Friday, December 25, 2015

Day 121: Out of Rutland and back on the trail

July 6: I spent the morning continuing to work on these blog posts, but it was time to get back on the trail so near noon, I headed to the post office to mail my laptop ahead, ate a quick lunch, then jumped on a bus that would take me back to the trail.

Just before I left the hostel, I ran into Olive who had just arrived. I almost didn't recognize her, all cleaned up and wearing a small dress--loaner clothes from the hostel while she was washing her dirty ones. I'd only seen her a few times on the trail and was surprised at the long days she was putting in, sometimes over 20 miles in a day--which is more than incredible for someone who was only thru-hiking the Long Trail and still had "soft" feet. She had gotten about a day beyond Sherburne Pass, past where the Long Trail split off from the Appalachian Trail, and she had reported that as soon as the trail split, she saw absolutely nobody on the trail. She was lonely and therefore decided to quit the trail. It wasn't fun anymore. I was a little sad to hear that--I felt sure she'd make it to the end--but I could understand it too. Who wants to do something that they're not enjoying?

So of all the Long Trail hikers I met, she's the only one whose status I know. The other Long Trail hikers I met I passed like they were standing still and never saw them again. I never learned which if them made it the whole way to Canada or not, but I like to think that they all did. =)

I arrived at Sherburne Pass at around 1:00 in the afternoon--a late start to the day's hiking, but not too late to get in several miles of hiking. Before I started, though, I dropped into the Inn at Long Trail to check out the hiker box and discovered a can of fuel. I poured some of it into my fuel bottle, but immediately noticed that the liquid formed a separate layer of fuel from what was already in there. I read the small print on the can and realized that it did not appear to be denatured alcohol. I wasn't entirely sure what kind of fuel it was, actually--it wasn't entirely clear from the labeling saying something generic like "stove fuel."

I guessed it was probably white gas and tried pouring out the top part of my fuel. I got most of it out, but some had mixed in with my denatured alcohol and I really wasn't sure how that would affect it. I might be going hungry on the trail if it wasn't suitable for a soda can stove!

Then I hit the trail, hiking hard to make up for my late start.

The Sherburne Pass Trail reconnected with the Appalachian Trail a couple of miles into the hike and I was back to following the white blazes.

The trail was moderately difficult, and I pulled out 13.5 miles by 7:00 in the evening. I stopped between shelters, wanting to put some distance between myself and the large crowd of hikers immediately behind me. I didn't want to stop at the one shelter I passed--too early for that!--but I couldn't make it to the next shelter before dark. It wasn't supposed to rain during the night, though, so I decided to cowboy camp between shelters.

I skipped making dinner, mostly because I stopped hiking so late in the day and didn't want to fumble around with cooking and cleaning dishes in the dwindling light. Not to mention that I wasn't entirely sure how well my fuel would work with my accidentally mixing some other substance into it. I didn't want to mess around with that if it become a problem. So I ate a few snacks for dinner and called it a night.

Kent Pond

Still Kent Pond (it's a big "pond"!)

Thundering Brook Rd

Artwork in the Stony Brook Shelter--love it! =)

Hope y'all aren't scared of heights! =)

Trail magic!

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