For 98 miles in
The photo below was taken early one the morning (I think on a ridge above Manchester Center)
I began my first full day in
A beaver swimming with a branch in it's mouth.
With so many people in the shelter, things are noisy and I’m up early, leaving at 6:15 AM. I have my breakfast later, on the trail. By 10:15, I’ve clicked off nine miles and stop at the fire tower on
Early the next morning I’m chased out of Stratton Pond by mosquitoes. It’s still cloudy at 7 A.M., but not so foggy. I make good time and have great views from Prospect Rock. I decide to make it an easy day and at
I leave the hostel at 6 the next morning and after a few minutes, am given a ride back to the trail head. The skies looked clear in town, but back on the mountain, it’s cloudy. By 8 AM, I’ve climbed to the top of
The skies did clear off and I make good mileage in the morning, stopping at Lost Pond Shelter for lunch. Todd, who I’d met in
The next morning I’m up at 5:45 AM. In the early morning light, I notice that the shelter is in good repair, for which I can thank Teri as this is her section of the trail. I fix my oatmeal and eat, but it doesn’t quite fill me up. I start out early, hoping to get some miles in before it gets too hot. Nettles line the trail and my legs are constantly burning. At 10:30, I stop at an overlook for the
Twice today I take a wrong turn and both times take a mile or so detour. It’s hot. In the early afternoon, I stop at the Clarendon Shelter and sleep for two hours. When I wake, it is 92 degrees in the shelter. Not counting my detours, I’ve only made about 8 miles, so I push on to the Governor Clement Shelter, stopping at 6 PM. After taking a dip in a nearby pool in the creek, I spend the evening fixing dinner and reading Steinbeck. While reading, a “mini-bear” (Chipmunk) comes up next to me and eats peanuts out of my hand.
Sunset on Stratton Pond
I leave the shelter at 7 Am on July 24. A few miles down the trail, I come upon the top of the ski resort for
A few miles down the trail, I’m approached by a man who tells me about his bed and breakfast adjacent to the trail. In addition to the regular B&B, Mountain Meadows (as the place is known) also has bunkrooms for hikers, for which he charges $8 a night plus a few bucks for breakfast in the morning. He continues telling me about how he has a large group tonight and is doing dinner and needs help. If I would help him with dinner and clean up, he’ll let me stay and eat for free. I was hoping to make another five miles, but decide why not. I follow him to his place and, after taking a shower and wash out my clothes. My tasks are fairly easy. Fixing the drinks and helping man the grill. Afterwards, as we used paper plates, there isn’t much to clean up. I talk to the guests and to the few hikers who trickle in. As I want to be on the trail early the next morning, I’m shown where to get cereal and milk and fruit in the kitchen. I’m glad to be sleeping in the bunkhouse, as heavy thunderstorms move through the area during the night.
I’m up before dawn on the 25, ready to get back on the trail. I have breakfast with Marjorie, a south bounder, who is hiking the
Marjorie and I walk out to the trail and each takes off in our respective directions. The trail is wet, and as dawn breaks, I am hoping it’ll be a good day. I put in ten miles, stopping at “The Lookout,“ which should have a good view but there is still a lot of haze. In the west there are more thunderclouds building. I’m caught in a storm in the afternoon, hiking in the rain with lightning popping all around. There’s no place to stop, so I just keep walking. Between storms and along one of the road walks, I pass a house where a man is sitting on the porch. He doesn’t look like he wants to be bothered and as I get in front of his house, two dogs take off after me. I turn to face them, reaching down to pick up a stone. When they get closer, I point my stick at them, a technique that has always caused threatening dogs to back off. This time, the led dog which looks to be a Rottweiler, grabs the stick in his mouth and tries to twist it out of my hand. I twist back and he lets go. The one dog leaves, but the Rottweiler comes back growling and I whack him on the head. The dog grabs the stick again and I yell at the man on the porch to call off his dog. I keep backing up and after a bit, the dog lets go of the stick and remains standing in the road growling. I keep walking backwards, my stick ready as he continues snarling. I’ve covered some ground before I the dog heads home and I feel safe to turn around. In a trail register at the shelter that evening, I learn that several others have had similar problems with the dog.
I arrive at Cloudland Shelter about 7:30 PM and quickly fix a chicken noodle dinner and chocolate mint pudding for dinner. I’m camping with two fathers and their young sons, both around the age of five. One of the dads is an administrator for
I’m out early on July 27, hoping to make
I stop for lunch in
After lunch, I cross the river into