June 28, 2013
Today’s mileage: 19.6
Total mileage: 1529.4
So much for waking up early this morning and hitting the trail by 7:00! Thunderstorms and pouring rain kept us up for most of the night, so we slept in this morning to get a little more rest. I’m not really a fan of sleeping on mountains during thunderstorms.
The mosquitoes were out in full force this morning, just waiting for us to come out of our tent. I had all of my skin covered except my hands while we packed up and they still managed to bite through my socks and clothes! I left as soon as I could, to descend down the slippery rocks into the valley. I fell twice and had to take It slow to be sure of my footing. I started off the day feeling down again. My lack of sleep, falling, mosquito attacks, and knowing that it would rain at some point today, made me feel almost as bad as I had felt a couple of days ago. I looked out at the beautiful view from Mt. Bushnell and found my negative thoughts outweighing my enjoyment of nature. How did I let this happen? I needed a turnaround and I needed it soon.
Our hike through the Housatonic River Valley was painful. The mosquito population through the wet and shaded woods was out of control. The DEET had been sweat off and we fended off hoards of mosquitoes. We took a short break at the site of Shay’s Rebellion. I didn’t even realize that the small monument was on the trail, so it was cool to take a break at that spot. After reapplying DEET, we headed north once more and into the most concentrated area of mosquitoes we have ever encountered. It was absolutely ridiculous. My patience was lost and I wanted to throw my poles in the air and collapse. If I stopped moving though, they would only attack more. When we did stop for a moment to reapply DEET for the third time today, hundreds swarmed us and our sweaty packs. I couldn’t believe the sheer amount of them in one small area. Miles said he didn’t even remember them being this bad in the Amazon! We heard from a local that the mosquitoes were really bad this year, but not as bad as a few years ago. That made us feel a little bit better. But only a little bit.
On our climb up June and East Mountains, Miles stopped to filter water. I kept moving because of the bugs and we planned to meet up at the top of East. As I reached the top, it began to rain. I climbed up onto the massive granite overlook and looked out to the valley and the four mountains we had climbed yesterday. The giant clouds swept through on either side above me. The wind rid me of the mosquito plague as the cool raindrops dotted my DEET and dirt-covered body. I didn’t care that I was wet. I didn’t care that my pack was wet. I lay down on the cool granite and stared up at the sky. I let the rain cool me off both physically and mentally. I needed this moment. A moment of peace and a few deep breaths. When I sat up and looked out at the spectacular scene in front of me, I knew I couldn’t give up. It was one of the most beautiful scenes of our entire hike. Mt. Everett and its majesty, the glowing valley below, and the dark clouds parting on either side past me. It was a sign. I had to keep going.
And for the last seven miles of our hike today, the bugs tapered off and were even non-existent at times. We passed Benedict Pond as the sun sat low in the sky. Another memorable scene from the day. We are the only thru-hikers at the shelter tonight. Another couple is here, but we are tenting of course. Loud thunderstorms are overhead, so I’m blogging under my sleeping bag with my ear plugs in. I’ll do anything to avoid a storm! More than anything, I want a good night’s sleep. I most certainly need it.
Some of you have asked for mail drop addresses, so I will post those below. There won’t be many more after these, but I’ll post those as we move farther north. The ones I’m not sure of will be in Maine. If you do send us a package, please let us know they you have sent it, otherwise we won’t be stopping at that post office. Also, not required, but something to consider is sending the package in a flat-rate box. That way, if we can’t pick up the package for some reason, it can be forwarded to another post office free of charge.
Here is how to label the package:
Lindsey Gordon and Miles Bisher
C/O General Delivery
Name of Town, State zip code
Please hold for AT hiker
ETA: Month Day, Year
And here are the towns:
Cheshire, MA 01225
ETA July 2
Manchester Center, VT 05255
ETA July 7
Hanover, NH 03755
ETA July 13