Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Day 114: Olives and Trailnames

June 29: It was a largely uneventful day. It rained for much of the morning making the trails wet and muddy--as if they weren't wet and muddy enough already. Even after the rain stopped, it was still cold and wet all day.

Since getting into Vermont I've seen hoards of people--the combination of the AT merging with the Long Trail and crossing the border on a weekend, but today I got through that group and saw remarkably few people. Maybe the rain, cold and wet scared them all off. Didn't see much of anyone hiking northbound in my direction, and only a few people hiking southbound. None of which were interesting enough to even make a note in my journal about!

The numerous trees that had fallen across the trail yesterday didn't seem so bad today. In fact, very few trees were blocking the trail--suspiciously few--and I wondered if another hiker from the day before had done some impromptu trail work like I had. But the trails were so wet from the rain, I decided to start working on drainage issues. Whenever I'd come to a large puddle resting the trail, I'd carve a place for the water to drain off the trail. Most of the time it was clear where the water was suppose to drain, but over time dirt and leaves would clog the drain so I just had to clear that. It was a satisfying feeling to breech the clog then watch all of the water on the trail slowly drain out. =)

Near the end of the day's hike, it started sprinkling lightly again but I got into the Story Spring Shelter minutes later and mostly dry. When I arrived, Carlos was there. I recognized him but didn't immediately remember who he was since we had just met in passing several days earlier. Carlos set up his tent outside of the shelter, though, and was only in the shelter chatting with Olive, a northbound thru-hiker of the Long Trail who'd just started her hike a couple of days earlier.

Olive, when I first met her, introduced herself as "I'm Olive... but my real name is XYZ." (I didn't write her real name in my journal and have now long since forgotten it). She added that last part with a soft voice, almost like she was embarrassed to even admit it. I chuckled at that--she was clearly new to her trailname and still felt a little uncomfortable using it. I said she should introduce herself like she meant it! "Say, 'My name is Olive!' Period! Say it with confidence! Say it like you mean it!" She smiled at that, not taking it at all personally which is good because it wasn't mean to sound critical or mean. Just... encouraging!

Oh, shoot! I hate that....

When I arrived, Olive her stuff spread out across the entire shelter and she seemed surprise when I showed up thinking that nobody would be hiking this late in the day and she'd have the shelter all to herself. I hadn't really arrived particularly late--probably around 5 or 6 o'clock or so but I didn't note the precise time. It certainly wasn't late, though! I had plenty of daylight left to cook dinner, read, and write in my journal. Most people who go out backpacking for the weekend probably would have considered my arrival as late--by their standards. Weekend backpackers don't tend to hike as long or as far as thru-hikers. They aren't conditioned to walk 20 miles per day (I hiked 17.4 today--a short day!--but the trail work slowed me down) and tend to do less time hiking and more time lounging. She wasn't used to being around thru-hikers that are well-conditioned, however.

We'll just have to ford the creek since the bridge is closed. Definitely no way across this creek without getting one's feet wet!

In any case, Olive cleared half the shelter of her gear and I set up in the shelter. I knew of at least one person who was behind me and planning to stay at the shelter as well--Jiggs--and he showed up about a half hour later.

When he did show us, Olive told him in a loud, clear voice, "My name is Olive!" It was such a simple statement, but OMG, it was hilarious! She took my suggestion to heart! Jiggs introduced himself as Jiggs not thinking twice about her statement. When the introductions were completed, Olive turned to me and said, with a big smile on her face, "How did I do?"

"You did fantastic!" I told her. "Jiggs probably thinks Olive is your real name!" =)

Jiggs looked at us both like we were crazy, not knowing what was going on.

Olive cleared some more space in the shelter so Jiggs could get in. As far as we knew, there was nobody else behind us planning to get all of the way to this shelter, but we warned her that it was still early. More thru-hikers could certainly arrive before dark.

But nobody did. It would just be the three of us in the shelter, and Carlos sleeping outside in his tent. It was rather nice being in such a relatively empty shelter after the incredibly crowded shelters the previous two nights. I was glad to finally be out of that crush of people!

Very wet and muddy today!

Glastenbury Mountain lookout tower
The views from the lookout tower had a lot to be desired today!

The views did improve a bit later in the afternoon.... but it didn't last long!

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