Sunday, 7/26

AT Miles = 18.4 / 1600.5
Other Miles = 0.4 / 54.0
Total Miles = 18.8 / 1643.6

Miles to Katahdin = 577.8

After two days of easy slackpacking, I was back in harness today. It rained last night — surprise, surprise — and it was heavily overcast this morning, with everything still wet from last night. With all this rain the trail is ridiculously muddy, and slogging and slipping through all that mud seems to make the hiking twice as hard.

My original goal when I set out this morning was Congdon Camp, 14 miles in, but I got there around 2:30 and I started thinking about the descent down to Rt 9, fouir miles further north. The trail goes down a long set of rock stairs coming steeply down., and knowing that it was almost certain to rain tonight I knew I'd be coming down some very wet rocks in the morning. Rather than do that, I decided to push on to the next shelter, a couple miles north of Rt 9. Then, while hiking, I realized that when I crossed Rt 9 I would be just a few miles from Bennington VT, and its motels, and restaurants, and stores selling ice cream. Next thing I knew I was standing on the shoulder of Rt 9 with my thumb out, and soon after I was in a nice hot shower getting ready to venture forth in search of a nice dinner. Such is the life of a thru-hiker!

Seriously, I have been feeling a lot better after four days of eating good meals, and while it will surely make this hike more expensive, I am vowing to spend more nights in town and eat as well as I can.

I've just perused the map and guidebook, and my plan is to hike the 19 miles to Story Spring Shelter tomorrow, then on Tuesday up and over Stratton Mountain, down to Stratton Pond, and on to Spruce Peak Shelter, about 18 1/2 miles. That will leave me positioned for a 3 mile nero into Manchester Center on Wednesday.

I feel like I need to make some real progress northward this week, and this will be a good start.

Did you notice I just passed 1600 miles today?

"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Allen Freeman