Never Trust a Fart and Other Nero Activities: Long Trail Day 12
I groggily stir awake to the sound of rain on the shelter roof and the feeling of dampness. I open one eye and glance toward my feet to see rain slanting in through the shelter opening. My feet reflexively cringe inward, away from my soggy sleeping bag. Noooooooo, I think, this will NEVER dry. I think I would rather deal with curious bears than wet gear. BUT THEN I REMEMBER WE’RE GOING TO TOWN TODAY!!! It doesn’t matter how much it rains, how much mud I have to swim through, or what gear gets wet because we’re going to sleep in a BED tonight.
As I begin to make breakfast and pack my things (without leaving the comfort of my sleeping bag), Dobby cuddles with the Canadian couple who shared the shelter with Jon and me the previous night. He’s putting out all the stops, being as adorable as possible, and I’m pretty sure he’s trying to get adopted into a family that won’t make him hike out in this rain.
We only have six miles to go and nothing can dampen my spirits. My shirt, on the other hand, gets plenty damp. I take my raincoat off during a lull in the rain and when it begins to precipitate again, I’m too lazy/hot to put it back on. We come to a waterfall that probably isn’t a waterfall when it hasn’t been raining for hours on end and we have to scale the rocks as the water cascades down on top of us. I basically hand Dobby up to Jon and, for the second time, I realize I don’t know how I would have navigated this portion of the trail without him.
It’s interesting to think about, how this man whom I met by random chance at the top of a mountain could become an integral part of a hike that would have been wildly different and borderline disastrous had we not crossed paths.
After a couple of hours of drenched hiking, we come to Route 17, the road that leads east to Waitsfield and our nero. My resupply box is awaiting my arrival at the Hyde Away Inn, approximately six miles from our current location. We had hoped to get a hitch to the inn but quickly realize that no one wants to stop and pick up two soaking wet hikers and an equally soggy dog. We keep walking toward Waitsfield as we weigh our options. Over the next mile, we reestablish cell service and try to find a taxi company that might come pick us up. The town is too small to have Uber, so we call the inn to inquire whether they know of anyone who could give us a ride. The inn owner graciously agrees to come to pick us up! Jon tells her our location and we sit down to wait.
The next half hour is pretty miserable. I regret not keeping my rain jacket on as the evaporating water from my shirt chills me into convulsive shivering. Dobby is shivering as well. I know we’re almost to warmth and comfort but I sit on the ground, pack against my back and Dobby pulled into my lap to create as much heat as possible, and pout just a little.
Our ride finally arrives (we originally miscommunicated our location) and the shelter of her car is my white knight. She is even gracious enough to be letting us check in early as it’s not even lunchtime. Though you can’t really smell yourself after days in the woods, I haven’t been clean in five days and Jon hasn’t showered in 11. Ladies and gents, he needs it. I’m sure I smell wonderful because I’m a lady. The inn owner politely rolls down all four car windows without commenting on our odor.
We arrive at the inn and check into our room. I look at the smaller-than-a-double-bed with some trepidation but decide to deal with that issue later. The Hyde Away Inn also has a restaurant and hiker box, which is a place that hikers take/leave things based on their needs. Jon and I rifle through the hiker box, where I acquire a few packets of oatmeal and Jon finds a fuel canister fuller than his own and swaps it out. The inn also provides loaner clothes, which are random articles of clothing a hiker can wear while washing all the clothing they own. Jon tells me he’s going to shower so we can head into town for resupply while I remain bent over the box, looking for anything else that might prove useful and worth the weight to carry over the next section.
Now let me explain something about the diet of a hiker. When you are hiking long distances, you need food both very high in calories but also very light. Most of the time this equates to some sort of dehydrated meals. Mountain House and Alpine Aire are two examples of companies that produce these premade meals that only require water. Some people even dehydrate their own food for the trail. Along with dehydrated food, other calorie-dense and light foods come in the forms of candy and snack cakes. So you’ve got hikers walking for hours on end each day, consuming dehydrated food and candy. It’s not the ideal diet. Delicious, but not ideal. Inevitably what this leads to in many people is tummy trouble. And in my case tummy trouble means almost pooping your pants without warning.
As I’m bent over the hiker box I feel a slight rumble in my lower abdomen. After making sure there aren’t any noses in my near vicinity, I feel comfortable letting out a small fart. Never trust a fart, folks.
I repeat, NEVER TRUST A FART.
I realize quickly what’s about to happen, straighten up and RUN back to our room. As I burst through the door, I’m praying that Jon hasn’t yet entered the shower and still has his clothes on. My prayers are answered, and I nonchalantly request to take the first shower. Wonderful, gracious, heavenly Jon acquiesces and after doing horrible things to the toilet I spend the next 20 minutes turning the shower walls and floor brown with the filth from my body. When I reenter our room the smell emanating from Jon, Dobby, and our gear hits me like a physical blow.
“Oh wow, you guys really do stink,” I comment. It appears that being clean and surrounded by the smells of soap and shampoo in the shower has reawakened my sense of smell and in the small room the odor is borderline overpowering.
As Jon gets in the shower I tell him I’m going to inquire about getting our clothes washed. I discover the inn offers same-day laundering for $5, so I gather all our clothing, towels, and other washable gear to be cleaned. The Hyde Away also allows the use of their bicycles to get into town, which is perhaps two miles away. The day is still gray and damp, but a bike ride is much more appealing than walking two miles each way.
We stuff our faces at Mad Taco and resupply at Shaw’s. We ride back to the inn, where we consume an entire package of double-stuffed Oreos with whole milk and a two liter of root beer before ordering burgers from the inn’s restaurant. Jon offers to sleep on the floor but I refuse him as that’s no better than camping. So I share a bed with a borderline stranger, both of us doing our best to try not to touch accidentally until full bellies and exhaustion render us unconscious.
And that’s how you nero.
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It was so nice to find your posts & reminisce. I haved the LT a few years ago. I love the image in the background of this post. Is there any chance you wouldn’t mind sharing?