June 25, 2013
Today’s mileage: 17.3
Total mileage: 1479.9
What can I say about today?
Today was tough for both of us. No, we don’t want to quit, but we understand why people hike this far and then give up on their thru-hike. A combination of the heat, humidity, thunderstorms, nagging gnats and mosquitoes, and realizing that you’ve still got a ways to go are just a few reasons.
We hiked the .3 down to the road this morning and walked into Kent to get breakfast and resupply. We spent a couple of hours at J.P. Gifford’s charging our phones and having some amazingly good breakfast sandwiches and mixed berry muffins. After putting off our departure for too long, we quickly stopped at the gas station for resupply and headed back to the trail at 11. Kent was a nice, small New England town and there were a lot of people curious about our hike.
For some reason, I thought Connecticut was fairly flat, mostly hiking along the Housatonic River. Boy, was I wrong about that. Connecticut is tougher than we thought and we’re worn down from the climbs in the heat and humidity. We’ve got a few shorter days coming up that we are looking forward to. Our patience was wearing thin today with the constant swarm of gnats and mosquitoes. We had to apply DEET three times today because we either sweat it off or the rain washed it off of our skin. Unfortunately for us, I think the bugs are only going to become worse. I have a bug head netting now, but I only use it at camp because it would be too hot to hike in. I’m thinking we’re going to up the DEET from 30% to 98%. Yes, they are that bad!
We had a very steep descent down to the Housatonic, where we did have about five miles of flat terrain. We took a break near the river at a stream. It was nice and cool with no bugs in sight. But just like yesterday, after our break, the thunderstorms hit us hard. I was actually really scared for a few minutes as the thunder rumbled just overhead. As I have mentioned before, I absolutely hate thunderstorms, so hiking in them is a nightmare for me. I wanted to cry when I looked at the ten day forecast tonight: 10 days of thunderstorms. Are you joking!?
We had to take a detour around a high-flowing stream which added almost a mile to our day. At that point, we were soaking wet, hot, tired, and really frustrated with the bugs. The guide book was tucked safely away in my pack so it wouldn’t get wet, so we had no idea how far we had left to hike this evening. Needless to say, we were both on the edge of having a breakdown. All of the small things were adding up and we had had enough.
We didn’t get into camp until 8:30 and the bugs are horrible here just like at the shelter last night. We decided to forego cooking dinner and just set up our tent and take shelter from the bloodsuckers for the rest of the night. We are so relieved to have a respite from the bugs and we’re glad to be in dry clothes. I hate to be so negative with my post tonight, but today was just a really tough day for us. We have about 700 miles left in our hike, which feels so close to the end, yet so far. There are just so many factors as to why we feel down. I really, really hope that things start to turn around for us soon.
I would like to say though that reading everyone’s kind comments from yesterday’s post are very encouraging for us. When things are going rough as they are now, hearing from all of you makes our day better and keeps us trekking on!
I just need to remember to take things one day at a time.