Day 61 (4.5 miles)

I am officiallly back in the trail. Ben so kindly brought me way north to catch the trail. I decided to start back at the point I would have been at if I hadn’t had to stop. There would possibly be those familiar faces from Georgia to Virginia that I will know and a lot more to meet. We rolled into Dalton, MA, around 5PM, got a bite to eat, and reserved Ben a room for the night further up the road. The trail goes right through the town. I won’t lie, I was a bit excited, anxious, and thinking “am I really this crazy?”. Some would answer yes but then again who isn’t a little crazy? Remembering the reason I started this journey I knew I had to continue. Some may wonder, has it helped in dealing with losing Larry. The answer is a big, fat yes! He is still on my mind and in my heart and can bring a tear or two, but it’s just easier. I have a ways to go but it’s a start!

Ben dropped me off at the trailhead and would have gone with me for a ways but due to the lateness we just said our goodbyes and “I love you”. The first camping spot was 4.5 miles and I wasn’t sure if I still had the same get up and go that I had before, and I needed that to go the 4.5 miles before dark. Due to the late start, loaded pack, and freshly healed leg, I had decided that I would stealth camp if I had to. Now if you remember I broke down and got the Guthooks App that shows you actually where on the trail you are, where shelters, camp sites, water, etc are and how far using GPS. I thought originally that I would stop on difficult parts of the trail and use it all the time just checking the distance. (Waste of hiking time and phone battery). Since I caved I am determined to use it sparingly. The woods were beautiful with just a few mosquitos. Deet takes care of that!

The trees were thick with very little underbrush, and the path was dirt and relatively easy to hike. I ran into a new kid resting on a rock, his name is Broadway from Virginia. He likes musicals and the show tunes and dancing in the woods. He doesn’t care for football at all. It will be interesting following him! Further up the trail I met two southbounders (SOBO). Although the sun was setting it was still growing darker and darker in the thick forest. With encouragement from Diesel, who is recently retired from the military and from Rhode Island, and a young fellow from Charleston, SC, whose name vanished in the wind, I was determined to make it to the camp site. I finally had to use my headlamp until I came to a clearing and I saw the two cutest deer who watched me and bounded off. Now since the woods were dark and I didn’t feel as though I went very far, I checked Guthooks to see how I was faring. Well, lo and behold the camp site, with a bear box and privy, was only .1 miles away! The darkness meant nothing at that point as I made my way up the trail. This is the second time I have hiked in the dark and will not make it a habit!

There are several tents already set up and the hikers snug in their bags probably wishing I would quit making noise. After putting my food bag in the bear box something scampered off at my feet. I looked back to see a tiny frog…I smiled. Putting up the tent was like an old familiar friend. I had gotten a lighter one while I was at home but eventually returned it for various reasons and stuck with my Hubba Hubba. (Yes, that is the name of it). I did, by the way, look at all my stuff before I departed and left some items I decided I could do without. I am not sure if it lightened the load but mentally it felt good. It’s a clear night with the moon shining brightly. Although I can’t see the stars due to the thick foliage, I know this will be a good night. It’s way past hiker bedtime, that will be hard to get used to, so I bid you a Good Night and Sweet Dreams! (Thank you for following me again!)

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