Sometimes I think I’m moving well along the trail. It seems I’m keeping pace with hikers much younger than me.
Then there are times when I feel I'm barely keeping pace, and I might not finish before it starts to snow in Maine.
Whether or not I'm walking fast enough, younger hikers are walking much faster than me. Because of that, they have more time to take zero days, take longer rest stops, and be more leisurely in their hike.
I don’t have the luxury to walk at a leisurely pace. I must keep moving, or I won't beat the inevitable snowfall.
That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.
|Date||Tuesday, August 1, 2017|
|Weather||Clear skies, temperatures warming to the mid 80s|
|Trail Conditions||Many ups and downs |
I also want to enjoy this hike. I want to appreciate this time because it may be the only chance I have to do something like this.
Stick is thinking the same way. We have been driven lately to add as many miles as possible, even though we told each other when we left Harpers Ferry that we could ease up a bit.
The threat of bad weather in Maine isn’t the only thing compelling us to hike more miles per day. We have goals of meeting people in the coming days, and if we fall behind we have to change plans.
There’s a constant tug lately between enjoying a relaxing hike and reaching specific spots at the right time.
Today we had a more immediate and practical goal, though, and that was to do laundry.
The manager of the Hitching Post Motel said last night he would do our laundry for us in the morning. He told us we could leave our dirty clothes by the front office.
We loaded our clothes in a large garbage bag, but when Stick took it to the office, the manager wasn’t there.
Stick was afraid to just leave the bag there because he was worried someone would think it was bag of rotting garbage.
Eventually we were able to make connection with the manager, and while he did the laundry we relaxed in our room. We weren’t packed up and ready to leave the motel until after 9:30 a.m.
After a quick stop at a paint store so that Stick could buy denatured alcohol for his stove, we walked across the street to the village’s general store.
This was a modernized version of a quaint New England general store. By modernized, I mean high prices and a deli that serves items like breakfast burritos.
The breakfast burrito I bought was good, as was the coffee. Those items, plus food for the next four days and coffees I bought for a couple of hikers, brought the tab to almost $100.
I guess that’s to be expected in Connecticut.
By now the morning was slipping away from us and we still hadn’t left town. The time was past 11:30, but we still had one more stop to make.
Just down the road was a liquor store with a special trail magic for thru-hikers. After we signed a guest register we were allowed to select a free beer for the store’s cooler.
Stick and I sipped our beers in the shade just outside the store before we finally began walking out of Cornwall Bridge and back to the trail.
Near the top of the first climb of the day was a side trail that led a short distance to the summit of Bread Loaf Mountain. This day had already become one of diversions, so we decided to take another one by making the extra walk up to the top.
When we reached it we saw The Honeymooners, who were stopped there for lunch.
Though we don’t often do this, Stick and I mostly walked together today.
There were a lot of small ups and downs, and at first they weren’t difficult. The trail mostly followed a parallel path with the Housatonic River, but we weren’t close enough to see it, even from the few viewpoints available today.
When we finally stopped for lunch the time was nearly 3 p.m. I ate a turkey sandwich I bought at the general store in Cornwall Bridge.
While we were stopped we met a hiker named Homeward Bound. He got his trail name because he lives in Maine and is now hiking home.
The farther we went, the more tiresome the ups and downs became. They also seemed to become more steep and rocky. It was a warm day too, so that didn’t help.
Earlier, Stick and I had agreed to stop at a place called Belters Campsite, but I was beginning to dread the idea of going that far.
Then as I rounded a corner, I saw Stick. He was standing at the junction of a short side trail leading to Sharon Mountain Campsite. He was thinking the same thing I was. There were still three more miles to go to reach Belters Campsie, but we didn’t need to talk each other into stopping early.
The time was already 7:15 p.m., and several other hikers were also stopped here, including Homeward Bound, The Honeymooners and Fireproof.
Despite the late start, I might have normally thought hiking only 8.4 miles was a disappointing day. As I try to not push too hard, though, that distance felt more acceptable.
Given the heat and the difficulty of the trail, I thought it was a successful day.
Besides, tomorrow is another day to make up miles.