Friday, November 13, 2015

Day 103: And Into Connecticut!

June 18: There was a 30% chance of rain in the morning, so I was grateful when no rain materialized. Later in the day, things even cleared up and created a pleasant day for a nice, long walk.

I stopped for a second breakfast at Nuclear Lake. I'm not sure how it got its name, but it's a pretty lake by any standards. Maybe the lake is radioactive, however, because I saw the biggest turtle I've ever seen at the edge of the lake before it saw me and dived into the water out of view. And several baby geese, which were absolutely cute and adorable.

The trail passed the Native Landscapes & Garden Center where it crossed NY 22, so I dropped in and bought myself a Coke and signed the logbook they kept for hikers inside. There was also a note pinned up for Tortuga--apparently his parents were worried about him and looking for him.

I had to laugh. I haven't met this other Tortuga on the trail, but I had been hearing about him for weeks. Apparently, from what I heard, he started hiking north from Harpers Ferry and everybody I met who had met him never had anything nice to say about him. One person told me that he liked to brag about his prowess at playing Minecraft or something, and that he was one of the top players. As if anyone thru-hiking the trail would care. (They didn't--it just annoyed them.)

I joked that I'd have to catch up with him and tell him that he'll need to change his name--that the trail wasn't big enough for two Tortugas. And anyhow, he was giving me a bad reputation!

I had been catching up with him. I'd been hiking for over three months now and was in excellent shape. This impostor only started in Harpers Ferry and wasn't in shape. I could see from the register entries that I was gaining ground on him quickly and I expected to catch up with him within days....

Then he quit the trail. I learned about his quitting the trail from the register. A hiker wrote that Tortuga had quit the trail and left all of his gear in the shelter. He wasn't even going to carry his gear out. Nope, he was going to leave it there and whoever wanted it could have it. This happened at the same shelter where the "Blueberry Incident" took place, and he had quit the trail three days before I arrived there. By the time I arrived, all of the abandoned gear was gone.

At least, I thought, he wouldn't be giving Tortugas a bad reputation anymore!

Then a day or two later, I turned on my phone to get online and discovered I had a voicemail from McGuyver who told me that my parents were worried about me and looking for me.

What the hell? I talked to my mom just yesterday, and I'm pretty sure my dad wasn't calling around trying to figure out where I was since he had a stroke and can't really talk. And anyhow, they'd been separated for decades! They certainly weren't both looking for me. And I figured--it was that other Tortuga. *shaking head*

He's not even on the trail anymore and he's still causing me trouble!

Anyhow, I got the note on the wall taken off so people would stop telling me that my parents were looking for me.

Leaving the nature center, the trail crosses a wide-open meadow where I saw a groundhog frolicking. Good thing you weren't doing that when Blueberry walked by, I thought! As it reentered the woods further up the trail, there was a register. I was amused to read multiple entries about hikers being attacked by birds in that meadow. I hadn't been attacked by any birds, but several people I knew had written about it including Superman and Heavyweight. I was a little disappointed that I missed all of the excitement. I wanted to be attacked by birds too! I wanted something to write home about!

I'm sure that's a certain sign of my growing insanity.
 Late in the day, I crossed the border out of New York and entered Connecticut. It was an uneventful border crossing, at a dirt road. Boring, all things considered.

A short while later, I arrived at the 10-Mile River Shelter. The shelter was packed with Q, Dosu, Silent Bob and Time, and others had set up camp nearby despite there being one space left in the shelter.

And it turns out--nobody wanted that space because it was right next to a bee hive! Bees were flying in and out of a crack in the wall, and it was making people nervous. They had originally tried to cover the crack before I had arrived, but that apparently made the bees very angry and they started to swarm. They unblocked the crack and decided the best policy was just to leave the bees alone.

I didn't have any qualms about sleeping next to the hive, though. I left them alone, and I figured they'd leave me alone. Which is exactly what happened.

After darkness descended, the fireflies came out in force. The shelter was situated in front of a good-sized meadow, and we could see hundreds and hundreds of fire flies flitting around it. It was an awesome sight, and they lit up the meadow all night long. Every time I woke up during the night, I'd look for them, and there they were. At 11:00. At 2:00. Even at 4:00 in the morning, those fire flies were still going strong.

What a great night!

Nuclear Lake was gorgeous, but don't eat any of the three-headed fish!

I wasn't fast enough to get a photo of the biggest turtle I've ever seen, but I did get this one of the baby geese following mama!

The Telephone Pioneers Shelter had a special feature I'd never seen a shelter before....

A little mini lending library! How awesome is that! I wish every shelter had one!

The Dover Oak is the largest oak tree along the AT with a girth of 20' 4" and estimated to be over 300 years old.

This railroad stop will whisk you away into New York City! But I didn't have time for that....

I stopped here for a Coke and put an end to the rumors that my parents were looking for me!
Groundhog! Thank goodness Blueberry didn't see it!

It's official! I've made it into Connecticut! =)

Sleeping next to a bee nest had one distinct advantage: I had a lot of opportunity to get photos of them coming and going!


Karolina said...

Wow, fireflies! I'd like to see them... I was a little child last time I saw them, I barely remember how they look like but I have very fond memories about my grandpa telling me steries about fireflies...

Anonymous said...

Lovely photos in today's post.

Grumpy Grinch said...

Looks like looks like the Little Free Library movement is alive and well on the AT!