Before I say anything else, I want to give a shout-out to Lori Versames and Ken & Ginny Zuska! Your kindness and generosity are very much appreciated!
Today was a short hiking day, only 5.3 miles, but the path felt like it was going on forever. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Today started at the deli with a delicious breakfast and a diet Snapple; we went into Pawling to get our maildrops, leaving our packs at the deli, then back to collect the packs, just in time for the rain to start. The first mile was a path through open meadows, with rain coming down steadily. Just as it intensified into a thunderstorm, we reached the edge of the woods, and an AT kiosk with an overhanging roof that we huddled under for 15 min until the rain slackened.
It was not difficult terrain, just muddy and wet and felt endless. At points there were boardwalks over particularly bad sections, and boards were wet and slippery; I slipped and went down hard at one point, and MS had to help me get up, from the way I landed, sort of sideways on my pack.
Finally we reached Wiley Shelter (meep! meep!), and claimed spots inside… Then, though we passed no one all day, other hikers began arriving. Six tenting, four in the shelter. Social time! One British couple (love the accents), some hikers we knew, some we did not. I donated much chocolate to the enjoyment of many. Conversation, dinner, then Morning Song and I made hot chocolate and sneakily added in the blacknerry brandy he has been carrying for days, because…
… Tonight is his last night on trail. Tomorrow, after we reach CT, his goal will be accomplished, and he will head into NYC. I will lose my hiking partner of the last eight weeks, and I am sad. 😦 But at least the last night was a great night.
After we all finished eating, Triple Crown hiker Seminole unexpectedly appeared with a backpack of beers he brought up from a road a mile ahead! That was true trail magic! I snagged an IPA, which combined with the brandy left me very mellow. But still sad. Though most of us at the shelter tonight are headed for Mt. Algo Shelter tomorrow, .3 miles from Kent, CT, MS will have breakfast with me, probably go back to sleep, then hike 2 miles to the border, where he will get a ride back to a NY motel, then catch a train Monday.
And me, I start ramping up mileage. 50 miles in CT, 90 or so in MA, I will make VT by July 1, in time to make it to my older brother’s retirement ceremony. I like the timing. But first, a zero in CT, since I crossed NY without stopping. I will miss the delis, too.
Oy, vey, but the pack was extra heavy today, since I crammed everything from packages into it. When I get to Kent, or wherever I take my zero, I will mail some stuff home. In the meanterim…
I hike on.