Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Flooded Out in New Hampshire

Spent Saturday night off Route 25A near Wentworth, NH.  Woke up in the early morning on Sunday and everything seemed okay.  Next time I woke up I felt like I was floating....tent and all.  I think I was!  I had set up my tent on a soccer field, apparently near a stream near Camp Merriwood.  So my boots were floating and I had to catch them.  Everything got wet!  I lost my belt and a couple other things, and got my cell phone, camera, and ipod wet.  My journal and hikers' book also got soaked.  The people at Camp Merriwood, a day camp for girls let me dry off in their office.  They were very helpful and also let me do some laundry to get my things dry.  I was very thankful that they were close by.

Yesterday I hiked 10 miles to a Hikers Hostel in Glencliff, NH and joined a group of hikers there.   I got a shower and felt much better.  I weighed my pack and it is about 40 pounds...way too heavy! I was able to use their phone and left a message at home.  They had lost power in MD and so didn't get my messages and were worried too.  I did get to talk with them later last night. Everything at home is fine now too.

We got word last night that the Forest Service was closing the AT until they could check to make sure it was safe for all of us. This morning, though, we got the okay to continue on.  We heard that there is a group of about 40 hikers stuck in Vermont who may not be able to continue today.  We are about 398 miles from Katahdin and heading in to the White Mountains.  They tell us we should expect all kinds of weather conditions...snow, sleet, and rain even now. From an elevation of 1,000 ft to 4,800 feet in only about 8 miles. It should be a difficult 10 days or so.

I've been very impressed with the friendliness of the people in New Hampshire.  Last week I hiked into the little town of Lyme Center, hoping to get a cold soda.  There was a small building there which turned out to be the post office.  I was sitting outside the building drinking my water and a lady came out.  I asked her if there was a store or something downtown and she said that this was about all I would find close by.  Anyway she left and then another lady came by and asked if I was a hiker and we started to talk.  While we were talking, the first lady came back with 2 Cokes and apologized for not giving me a ride. She said, "I didn't know you and so I was afraid to give you a ride, but here are some drinks for you." The other lady then brought me homemade cookies that she had just baked. Then another gentleman came by and sat and talked with me.  They all told me to be careful in the hurricane.  Then the man gave me a ride back to the trail!  Very, very nice people in that town!

Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.
-Anne Frank

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Last Stop in Vermont

Spending the night at the home of Betsy(Short and Sweet) and Bill(Gray Beard), section hikers here in Norwich, VT.  They had trail magic on the trail in front of their house with a note to call if you needed a place to spend the night.  So I called and asked if I could pitch my tent in their yard and they invited me in to their home.  I asked if there was a place to get a bite to eat and Betsy directed me to the Norwich Inn in town to get a bite.  So I'm having ribs, fries, cole slaw and a couple beers before heading back for the night.  This Inn is reported to be the inspiration for the Bob Newhart TV show and was built in 1791. I'm looking for Larry, Darryl and Darryl!

This will be my last day in Vermont.  I'm about a mile from the New Hampshire border.(Mile 1738.7)  I hiked 15 miles today.  Tomorrow I will hike through Hanover, NH which is the location of Dartmouth College. I'm hoping to get a hair cut there as I'm looking kind of shabby.

Saturday we stopped at McGrath's Irish Pub in Killington for some good food and then camped in an open, grassy area near the Pub.  On Sunday we were getting packed up and it started to rain heavily.  So Muldoon and I got a room at the Inn at Long Trail and spent the day and night there.  Some of the young hikers went on a tour of a microbrewery, but I took a $2 bus ride in to Rutland to the Walmart, got some supplies, then just chilled. On Monday we had a long hike on the muddy trail and I fell.  I got a bump on my head and a small cut, but Muldoon and I cleaned it up and put some neosporin on it with a band-aid.  It seems to be fine now.

I saw my first moose last Tuesday.  I haven't seen any since.  We hit the 500 miles to Katahdin marker last Friday and were greeted with cold Cokes and Mt. Dews compliments of a local thru-hiker named Mad Hatter.  It was great! 

I'm still hoping to finish in early October.  I'm glad to have my sleeping bag and warm clothes as it gets chilly up here at night.  One of the other hikers asked me what I'm going to do with myself once I'm finished.  I told them I have lots to keep me busy when I get home.  Can't wait to spend time with the new little guy and the rest of my family.  Just got a picture text and I can't believe how big he's getting. 

“Camping: nature’s way of promoting the motel industry.”
-Dave Barry

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In Vermont

Hiked 17 miles in to Bennington, Vermont on Friday and stayed at a fleabag motel.  No bed bugs...but not the Ritz Carlton either.  I did have a great spaghetti and meatball dinner.  Muldoon's friends came to visit him yesterday so I got to tag along too. The town of Bennington is really nice and we got to see more of it thanks to his friends.  Ended up having a good lunch and Friendly's ice cream with them before they dropped us off back at the trailhead.  We took a short hike to Melville Nauheim Shelter.  Not a lot of water around here.  I wish I had brought more water from Bennington. Only 576 miles to Katahdin.

The AT joins the Long Trail(LT) for about 105 miles at the VT-MA line. When we get to Maine Junction at Willard Gap the AT heads toward Maine and the LT heads toward the Canadian border.

We are headed into Manchester Center, VT on Tuesday.  My air mattress has turned out to be a piece of junk so the company is sending me a new one there.  It constantly loses air and I've had to fix multiple leaks.  In the middle of the night I ended up waking up and having to blow it up again.  Not fun! I do not recommend it.

Jan sent me my sleeping bag and some cold weather clothes there too.  Nights are getting cooler up here and I don't want to take any chances of getting too chilled and then sick. I'm hoping she sent me a Zagnut or Payday as well!

Vermont is 150 miles long so we will be here for at least a week or so. Then New Hampshire is about 161 miles and once we're in Maine it is 281 miles to Katahdin.  I think I can...I think I can...

Thanks again to all of you for your well wishes, emails and comments.  Can't wait to get back home.

"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned."
-Maya Angelou

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

622 Miles to Go

Hiked into Massachusetts on Friday morning.  I camped at the Race Brook Falls Trail on Friday night. Saturday was a 16-mile day and we stayed at the Tom Leonard Shelter near Monterey, MA.  Yesterday Muldoon and I hiked into Lee, MA and stayed at the Pilgrim Inn.  We had dinner at a little Italian restaurant, did our laundry and got some food and supplies.

Today we hiked about 16 miles, the last 4 miles in the rain.  At Washington Mountain Road we hiked a short distance to the home of the "Cookie Lady."  Marilyn Wiley and her husband Roy live on a blueberry farm and allow hikers to get water and pick blueberries to purchase.  Marilyn had homemade cookies for us and we watched hummingbirds at her feeder.  Muldoon needed to get a package in the town of Becket so Roy took him into town while I stayed back and enjoyed the cookies! Then we hiked 7 more miles to the Kay Wood Shelter.  Kay Wood was a 1972 hiker, is in her 80s and still helps maintain the trail in the area.

Tomorrow I need to stop in Dalton, MA to get a package and some fuel for my stove. Then we'll only have about 27 more miles in Massachusetts.  We'll hike to Mt. Greylock, the highest peak in MA.(3,491 feet)
At the top they say you can see the Green, Catskill and Taconic mountains.  The mountain is said to have inspired both Thoreau and Hawthorne.  Maybe I'll be inspired too! We'll be in Vermont hopefully by the end of the week.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Made it into CT

Hiked 16 miles yesterday to get in to CT.  The AT in CT is only 52 miles so I'm hoping to make it to MA by the middle of the week with any luck. 

It took us exactly one week to get through NY.  Last Sunday night we were in Greenwood Lake, NY looking for a place to stay.  A guy named Jimmy with a heavy New York accent stopped and asked us if we were thru-hikers and what we were looking for.  We told him that we were hoping to find a place to camp and he said, "I'll hook ya up."  So he took Muldoon (Patrick) and me to his friend Walter's Place and he let us camp right near Greenwood Lake.  Then he gave us a ride to a local restaurant. So at 10 o'clock at night we were sitting there eating fried chicken.  Then he took us back to Walter's Place.  It seems like the area is a little getaway for people who live in NYC.

Hiking conditions last week were very nice.  We hiked to the top of Bear Mountain on Tuesday and could see the NYC skyline.  Then on Friday we were staying at the RPH Shelter (Mile 1420) and a local hiker named Bill came by and invited us all to his home in the morning for breakfast.  It was a delicous waffle breakfast and he also allowed us to do our laundry.  It was a great day!

New Yorkers have been very hospitable.  On Saturday night it was getting late and I needed to find a place to camp.  I saw some local hikers near Nuclear Lake about a mile from Poughquag, NY.  They said that there was no camping allowed around the lake and there is a grouchy old lady that comes by and patrols the area.  Well, I couldn't go any farther so I found a spot away from the trail and set up my tent and had something quick to eat.  It was getting dark and I soon heard her.  She was harrassing some guys who were fishing from shore and had a little campfire going.  I kept expecting her to come and find me....but I must have been far enough off the trail that she never saw my tent.  About 9 o'clock that night there were fireworks over the lake and it was so beautiful.  Apparently this was the site of a nuclear fuels processing and research facility until 1972 and then the Parks Service acquired the land for the AT.

The next day (Sunday) I had lunch at a little deli not too far from Pawling, NY, finished my hiking through NY and made it to Ten Mile River Shelter in CT (Mile 1449). Only 731 miles to Katahdin and I think I can make it...

Today I stopped in Kent, CT to pick up a package at the post office from our friends Marcia and Del who live in Beaver Falls, PA.  Thanks to them for all the goodies!  While I was in town I stopped in the library and read the newspaper, did some laundry and had a hot pastrami sandwich. MMM!