Day 103: Mt. Algo Shelter to Pine Swamp Brook Shelter

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.

25 thoughts on “Day 103: Mt. Algo Shelter to Pine Swamp Brook Shelter

  1. You can do this. Remember running track and you just find it within you to finish the race putting all you have into it, and then you lean in. I have witnessed this and know that my girl has it in her to FINISH this. Xoxoxo

  2. Positive thoughts Miles and Lindsey, we’ve been following your blog daily here from the UK. We are going to be thru-hiking next year and you are our inspiration! You’re doing Fantastic! Christine & Nigel.x

  3. you guys are doing amazing! take it one day like a time, as you said, and remember that this is an amazing opportunity that you’re so close to finishing. hang in there as best you can.

  4. Grew up in Maine and each year look for journals of hikers from the state and have been reading yours throughout your journey. SOBO section starting July 3 in Hanover NH so I hope to meet up along the trail. Keep walking … the journey is the destination.

  5. Flash!
    You are exactly where I am! I am feeling the same way and just about ready to hang it up. I am going just one day at a time and will see what happens. Wish I was with you guys and we could commiserate together……I like your post because it describes my feelings exactly!
    Phys Ed

  6. I have been following you guys for a couple of months now. I came across your blog while tracking a trail chaplain “Hoosier” who is thru hiking. I love your posts, keep your heads up and forge ahead. You guys are awesome and I look forward to reading your blog and seeing you complete your hike. God bless, Spurdog.

    Spurdog. Sent from my iPhone

  7. Now is the time to take zero’s and spend as many nights in hostels as you can. Take everything in small chunks. Great Barrington is a nice town, there is a hostel on the north side of town, the Upper Goose Pond Cabin, a days hike north of Great Barrington is a must stay, Don’t forget to stop by the cookie lady, Tom Lavardies in Dalton (house right on the trail-look for the hiking/ski poles at end of his sidewalk) is a must stay and free plus he’ll drive you into town for resupply or ayce buffet and he’ll slack pack you over Greylock, then from North Adams 3 days hike into Manchester NH a must stop town and stay at the Green Mountain House Hostel best on the trail. You’ll make it, just eat and rest as much as you can and the blues will pass

  8. Guys,
    Today is a brand new day. Embrace it.
    I have followed you since your start and look forward to recieving your next post each day.
    You are a positive force that brings a smile to my face every time I read about another tough but fun day, or a side trip with friends.
    Keep pushing. Work your way through this tough part. You still have many great things to see and learn about the trail and yourselves over the remaining miles. Stick together.

  9. Just figuring out how to comment!! I have enjoyed reading your daily blogs very much! What an amazing journey you are on. Keep up the good work, hang in there:)

  10. You two can and will endure and push through. Know that there will be more bugs and heat ahead, but more rewards too as the views and amazing forests get better than what you’ve seen over the last 150 miles. I agree with Sit a Bit: swim at Upper Goose Pond, stay in Dalton and Manchester Center, enjoy Stratton Pond, and even stay at the Inn at Long Trail. Before you know it, you’ll be going through the Whites and back into Maine. -Lunatic GA-ME 2009

  11. A overheard a very wise man tell a young girl once that in difficult days, “it isn’t day by day, and it isn’t hour by hour; it’s minute by minute.” Continue to breathe, enjoy the enjoyable moments, take breaks when you need (even if they aren’t planned), and HYOH. I think you both have so much more to see and do on this adventure! I look forward to your posts every day and hope to keep reading them!
    ~Sari

  12. Hang in there guys! I read your journal every morning to start my work day with a cup of tea. You are an inspiration to me! Please don’t forget to post your upcoming mail drops.

  13. You guys are doing great! Remember the rule: never decide to quit on a rainy day. It seems like the next few days are going to be challenging, but you have much to look forward to that will make hiking in all of these thunderstorms and with all of these bugs worth it!!

  14. the bugs sound horrible, but look at all you’ve been through. i know you guys will hike on and push through these tough days. everyone who knows you, knows this. you’ll get to see louie soon — hopefully in VT. he has changed so much since you left. he can’t wait to show you all his new tricks =] love y’alls.

  15. Please know there are many, many people rooting for you both. I think you should heed the advice to stay in hostels for a few nights. Waking refreshed and clean and dry in the AM will get you off in better spirits. XO,

  16. A little trail magic for you two. I was in Manchester VT this morning and went over to the Green Mountain House Hostel and saw Jeff the owner and paid for the two of you to spend a night (best hostel on the trail. I hope you take advantage of it. If you decide to stay, and I hope you do, he said to call him a couple of days before you get there so he can make a reservation for you and save you a room. If you decide you don’t want to spend a night in Manchester, please call him an let him know. Manchester, is a three day hike out of North Adams (2.5 days depending on how fast you are hiking.). When you get to the road just hitch into Manchester (go left from the trail) it is a very hiker friendly community and you won’t have a problem getting a hitch there (Jeff will drive you back to the trail), and when you get to town just give him a call after you do all of your eating, etc., he usually picks up hikers at the Price Chopper Supermarket (next to EMS, Pizza Joint, and across the street from Ben and Jerry’s). The hostel info and number is in AWOL’s guide. Hike on, your mood will change after Dalton, you’ll see.
    NOTE: if your parents are reading this maybe you can email or text them so they get this message in time.

  17. You guys have come such a long way already! So proud of you and Miles Bisher! So hike really fast and come on home 🙂 miss you!

  18. I have been following you for a few months also. Love reading your post nightly. I am planning to through hike in a few years and am very inspired by your stories. Hang in there. There will always be rough times, but things soil get better.
    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us!

  19. A little trail magic for you two. I was in Manchester VT this morning and went over to the Green Mountain House Hostel and saw Jeff the owner and paid for the two of you to spend a night (best hostel on the trail. I hope you take advantage of it. If you decide to stay, and I hope you do, he said to call him a couple of days before you get there so he can make a reservation for you and save you a room. If you decide you don’t want to spend a night in Manchester, please call him an let him know. Manchester, is a three day hike out of North Adams (2.5 days depending on how fast you are hiking.). When you get to the road just hitch into Manchester (go left from the trail) it is a very hiker friendly community and you won’t have a problem getting a hitch there (Jeff will drive you back to the trail), and when you get to town just give him a call after you do all of your eating, etc., he usually picks up hikers at the Price Chopper Supermarket (next to EMS, Pizza Joint, and across the street from Ben and Jerry’s). The hostel info and number is in AWOL’s guide. Hike on, your mood will change after Dalton, you’ll see.
    NOTE: if your parents are reading this maybe you can email or text them so they get this message in time.

    1. Wow, a LITTLE trail magic? That’s some industrial strength trail magic! You’re a saint.

      “Life didn’t turn out the way I expected” Roy Hobbs–‘The Natural’

      ________________________________

  20. I’m struck by your struggle, but I am ever so grateful for all those who support you. The responses to this blog left me in tears. Especially you, Sit a Bit. My thought was – take a zero day – or two. you are truly magical. I know you two and I know you are nowhere near getting off the trail. That competitiveness that you both possess down to your toes has yet to be challenged – – much. I’ll toss in a zero day/night for you two. Take it when and where you need it. Love you lots, The other Mom

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