Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day 65, 8-22

--> Leroy A Smith Shelter, 20.2 miles

I slept well in the hostel. I woke up late, at 6:30, and had some granola that was left by previous hikers. I got back on the trail at 7:30. It was very humid this morning as I climbed out of Delaware Water Gap, and it was unpleasant. It was the kind of humidity that just sucks away all of your energy. Once I got up, though, it was flat. The infamous Pennsylvania rocks started a few miles in. They ar no fun to walk on, especially with worn out shoes. I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere so I put on some music after lunch. It really helped the miles go by.

The trail then dropped into Wind Gap, then climbed to the ridge on the other side. There were more rocks, then the shelter. As I was making dinner a thunderstorm rolled through. It is now cooler and less humid, and much more pleasant. I'm hoping it will cool off more as the sun goes down. Hot nights are not fun for sleeping. There were a lot fewer people on the trail. School is starting up, and I've passed all of the NOBOs so I think there will be fewer people out in general.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 64, 8-21

--> Delaware Water Gap, 24.8 miles

Ranger Bob snored and the group of campers didn't go to bed until late, so I got less sleep than I would have liked. The trail today was on very flat ridges. They could have been railroad beds. At the first view this morning I stopped and looked out over the clouds. It was like the ocean. Fourteen miles in was the AMC's Mohican Outdoor Center. I stopped by hoping to get an ice cream, but they had none and a terrible selection of soda. I ate lunch, filled my water, and threw my trash away there. It was then back to the ridges.

There was a family I passed who said they were lost. I really had no idea where I was, but I tried to hlp them. There were a lot of camp groups on the trail. On the way down I flew by many day hikers. People seem to walk so slowly. New Jersey said goodbye with a long roadwalk, first parallel to I-80, then on a sidewalk right next to it. Right on the other side of the bridge is DWG, PA. I'n in The Church of the Mountain Hostel. It's in the basement of a Presbyterian church, and is pretty nice. There is a section hiker here who likes to complain. I think I'll go to bed soon so I don't have to talk to him anymore.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 63, 8-20

--> Brink Road Shelter, 19.6 miles

I was the only one at the shelter again last night. Nice and quiet. I left early and missed the unmarked trail to the highest point of NJ. If I ever decide to collect high points I'll have to go back. There was a wooden tower where I got a view however. At the Mashipacong Shelter I took a break. I figured I'd eat half of my goldfish and save the other half for tomorrow. This plan was going well until section hiker Ranger Bob showed up. He liked to talk, so I listened until the Goldfish were gone. At the pavillion on time of Sunrise Mountain I called home to find out where my boots were. I'll get a pair this weekend when I visit my cousins. These ones only have to last 60 more miles.

I met some dayhikers on top of Culver Mountain. One of them asked me if I had seen any bears, and I replied "Not since Connecticut." This set off a lot of questions which I answered patiently. They gave me some food. I bought a soda at Culvers Gap then went to the shelter. It looks like a nicer shelter is being built on the other side of the road. Next year's thru hikers will be lucky. I think I'll be alone tonight unless Ranger Bob shows up. Tomorrow is a big day into Delaware Water Gap, PA. When I get there I'll have finished half of the states and 41% of the miles.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 62, 8-19

--> High Point Shelter, 23.9 miles

There was no one else at the shelter last night. It was nice and quiet and I slept great. There were some good views on top of Wawayanda Mountain this morning. The trail then went don to a long swampy section. There was nearly a mile of boardwalk, and lots of bog bridges. I had lunch at a viewpoint on Pochuck Mountain. The trail went around the perimeter of the Wallkill Reserve. It looked like a swamp to me. I went into Unionville to get a few things and take a break. They have a nice little general store. From there it was uphill seven miles to the shelter. Tomorrow morning I'll go by the high point of NJ. If the tower is open I may go up. If not I'll continue on towards Georgia.

Day 61, 8-18

--> Wawayanda Shelter, 12.1 miles

The other guy at the shelter last night, Bald Eagle, was pretty interesting. He was a pastor in the Moravian Church and now works for the denomination. As I was falling asleep, Stinky Jesus and Nightwalker arrived.

I left around 7 and quickly got to the Village Vista Trail. I got into town around 9 and did my resupply at the Country Grocery. The guy there gave me a free drink. I went to The Grill for brunch and got a tasty breakfast wrap. I then went to the library to charge my electronics and use the computers. It was a pretty steep climb back to the AT with a full load of food and water.

The trail went aloung a ridge to the AT high point of NY. There was a flag there. The NY-NJ border was half a mile past. State number seven. This shelter, with a fun name to say, is in Wawayanda State Park. I filled up my water at the visitors center half a mile before the shelter. There are a lot of bears in New Jersey, so I expect I'll see some over the next few days. The shelters have bear boxes, so my food should be safe.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 60, 8-17

--> Wildcat Shelter, 19.6 miles

Pivot Dude and his family, as well as Booby Trap and Transition showed up later last night. We had a small fire. Their dog Suki is very needy- whining whenever they walked away. The first few miles this morning were pretty easy, and I quickly got to Lake Tiorati. I used the flush toilets and threw away my trash. There were a lot of people on the trail, but it is a Saturday. I went through the Lemon Squeezer, a narrow split boulder. My pack had to come off to get through.

The trail bumped along, and I crossed another interstate. Most of the road crossings had water caches, and I didn't have to worry about running out on this surprisingly dry section. This shelter is very buggy, and trashy. The NY-NJ Trail Conference seems to be terrible at maintaining shelters. I don't know why, because the trail was fine for the most part. Tomorrow I'm going into Greenwood Lake to resupply, then onto New Jersey.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 59, 8-16

--> William Brien Memorial Shelter, 16.5 miles

I packed up very quickly and got to the convenience store/deli. I had french toast and did a small resupply. From there it was quick to get to the Hudson River. I went across the Bear Mountain Bridge, then walked to Fort Montgomery. At the post office they didn't have my box. I called home to get the tracking number, and the guy printed out the tracking history. My shoes are getting a tour of New England. It turns out Mom wrote the wrong zip code on the box. I tried to get it sorted out, then headed back to the trail.

The AT goes through a zoo, and the bear cage is the low point of the trail, 124 feet above sea level. The animals didn't look very happy being cooped up in the cages. The climb up Bear Mountain was easy and I blew by the tourists going up. The top has a view of the NYC skyline. I got a shin splint in my right leg, so the rest of the day was hot and painful. There were some nice views, however. There is now water at this shelter so I had to carry some two miles in from the Palisades Parkway visitor center. It was heavy.

This shelter looks nice from the outside, but is very trashy. It's too bad because everything else about the location is great. Tomorrow I need to do 19.6 so I'm close to a resupply, then I think I'll slow down for a day or two to let my leg rest some.

Half Way Done?

On Wednesday I crossed into Pennsylvania, and have now completed half of the states. However I am still about 100 miles north of the half way point.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 58, 8-15

--> Graymoor Ballfield, 18.8 miles

The NOBOs stayed up really late and talked loudly near the shelter. Once they left I was able to get some sloop. I hope the NOBOs tonight aren't partyers. Today felt like a long day. At the top of the first hill there was a 9-11 memorial flag painted on the rock and a view. The rest of the day was in the trees. My ankles started to hurt about 10 miles in. I made it, though. I'm at a ball field at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. The friars let hikers sleep in the field and pavilion. There is also an outlet and some electric lights, a very fancy shelter. Tomorrow I get my tew shoes. The last 780 miles have don a nimber on them. The thicker soles will be nice. There is also a deli one mile south where I'll get breakfast. Tomorrow will be good.

Most of the SOBOs from yesterday arrived, and Stinky Jesus and Nightwalker got in late. A fire was built, and a good time had by all.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 57, 8-14

--> RPH Shelter, 16.8 miles

I left this morning and quickly got to Nuclear Lake. Apparently there was a reactor there that had a meltdown, and now it is a lake. I got to NY 55 and walked to the market. I got there and it wasn't there, so I had to resupply at a gas station. When I got to NY 52 I went to the pizza place by the trail. After letting my calzone digest a bit I went to the shelter. There were a bunch of NOBOs, and some SOBOs got here eventually. One of the NOOBs knows someone from around here who brought some pizza and beer. It was really good. The NOBOs went off on their own and we SOBOs hung out and talked and drank. It was fun.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 56, 8-13

--> Telephone Pioneers Shelter, 21.2 miles

As I was eating breakfast I saw a bear walking through the woods. My first bear! It started to rain shortly after I left, and rained until I got to the 10 Mile Shelter. I stepped at the next shelter for lunch, even thought there was a terrible smell. A NOBO looked underneath and saw a dead possum. Mystery solved. After lunch I missed a turn and went the wrong way since I wasn't paying attention. I realized my mistake after about half a mile, and had to backtrack.

I stopped at the garden center for a while, and got a Coke and some chips. On the way up here I passed the largest oak on the AT. Dave the Pirate and Smiles are here, so it looks like I'm catching up to some other SOBOs.There are also a few NOBOs so we had fun. Tomorrow I'm going to the RPH Shelter, which I hear is really nice. And you can get pizza delivered there. The weather is also supposed to be nice the next few days, which is good news.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 55, 8-12

--> Mt Algo Shelter, 17.3 miles

I woke up earlier than usual because the mosquitoes woke up and began to attack. They weren't bad on the trail- I must hike faster than they can fly. There were a bunch of ups and downs this morning, then a few very flat miles along the Housatonic River. The trail goes up St. Johns Ledges, which have a good view, the down to Kent. I got to the road and walked into town, getting there around 2.

I resupplied at the grocery store, then went to the library to use the computer. After my time was up I got some more denatured alcohol, then went to the pizza place to have an early dinner. As I was walking out of town, a van pulled over and the guy offered me a ride. I opened the back door and was about to put my ack in when his foot slipped off the brake and knocked me down onto the sidewalk. I got a few cuts and scrapes. As I was picking myself up a truck pulled over and a guy got out. He started yelling at the van driver. Its nice to know there are random people looking out for my well being. I decided to just walk back to the trailhead. It was then .3 to the shelter.

No one else is here. The NOBOs are probably in Kent instead, and I don't think there are any SOBOs close behind me. The shelter has an open area in front with a stream. There aren't too many bugs which is even better. I'm sitting here munching on starbursts that I carried from town. On to New York tomorrow!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 54, 8-11

--> Pine Swamp Brook Shelter, 15.7 miles

I woke up, and shortly after I went upstairs breakfast was served. It was as good as dinner. I packed up and BIG Lu gave me a ride back to the trail. It was an easy eight to Falls Village where I went to the Toymakers Cafe for a second breakfast/ early lunch. The French Toast was tasty. The trail then walks along the Housatonic River for a few miles before going into the hills again. At the top of one hill I called home to get my new boots sent. My current ones only have to last 80 more miles.

The shelter here has quite a few mosquitoes. Hopefully it will be a cool night and they'll go away. Searcher showed up a bit later. I had passed her this morning near Falls Village. She says she was raised Amish in Ohio, but left them and now does other stuff.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 53, 8-10

--> US 44, 14.1 miles

What a beautiful day. I left before the others had packed up, and got up Mt. Everett. There were still a lot of low clouds around the summit, so there was no view. On Mt. Race, however, the view was great. Below the summit the trail walks along a cliff for half a mile, and it was a great day to be up there. Next was Sages Ravine, and the MA-CT border. Last New England state! The ravine was pretty, but the rocks were wet and slippery.

On my way up Bear Mountain I passed a lot of day hikers and weekenders. The summit was pretty busy. There is a "tower", and a nice view. I flew down the mountain and made it to Salisbury in about two hours. I did a resupply and got some ice cream. I called the Bearded Woods hostel, and they had a free bunk. He couldn't pick me up for an hour, so I went to the library to type some blog entries up.

The hostel is really nice. Hudson did all of the interior woodwork and it is beautiful. The attention to detail is incredible. I hung out all afternoon. Four NOBOs got in later. There was a family style dinner with really good food. We sat around talking for a long time afterwards. Its way past hiker midnight, and time for bed.

Post

I'm in the Greenwood Lake, NY, library. I got in earlier and did a resupply and got some lunch. When my hour is up on the computer I'll hike back up to the trail and go into New Jersey. Yesterday I passed the 800 mile mark of the trail. About 1350 miles left.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 52, 8-9

--> The Hemlocks Shelter, 19.7 miles

Well, there were no mosquitoes today. However, there was a lot of rain. It woke me up around 3:30. The rain stopped briefly around 7 when I left. By the time I got to the bottom of the hill it was raining again. It rained hard, it sprinkled, it rained hard again. I was soaked. It was fairly warm so I didn't need a raincoat. There was a long, flat section through fields and pastures. I saw two deer; I won a staring contest with the first one. I took a lunch break during a brief stop in the rain. At the last paved road in Massachusetts there was a monument noting that the last battle of Shay's rebellion took place there.

The climb up to here was pretty steep in the beginning. I did get a bit of a view on a ledge. There are two shelters here 1/10 of a mile apart. This one I'm at is a lot nicer. There are 2 other SOBOs and 2 NOBOs here tonight. It's really dark in the shelter, and it's raining again. I hope it blows over overnight. I don't want to walk to Salisbury in the rain.

We played Texas Hold 'Em, betting with rocks and acorns. It was fun, but kind of cramped in the loft. I was the third person to run out of "money", which is better than I thought I'd do.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Day 51, 8-8

--> Mt. Wilcox South Shelter, 15.8 miles

The pancakes this morning were good. And there were fewer people, so I didn't have to wait in line to get them. I packed up and hit the trail. It was not a great hike. Most of it was in the long green tunnel, with a few fields. Nothing exciting. I was going to go another 5.3 today, but I was tired, and my leg hurt, so I stopped. The water source for the shelter is well hidden. It took me about 20 minutes to find, and I nearly got lost. They should label it better. As I'm writing this the wind is picking up and its getting ominously dark. I think it will rain before I leave tomorrow morning. I also think I need a shower and laundry. Even I think my shirt and socks smell bad.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 50, 8-7

@ Upper Goose Pond Cabin, 0 miles

I got up when my bladder was full. I went downstairs and a few minutes later discovered that the pancakes were ready. If only all shelters had pancakes in the morning. I ate my fill and watched the NOBOs pack up and head out. The caretaker, Pete, found the keys to the canoes, so I went out. I was the only one here for most of the day. The pond is really nice. After canoeing I sat on the porch and read and ate. A very relaxing day.

This afternoon the NOBOs started arriving. Danger Dave got here first. Baloo said that she had started in Damascus, VA, so I might see her again down south. I like this group mare than those last night. One section hiker has a guitar so we had music all evening. It rained a bit, but the cabin is very comfortable. Tomorrow I have to pack up and go. I haven't looked at the guide, but I think I'll do around 20. It will be nice to be moving again. I feel rested after today.

Day 49, 8-6

--> Upper Goose Pond Cabin, 8.8 miles

Mr. Lowrance wasn't getting there until noon, so I took my time. I sat around in my bag for two hours, but it was still cold when I got out. The hike to the road was pretty quick. I got to the road at 11. At 12, he arrived and we drove into Lee. We went to a Peruvian restaurant. I got a rice dish that tasted a lot like fried rice. It was good. After a quick stop at the grocery store so I could resupply I was back on the trail.

Crossing interstate 90 was very exciting. I've driven under the trail enough times on my way to or from Rochester; it was nice to finally be on the bridge. Over a hill and I was at the cabin. I checked in and got a bunk. I spent the afternoon hanging out by the lake and with the NOBOs here. It was fun. When the real caretaker gets here I'll make sure its OK to zero tomorrow. He'll also be able to unlock the canoes so I can go out in those tomorrow. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day 48, 8-5

--> October Mountain Shelter, 25.7 miles

Today was really nice. It was cold this morning as I ate and packed up. The trail down Greylock is very nicely graded and parts seemed almost flat. There is a short roadwalk through Cheshire, which looked like a nice town. There is a monument there for a >1000 pound cheese the town gave to president Jefferson. I guess that's something to be proud of. About one mile south of town is an outlook, where I took a break and admired the view. The trail is on a fairly flat ridge until it drops into Dalton.

Partway along the ridge I realized I'd get to Dalton around noon. This was very exciting. Real food for lunch. In fact, I got to the north end of High Street just before 12. The trail is on that road for a mile to down town Dalton, where I stopped at Angelinas and got 2 veggie burgers and a large fries. The liquor store was next door, so I stopped by. The lady at the counter didn't card me. I must look older with this beard on. On my way out I stopped by Tom Levardi's to fill up my water.

At was a pleasant climb to Kay Wood Shelter. At the side trail I called Mr Lowrance to see what time he thought he'd get there. Since he was planning on being there earlier and today was so nice, I decided to go another 8.8 to here. It wasn't bad, the trail was mostly flat. I sang songs the last 2.5 miles. There was no one here when I arrived just before 6, and only one NOBO is here now. Its going to be a quiet night. Tomorrow I only have to do 7.2 to the road, so there's no rush. It will be night to see Mr Lowrance, and to get rid of all the extra stuff I have. Onward to Georgia!

Day 47, 8-4

--> Mark Noepel Shelter, 16.5 miles

It was a cold night, but I stayed warm enough in my bag. I did pack up and eat breakfast quickly, however. Once I hit the trail I warmed up. The trail was mostly flat to the border and I made good time. After some pictures and sighting the register I was on my way in Massachusetts. There was a descent with some big rocks near the top, to make me feel at home, then a pleasant stream side walk to the road.

At MA 2 I walk half a mile to the Stop & Shop. I got my resupply food, then decided to have an early lunch, so I got some hummus and crackers. I ate them under some trees in the parking lot. Very tasty. I walked back to the trail, walked up the roadwalk, and got back into the woods. It was kind of steep up the first part of Greylock, then there was a long boring ridgewalk, then a final climb to the summit. There are tourists up there. As a thru hiker I was practically a rockstar. It started raining, then hailing while I was inside having a snack. I left once it stopped. About a quarter mile down the trail it started raining and hailing again. What fun. The weather made it a quick three miles to the shelter.There are a bunch of NOBOs here, and they're all nice.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 46, 8-3

--> Seth Warner Shelter, 13.1 miles

Today was a short day and I didn't get out of my bag until 6:45. I hit the trail by 7:30 and quickly got to the road. The climb up the other side wasn't too steep. I signed the register at the top of the hill and then went to the shelter. Since my parents weren't home yesterday evening I called home and talked for a while. It sounds like everyone is doing well.

From there the trail goes over a couple of hills. Some of them were nice, and I had lunch on top of Consultation Hill. I wonder how it got its name. This shelter is the last one in Vermont. Tomorrow morning I'll cross into Massachusetts. I have to do a small resupply in North Adams, then I'll start climbing Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts.

Quiver showed up a bit later. His "pack" is is stuff wrapped in his sleeping pad. He is a super ultralight hiker if there ever was one. River Song also got in at dark. Chickenman spent his last Long Trail night here too. He said he has some extra days, so he plans to do Greylock.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pictures

Jeff sent his camera's memory card back to NH and asked me to post some pictures, so here they are...

~Mandy




































Day 45, 8-2

--> Melville Nauheim Shelter, 17.4 miles

Today was a lot nicer than yesterday. Everything was wet as I packed up. The rocks in Vermont seem less slippery than those in Maine. I stopped by the Kid Gore Shelter to use the privy. There was a mother there hiking with her three kids. The youngest looked only 5 or 6, and the sister had Down Syndrome. The second sister was a bit older. From there I climbed up Glastonbury Mountain, which has a look out tower. It was a good place to stop for lunch, but it was cold with the wind blowing.

The last 8 miles were a pleasant walk through Vermont forests. There were a few places where the trees opened up a bit and there was sort of a view. This shelter is pretty messy, probably because it is so close to the road. There were two sleeping bags set up when I arrived, so I wonder when the owners will show up.

The bags belonged to two NOBOs who had spent the day in Bennington eating and charging electronics. They didn't stay the night. A few others showed up but most of them tented. I got the level to myself.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day 44, 8-1

--> Story Spring Shelter, 21.1 miles

Real beds are very comfortable. After a good nights sleep I woke up and went downstairs. Kokopelli and Steady were already up. There was some complementary cereal for breakfast and I had a few bowls. I made my sandwiches with a real knife instead of my spork. I don't know if it was any easier or better. Around 8:45 five of us loaded up into the car for the ride back to the trailhead. ID thought one of my poles was stuck again, but it was just a twisted locking lever. After a quick thanks and goodbye I was on the trail.

Today it was pretty flat with the exception of Stratton Mountain. Stratton is said to be the place where Benton MacKaye conceived the idea of the trail. On the way is Prospect Rock which has a good view of Manchester Center. I ate lunch on a bench at Stratton Pond. There was a loon who came pretty close to the shore. After lunch was the climb. It was like every other climb in Vermont- good treadway, stairs, switchbacks, etc., except it was longer. It started to rain when I was a quarter mile from the top. Sadly, there was no view from the tower, so I can't say if the view would have inspired me to make a 2000 mile trail. It was a long climb down in the rain to the shelter.

I know I am definitely in the NOBO bubble because the shelter was full when I got here at 5. I set up my tarp and probably have more space out here. They said the weather is supposed to be nicer tomorrow, but I don't think I can trust NOBOs anymore. I've changed into dry clothes and eaten dinner, so I feel a lot better. It's still cool out, so I'll probably crawl into my bag and read until it gets dark.

Day 43, 7-31

--> Vt 11/30,  10.1 miles

Dad (the section hiker) woke up early, so I got up fairly early- at 5:30ish. I packed up and ate breakfast, finishing both my peanut butter and Nutella. I left at 6:30 and quickly got up to Peru Peak, then the other peak on the ridge. It was down to Mad Tom Notch where I had a snack. The trail then went up Bromley Mountain, and there were some views at the top. It was down a ski trail briefly, then back in the woods. I thought I saw the shelter, so I thought I'd sign the register, but it was just the privy.

It took about 30 minutes to get a hitch into town. I got a now pair of shorts, some food, and new tips for my poles. I ate a large pizza for lunch. I called the hostel and Jeff came and picked me up. I took a shower and did some laundry. It's been a relaxing afternoon. I ate my pint of Ben & Jerry's while watching a documentary on the PCT. Some other hikers made a good dinner which they shared, and there was some good conversation. There may be a movie later, then sleep. Back to the trail tomorrow!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

In Connecticut

I am in the library in Salisbury, Connecticut writing this. I got in a while ago, and resupplied and had an ice cream. I am heading to a hostel later this afternoon for a shower and some laundry. I feel a bit bad for the person on the computer next to me, because even I think I smell. I should be in New York in 2-3 days. Connecticut doesn't have very many miles. I'll type up as many posts as I can before the library closes, hopefully enough to last until I can get to a computer again.

Happy Trails!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Day 42, 7-30

--> Peru Peak Shelter, 19.6 miles

Today was another great Vermont day. I left the shelter at 7 and went up Bear Mountain. From there I dropped to the road then climbed the next hill. There were two spots where people had built hundreds of small cairns. From there it was a quick drop to Little Rock Pond. I had lunch there and then pushed on. I entered a Wilderness Area, the second of the trip. I passed three shelters in 1.7 miles on the climb up Baker peak. At the top was the best (and only) view today. I called the hostel and reserved myself a bunk for tomorrow. I hear its a really nice hostel. I hung out at the viewpoint for a while then came down to here. There were a lot of bog bridges around Griffith Lake, a nice way to end a 20 mile day.

Tomorrow is a quick 10 miles into Manchester Center for a resupply and some lunch. It looks like it will take 3-4 days after that to get to Massachusetts. I'm really starting to move now. There are only two other hikers at the shelter this evening, a NOBO LT hiker and a guy doing a SOBO section of the AT. Numbers stopped by to refill his water, and pushed on. He is the first SOBO to catch me so far. I'll probably be seeing a lot more of him down south.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Day 41, 7-29

--> Minerva Hinchey Shelter, 13.8 miles

I forgot to mention that yesterday one of my poles jammed shut. I couldn't pull it apart with my bare hands at the trailhead, so I had to hike to the shelter with only one pole. I felt naked and unbalanced and defenseless. It was a rough 6 miles. Luckily someone at the shelter had a Leatherman so I was able to unjam it for today.

Today started off cool and cloudy and just got better as the hours rolled on. I stopped at the Governor Clement Shelter at the bottom of Killington for a snack and some water. Just beyond the shelter is a temporary relocation because Irene wasted out a bridge. All of the NOBOs have been saying to just stay on the trail since at least NH. I made it across the unbridged river without a problem and took the trail rather than the roadwalk. I'm glad I did because I passed the 500 mile mark. I took a picture and signed the register and continued on. I did a long lunch break at the Clarendon Shelter.

There was some trail magic at VT 103. It turns out one of the people ding it is a coworker with my dad. It's a small world. The trail went over a gorge then back uphill. Near the top was a nice viewpoint. I stayed there a while until a bunch of people showed up. It was a quick two miles to the shelter.

No one else is here yet, but it is pretty early. My guess is that a bunch of NOBOs and LT hikers will get here and I'll have to share. (My guess was right.) There is a bag of kale here that a local woman dropped off. Its good to munch on and add to dinner.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 40, 7-28

--> Cooper Lodge Shelter, 6.3 miles

The bed in tho hostel last night was very nice. I slept well. There was a free breakfast of effs, homefries, and rice. Never had rice for breakfast before. I did a WFS, panting a bunch of stuff in the room they're renovating into another bunkroom. The place is run by some religious group. A ate at the attached deli. I had a sandwich called the Yellow Submarine. I kept hoping the Beatles would come on while I was eating it. I took the bus back to the trail; it was a lot easier than hitching. The climb up here was gentle, like the rest of Vermont has been.

I got to the shelter, dropped my pack, and tagged the summit of Killington. There were tourists there. They smell weird. The shelter is filling up as it gets cooler. There are a bunch of LT end-to-end hikers here. It looks like we'll have to share the shelters with them for the next few days. One NOBO told me a couple of neat spots to camp over the next few days. I'll probably try to get to the shelters early to get a good spot. My plan is to do 13-16 mile days so that won't be a problem.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 39, 7-27

--> Vt 4 (Rutland), 19.9 miles

I am at the Yellow Deli and Hikers Hostel in Rutland. It is run by some sort of religious group, and most of the thrus are calling it a cult. The hostel is pretty nice, and it is right by the grocery store.

I left around seven this morning and quickly got to the Lookout, a cabin on top of a hill with a platform on the roof. There was an incredible view from the top and not a cloud in the sky. At the road at the bottom of the hill was a cooler with coke and cookies left by two young girls. All they asked was that you sign their log with a fun fact about yourself. I told them what my favorite color is. All the NOBOs have been talking about a cooler full of beer at the road after that, and the promise of a cold one drew me up and down Quimby Mountain. Sadly there was nothing left when I got to the road. Last time I'll trust a NOBO. The trail was a lot more built up and busy after that road. It went by a lake, then through a state park. There were a lot of day trippers.

The trail then climbed up a hill to Maine Junction, where for SOBOs we join the Long Trail. My original plan was to stay at the shelter near there, but I decided that real food and a real bed in Rutland would be better, so I ran the last mile to the road. It wasn't too hard getting a hitch into town. The fellow who picked me up dropped be a few blocks from the Yellow Deli. I missed a turn walking over and inadvertently got a walking tour of downtown Rutland. After a shower and some dinner I am felling pretty good. I did my small reupply, and will probably walk back over to the Walmart for some Ben & Jerry's. Tomorrow I'll do a 6.3 mile day to the shelter near the top of Killington. I can then got tag the summit and get my last New England 4000 footer. It will also be the last time above 4000 feet until Virginia.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Day 38, 7-26

--> Winturri Shelter, 20.4 miles

Vermont is a lot nicer than I thought it would be. It is nice not having all of the rocks and roots. And the views are pretty good. The 20 miles today were not hard, and I felt like I wasn't pushing. Four miles in I got a second breakfast in West Hartford at the deli/general store. It was great. The promise of pie drove me the next 12. I met a section hiker who is a potter in real life. He said both of his wheels had broken, and he took it as a sign that he should go hiking. At the first shelter I had elevensies, and felt like a hobbit. I stopped at the top of one hill with a field and a view for the second half of lunch.

When I got to the farm stand they were out of pie. So sad. I got a muffin and an apple-filled pastry. They were good, but not as good as a blueberry pie would have been. Chef was there, and we talked for a while. From the road it was up to the shelter. There are 4 section hikers here, 3 NOBO and 1 SOBO. Its fun. Tomorrow I will either go into Rutland and stay in the hostel, or stay at the shelter 19 miles frome here.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Day 37, 7-25

--> Happy Hill Shelter, 7.3 miles

I feel good after putting a lot of food in me. I woke up and sat around in my bag because it was pretty cool out this morning. At 7:30 I packed up and hit the trail. I made it to the Coop at 8:15. As I was repacking my food outside, a hiker gave me the leftovers from his breakfast. There were three chocolate chocolate chip pancakes cut in half. They were delicious, and I didn't have to buy myself a second breakfast. I went over to the DOC (Dartmouth Outing Club) building to use the computer and have a place to put my pack. All the entries are now typed and scheduled to be posted. I got more Aquamira and denatured alcohol, and then got my free slice of pizza at Ramuntos. I then went to Lou's to get a burger and fries for lunch. I ate it at the DOC while my electronics charged. I went out and got ice cream for dessert.

After waiting for everything to digest a bit I headed out. There is a long roadwalk from Hanover, over the Connecticut River, through Norwich, VT, and up Elm Street and back into the woods. The general store in Norwich gives out free day-old sandwiches to hikers. There was some trail magic, watermelon, near the top of the hill. Once I got in the woods it was an easy 3.5 to the shelter.

There were three section hikers here when I arrived, bu they decided to push on into Hanover. So far it's just me here. The privy is really nice and big and new. Not as creative as some of the DOC's, but still very nice. Tomorrow I plan on doing 20.4 to the shelter. At the road at mile 17 there is a farm stand with pies which the NOBOs say is really good, so I want to get there before 5:30 when they close. That should motivate me to get moving in the morning.