I was never so glad to get to the shelter last night even knowing the short trail back to the AT in the morning would be uphill! The company was great and conversation interesting. Broadway and two other dudes were there, one of the older ones being from Jacksonville, NC. I told him about always going through late at night on our way to Okracoke. It was before you could pay at the pump and I would always tell Larry I loved him but that I was locking the doors. Man was that last filling station a scary, sketchy place! There was another older mountain looking gauntly man but he stayed in his tent. Once again we had a rain shower that was nice to sleep to, and sleep I did! The rain cover for the tent was pretty much dried by the morning. During the wee hours after the rain had passed I had to visit the ladies room. (You do know that I mean “squat someplace near my tent”, don’t you?) When I looked up, man, the stars were huge! I felt as though I could reach up and touch them twinkling so big and so bright! I wanted to just lay on my back and watch till the sun came up. Jordan, (Praying Mantis, as I have dubbed him) and I got back on the trail about 8:30. The trail was a more forgiving trail than the day before and the temperature was perfectly cool, keeping me from overheating. Now don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of uphill climbing to go around, rocks and all.
My lung is okay now, maybe was just inflamed from all my heavy breathing (while climbing..) and leg are fine. We only had to go another 4 miles or so to the top of Mt Greylock and we had this in the bag! Praying Mantis slipped to the ground while manuevering a rooty and rocky step down, no damage done. It wasn’t too much further and down I went! I got a few scrapes on my knuckles and pump knot on my forearm because my hand was attached to my hiking pole and when you fall you always seem to land on the pole with your hand going with it, dirt first! I was glad to have PM there to help me up! We made it to the top and was greeted with spectacular views! The wind picked up and was a bit on the chili side on the highest spot in Massachusetts. PM’s mother was coming to pick him up and I made a big and not so easy decision to get Ben to come back and pick me up on his way home from Bob’s house.
No, I am not quitting, just relocating to hopefully no future snow, wind, and freezing temperatures. I will pick up the trail south of Shenandoah and go southbound into Damascus, which is where I had to leave the trail. That section of the trail will then be completed with just a couple sections remaining for warmer weather. Since the White Mountains are so unpredictable and slow going, I was afraid I wouldn’t make it to Mt Katahdin before it snows, and THAT would be disappointing. I am sad too that I didn’t get to see my friend Saucy. She was right behind me and has tent and pole issues. She found a trail angel to drive her to trailheads so she could slackpack, what a difference that makes! So I found my own Trail Angel, Janice, who is Praying Mantis mother. She brought me back down the mountain to Cheshire where I tented in St Mary’s Church’s back yard. She was the answer to my plans coming together! She also raised a most polite and gracious son who I enjoyed every step with! It was the best three days on the trail having him to share it with! This little town in MA lacks in restaurants and as I was walking to Dunkin Donuts for dessert for later the gentleman at the church asked if I was hungry, asked for my hand, no not in marriage but to mark it with an X.
You see, they were having a picnic at the church and that got me in the door for some good food! The fresh corn on the cob was delicious as well as the watermelon. As we hiked out of town on Friday, Praying Mantis and I passed through a tall corn field, to which he was amazed and well.. for me, I just wanted to eat the corn! Now I got some! So that was my second trail magic of the day. I came back up to see if I could charge my phone and one of the ladies gave me a bag full of individual chips and desserts. I will go back to the trail a road away and pay it forward to the hikers I see. So I am back from the trail up the road and met Fresh Legs at the ice cream store. He is from Louisiana and SOBO and plans to finish in November in Georgia. He enjoyed the chips and conversation. He did tell me the mountains in VT and ME will test your rocking climbing and descending skills. I have none!
I also met No Collar from California. He got his name because he was once a blue collar worker, then a white collar worker, retired and is now a no collar retiree! He was NOBO. There are so fewer hikers now as the majority has left the trail for one reason or another. I just reread my blog and boy did I have lots to say, so much can happen in just one day! Well I thought there were no more adventures to share but as sit here a thru hiker, Otter, from Houston arrived. Shortly thereafter six more showed up. Sunshine, Otter’s girlfriend, Hawk from Detroit, and others that I didn’t get their names. One was from Eastern Tennessee. The other fellow needed water and I suggested where to go but no luck. He left one more time and a lady pulled up afterwards with a large supply of water bottles. We had a good laugh on that one!
Turns out he asked her previously where he could find water and she went and bought some, pure trail magic. They all enjoyed the chips and cupcakes! Also I was excited to see Lucky and Penny, the couple from Kentucky I stayed with in the Apple Orchard months ago with Try Try, who unfortunately hit her head on a rock in July, got a bad concussion and had to leave the trail. Lucky is very polite and always says Yes Mam, it is so sweet. I am still disappointed I didn’t get to see Saucy! With that I say Good Night and Sweet Dreams!