them since. Today’s hike was ridiculously hard. I lost my headphones. This is very unfortunate because sometimes music is the only thing that keeps me going. The worst part about today was the Mosquitos. There was a 4 mile stretch of swamplands and grass where everyone sprinted and power walked. I wish there was a hidden camera in that stretch. When I came through I was sweating profusely, tripping over roots, gasping for air, my trekking poles were like a baby giraffes legs wobbling trying to catch me as I tripped and my eyes were open wide in panic mode. I imagine everyone looked that ridiculous. Viking and I arrived at the shelter after dark with Paperboy. Karate Kid is here along with Big Cheese who’s backpack strap broke during the difficult day.
Days miles: 21.1
I got up at 2:00am to set up my tent due to Mosquitos biting my face.
Days miles: 23.2
Days miles: 21.1
We passed through Tyringham toward the end of the day where we met Toots and Snack Time. Snack Time is home schooled by his grandmother who was also with them. Toots is Snack Time’s little brother. They travel to different parts of the trail during the summer handing out little trail magic baggies of candy, matches, and first aid stuff. The grandmother offered to take Viking and I to the spring in town. We saw a water pump thing in the center of town, not unlike the ones we see on the trail. The water from the pump dripped into a clear pool bowl type thing. It was beautiful. As we were trying to figure out the water pump, a guy drove by in a minivan and yelled “That water is not potable! JESUS. There’s a sign right there. Can’t you read!?” We laughed as the guy continued to yell. Okay man, we get it. Sorry I’m not sorry for trying to drink the beautiful statue water pump water. Viking and I headed to Goose Pond Cabin, a cabin with a caretaker. It also has a bunk room upstairs, bear boxes, books, games, and canoes. We were super excited to get there especially because there was a spaghetti trail magic dinner happening that night. We got there around 6:00pm, really hungry and tired, to find every last bit of spaghetti gone, every box of cookies empty, and all of the bunks taken. A devastating blow. There were 33 NOBO’s, SOBO’s, and section hikers there that night.
Days miles: 20.6
In the morning, the caretakers daughter made blueberry pancakes for everyone. It was delightful. Viking, Karate Kid, Happy Hiker, and I trucked to Dalton, MA for a hotel room. We stayed at the Shamrock Inn which was a nice little hotel. I’m glad we stayed there. They had cats in the lobby!
Days miles: 24.2
Viking and I did a long day to the shelter with Chip. Patch was there too. Chip is 19. He’s had a rough go of it this trip. Some of his stories are pretty crazy. He got his name from a really cold night in the smokies. It was raining and everything was wet, muddy, and freezing. The shelter was full and he found a dry spot underneath the shelter. He chipped his tooth because his teeth were chattering so much, hence the name “Chip”. There was also a cold mouse at the shelter who was stealing trail mix from somebody’s food bag and bringing it into Chip’s sleeping bag to eat. Chip rolled over on this mouse and it started attacking his back. He said he would’ve been cool with sharing his sleeping bag with the mouse, but the mouse didn’t feel the same way. As he was trying to wiggle out of his mummy bag/get the mouse out, he sat up and hit his head on the shelter. Talk about a rough night! Another night it was pouring rain and Chip decided to sleep at a pavilion at a park. A rabid bat fell from the rafters and bit Chip on the back of his head. Chip got rabies and had to hitch to hospitals every week to get a total of roughly 40 shots. Patch is from Ceshire, MA. He made it to Harpers Ferry last year and is finishing up his hike this year. He does IT business stuff and carries a small laptop in his backpack.
Days Miles: 5.8
The mice in the shelter were out of control last night. I woke up with Chip next to me shining a flashlight on Patch’s backpack which was hanging from the ceiling and he said “Dude, there’s a mouse on your backpack.” Patch, who is not a morning person, leaned forward and punched the mouse off of his bag. The mouse went spinning, flying about 10 feet out of the shelter. Then Viking who may or may not have been sleeping yelled “MOUSE PUNCH!” In the morning I reached into my food bag to find bits of slimy apple all over my bag. A mouse climbed onto my food bag and hung on vertically last night as it chewed a hole. The apple was all I had left. I washed it, scooped the hole out, and ate it anyway. We booked it into town and started trying to find a hitch. What seemed like a hundred cars passed us before 2 pulled over at the same time. Patch and Chip got in the first car with a nice normal couple and a grandmother, while Viking and I got in the second. This is one of the craziest people I’ve met. She was a woman in probably her 60’s, with grey hair and glasses. She looked normal until you noticed the rubber chicken earrings she was wearing. She said “Have you ridden with me before?” Then she asked if she could play us silly, naughty songs on the way into town. We said sure and told her we were headed to the Mountain Goat Outfitter. She played us songs about Michael Jackson and Elvis’s daughter, another one about Bill Clinton, and one more about Mrs. Clause cutting off Santa’s shlong. The whole time she moved her elbows like wings, rocked from side to side and smiled while she drove. She pulled up to EMS (an outfitter) and Price Chopper (a grocery store) and said “here you are.” We said “Oh, sorry we’re trying to meet our friends at the Mountain Goat Outfitter.” And she said “Well you kept talking about EMS and how you needed to go to the grocery store.” We had no idea what she was talking about. Neither of us talked about either of those places. She happily agreed to take us to the other outfitter and then said “Am I just dropping you off?” We said yes and she said “because I can’t drive you around all day.” We finally got to the Mountain Goat Outfitter. I got out of the car and she told us she wanted to perform for us. We were like yikes, what does that mean? So I got back in the car and she played a song about big t!#$, and moved her hands about a foot away from her body doing a dance where she pretends that she has big boobs. She then sang us a song she made up about sh!#%y birthdays. We got out of the car wondering what just happened. After visiting the outfitter, a couple hours of hanging out at McDonalds, and buying way too much food at the Price Chopper, Viking, Blue, Patch, Chip, and I got picked up by Vikings friend’s Aunt Faith, who lives in the area and took us in for the night. We did laundry, showered and they fed us a wonderful dinner. It was a lovely treat!
Days miles: 16.4
Faith brought us back to the trail in the morning. The day was going well until the ibuprofen I took in the morning began to wear off. I took it for general aches and pains, mostly in my feet. Everyone was ahead of me and I was getting a gradual headache, and then I was freezing, and then I felt like I was going to throw up. I felt like I could sit down right there and fall asleep. I arrived at the shelter where everyone was eating lunch on a tent platform (a wooden floored, raised square for tents). As soon as I got there I took my shoes off, crawled in my sleeping bag, and fell asleep right there in my 15 degree sleeping bag in the sunlight. My peeps woke me up later and asked if I could go further if they carried my stuff. They divvied up the contents of my backpack and we pushed about 7 more miles to a shelter where we camped with Mighty Blue. Friends are fantastic.
Getting closer every day.
Must. Keep. Walking.
“The easy way out will always be there, ready to wash you away.”
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