Start Milepost: 1338.0 Time: 06:10
End Milepost: 1356.9 Time: 13:30
Miles hiked: 18.9
Miles to go: 823.9
Weather: high clouds
Temps: 50’s°, High 70’s°
Blue Side trails:
Overnight: Anton’s On the Lake
Map: Click on map pin
I recovered nicely from the failed tent pole last night and got a good night sleep. Very restful. I broke camp at the usual time this morning even though I could have used some more rest. To make that point, I headed out of camp in the wrong direction. I forgot that the shelter was on a blue blaze off the white blaze trail, so I continued on the blue blaze for fifty meters before turning around.
The terrain today was easier than any in over a week. Still, I struggled up some of the hills. I told myself it will get better after a rest day this Sunday, but in the short term I just ate more energy food thinking it was part of the solution.
Seven miles into the day I was approached from behind and greeted with a: “Hey dude”. Great says I to myself and then thought about what Two/Four Breaks would say: “Don’t make assumptions!” So I did not. His name was Grill because he burned his fingernails while pulling an item off a camp fire. We hiked slowly (in my opinion) and talked for about two miles at which point he stopped for a cigarette break. I declared that I was continuing. Three quarters of an hour and a call to Scamper about tents later, Grill blew by me. I shudda had one of his cigarettes!
Shortly after noon I was four miles short of a full day and stopped to finish the half-loaf of rye bread and small sausages that had been lunch for two previous days. Energized, I set pace to close out the day and called to set up a motel room just off the trail only to learn it was booked. I called the listed church hostel only to learn via text that the hostel listing was an editing error. What to do for room and how to resupply for the next two days?
I was off trail not long after the calls and made a left turn to find a drink and perhaps a second lunch at a restaurant a hundred yards down the road. As I crossed the road pondering my uncertainty, an SUV pulled over and the driver inquired if he could give me lift into town? Since I was not sure where I would go, we had a discussion of my options. Cutting to the quick, Tom M. drove me to several possible hostel and motel options and none worked out.
He suggested that I shop for resupply and we would then investigate motel options in Warwick. While I shopped, he called to several motels that he enumerated upon my return. He had set up a two-night stay with a slack pack option tomorrow and a return to the trail on Friday – if I was interested. Since the motel owner generally does not accept AT hikers, Tom must have put in a good word for me.
It was almost too easy! As I took my pack, poles and resupplies from his vehicle, I asked how I might repay him? He declined to accept anything from me although he agreed to a burger in the nearby marina on Greenwood Lake if he was not busy with his girlfriend. I’ll check with him at 18:00.
I signed in to the motel and then swapped rooms because the shower control in the first room was broken. Although the beds in the new room were not yet made, I was allowed to shower before they were made so I could do a full laundry. Gotta set and keep priorities!
Gatorade is in the fridge cooling. And I have once again purchased more food than I need for three days (with eateries nearby). I am not complaining; just making an observation. It would certainly appear that I pulled a wild card from the deck after the first few cards failed to produce a solution for where to stay tonight. Or, perhaps my prayer said as I exited the trail was answered.
Funny, earlier I had spoken with two women after I learned the first motel was booked. One had suggested that I try a town on the other side of the next ridge line. At the time that meant five more miles and I still had no known resupply options. It is interesting how the solution played out; I am now sitting at a marina on the other side of the ridge line. Ponder that for a while! I did and it makes me incredibly appreciative to Tom, a motel manager who accepted a hiker, and to the Higher power.
Now to find Matt who agreed to drive me to the trailhead in the morning…