July 11, 2013
Today’s mileage: 15.4
Total mileage: 1714.9
As a part of our hiker rate at the inn, we got to eat a big breakfast before hitting the trail. I ate a few delicious blueberry pancakes, bacon, orange juice, and hot chocolate and Miles chose the French toast, bacon, fruit, and milk combo. We were fueled up and ready to go. We enjoyed our short stay there and everyone who worked there was really nice.
We had a hard time hitching a ride down to the deli and marketplace where we planned to resupply. Luckily, the local bus pulled over and the driver gave us a ride down the hill, free of charge. Cleveland and Push-up were on the bus when we got in, coming back to the trail from Rutland. We hadn’t seen Push-up since Damascus, so it was cool to see him again since we thought we may never see him again. We packed out sandwiches from the deli for lunch, packed up our food bags, and headed back to the trail. As we walked down the side trail that took us back to the AT, I saw a bear run across the trail about 30 feet in front of us! Even though Miles was ahead of me, he was looking down and missed the split second glance of the bear. It was the first bear I had seen since Pennsylvania. My guess is that the dogs that we came across not long after, had scared it off.
Not long into our hike, we stopped at Thundering Falls and talked to a family from Ontario. As they left, the gave us a bag of cherries to take with us. We certainly don’t eat enough fruit out here, so we were thankful for their generosity. We had a steep climb up Quimby Mountain that really made us aware of how tired we were. It’s been ten days since our last zero, so I think our bodies are ready for a rest. Luckily, the humidity was lower and we had a break from the rain today. We made it up the mountain and down to the shelter for a lunch break. There was a group of seven hikers at the shelter when we arrived, a scene we haven’t since the south. After we arrived, four more hikers came in to join. Most of them were section hikers, but thru-hikers Cleveland, Push-up, Minnesota Pete, Rabbit, and Lucky Strike were there as well. That’s a lot of thru-hikers in one place for this far north! We enjoyed catching up and reminiscing about the beginning of our hike. Lucky Strike told us that he got struck by lightning on Tinker Cliffs in Virginia. How crazy is that?! He said it took him down and cramped every muscle in his body. His hands were stuck in a cramped position for a few hours before he could move them again. This didn’t help my thunderstorm anxiety whatsoever.
We got a late morning start, so we knew that we would get into camp late. We decided to check out The Lookout, which was a little off trail. On top of the mountain, we found an enclosed cabin with a covered deck and a ladder up to the roof. Everybody was hanging out here when we arrived and deciding whether to push on or not. There wasn’t a water source up here, so we were originally going to push on. But, in the end we decided to call it a day and stay the night here with Minnesota Pete and Rabbit. We definitely made the right choice. I finished my sandwich for dinner and we made do with the water that we had left. We set up our sleeping pads in the loft and brought in the newly built bench to sit on while we talked downstairs.
As sunset approached, we all climbed up to the roof deck where we had one of the most beautiful views of our entire hike so far. As the sun set, we had a view of Killington and Pico to the south, the Long Trail to the north, and the White Mountains to the east. The sun disappeared behind the mountains and the colors in the sky went wild. Deep oranges, vivid pinks and purples, and scorching reds filled the sky in the west. It was a scene we hadn’t seen in so long. It was a perfect night as we admired the beauty of the Appalachian Trail: what we had conquered and what was yet to come.
I’m finally feeling myself make a complete turnaround from our worst moments in southern New England. I feel like the old Lindsey again; the thru-hiker who found the good in every day, no matter what happened. The thru-hiker who slowed down, took the side trails to a view, and decided to cut the day short to soak in a beautiful sunset. With less than 500 miles to go, the Whites on the horizon, and Maine in the distance, I feel fully rejuvenated and ready to enjoy every last second of our thru-hike.