AT 2017: Day 110, Telephone Pioneers Shelter to Schatighcoke Mtn. Campsite

It's a lesson to me

Before I fell asleep last night and as soon as I woke up this morning, I thought about my response to Stick yesterday. I shouldn’t have let it bug me when he told me how much sooner than me he had arrived in camp.

I usually try to stay on an even keel. I know I should not have snapped at him, so why did I?

The more I thought about this, I realized the trail was in part to blame.

DateSaturday, July 29, 2017
WeatherCloudy and cool in the morning, then partly sunny and pleasant
Trail ConditionsOccasionally rugged, especially on the ascent of Schatighcoke Mountain
Today's Miles18.3
Trip Miles1474.1

When you walk for miles and miles in solitude, you have a lot of time to think. You have a lot of time to turn thoughts over in your head, which can multiply their effect.

A little irritation can become a big annoyance if you let it, and that’s what I did.

Eventually, I realized I needed to take responsibility for my bad attitude. It wasn’t Stick’s fault. By his own admission, he repeats himself without realizing he’s doing so. And he couldn’t be purposefully reminding me how much slower I hike than he does because it’s not his nature to gloat in that way.

After we finished packing we stopped at a nearby stream to refill water bottles, and that’s where I apologized to Stick.

He seemed to brush off being offended. I wasn’t sure if he was being gracious or genuinely didn’t notice my irritation yesterday, but I was glad to know we were still on good terms.

About 30 minutes after leaving the stream, we arrived at Dover Oak, which is said to be the largest oak tree on the AT.

It didn't appear to be much bigger than Keffer Oak, which I passed in Virginia on Day 53, but it was definitely showing its age.

If you’re keeping track, this tree is 20 feet thick and 114 feet tall. It's estimated to be 120 years old..

Stick left and I stayed behind to post a photo of the tree on social media. Then Pippi arrived and asked me to take a picture of her hugging the tree.

Beyond the tree the trail continued for about a mile through a large meadow.

When the trail turned at a swamp, it went over a narrow boardwalk that was overgrown with weeds.

Then the trail turned again, going through the swamp and over a river, which was fittingly named Swamp River. This boardwalk was much wider and clear of weeds.

As I walked along the boardwalk I met two section hikers, Walter and Eric.

Eric told me he wanted to do a thru-hike and was saving money for it.

At the end of the boardwalk I met two trail maintainers, who were the reason why this section was so nicely maintained. The first maintainer told me her name was Landshark.

The other one, The Edge, was in the muck cutting back thick vegetation. I thanked them both for their efforts.

Just before reaching a highway, the trail went over a set of railroad tracks. Nearby was a platform, the only rail station directly located on the trail. Trains from New York City make stops here on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays to provide easy access to the trail.

The trail then led me through another large field. This one was over rolling hills. A large, unusual water tower stood at the top of one hill..

At the end of the pasture the trail entered Pawling Nature Reserve, a 1,060-acre preserve that is managed by The Nature Conservancy.

The trail was thick with weeds here too.

When Stick and I stopped for lunch we met a day hiker who shared tips for the section ahead. Julia warned us that it would be easy to miss a trail turn at Hoyt Road.

A “little free library” was at Wiley Shelter, one of those boxes that you sometimes see in urban areas. Telephone Pioneers Shelter shelter had one of these too.

I wondered how often the libraries get used by hikers. I didn’t take a book because I am usually too worn out at the end of the day to read.

Stick hiked on with Julia, but I stopped at the shelter to rest a little and collect water from a nearby pump.

When I reached Hoyt Road, I saw what Julia had warned about. The road made a short jog on the road before turning back to the forest.

Just a few feet beyond the road, the trail left New York and entered Connecticut, the tenth state of my hike.

After being mostly flat for the first part of the day, the trail was now becoming a regular series of ups and downs.

It went over Ten Mile Hill, past Ten Mile River Shelter, and then over a bridge at Ten Mile River. The local citizenry weren’t completely lacking in creativity for naming landmarks, though. The bridge was called the Ned Anderson Memorial Bridge, and was named for a trail maintainer and supporter who helped construct this section of the trail through Connecticut in the 1930s and 1940s.

Ten Mile River flowed into the Housatonic River, and after crossing the bridge the trail followed the Housatonic for nearly 1.5 miles.

Near the end of that section along the river, I came upon a cooler. Lately when I’ve come upon a cooler like this it has been empty, but this one had a few cold bottles of Gatorade and some plums.

A note on the cooler said it was left by an experienced thru-hiker named Dora the Explorer.

The last hour or so was slow going as the trail made a rugged climb up and over Schaghticoke Mountain. From an exposed section of rock I could see surrounding hills and the Housatonic. I could also see that evening was starting to set in and I still had more than two miles to go, so I pushed on.

I arrived at Schaghticoke Mountain Campsite just after sunset. Stick was already there.

"I've been here for a half hour,” he said.

I ignored the comment, keeping my smile to myself.

It's a lesson to me
The Ables and the Bakers and the C's
The A B C's
We all must face
And try to keep a little grace

From “A Touch of Grey” by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.