I took it slow this morning. I was exhausted after four days of hiking. My feet and knees sore. It seemed like my body is getting weaker not stronger. I had little motivation to get back out on the trail when I could just stay in Greenfield and be comfortable and taken care of. I’m so grateful for the home base Lucy and her housemates have provided for me over the last 3 weeks.
I bid farewell to Nathan and Lucy and I hopped in the car to drive an hour and a half to the Stratton Pond Trail head where I had stopped yesterday. It was about 10:45 when I finally hit the trail. I was hoping to get a whopping 17 miles in today since the terrain looked so flat. I took a 4 mile side trail bypassing Stratton Mountain since I had already done that section and the views are basically the same as Glastonbury. I reached Stratton pond at about 12:30. Several southbounders were there hanging out. The trail was rather uneventful aside from a lot of mud for about 8 miles and I tried to power through as quickly as I could to reach the shelter that Lucy had hiked into to meet me. After several stream crossings and pleasant view of the town of Manchester below I arrived at the shelter at 4 o’clock. I took a moment to rest, snack and hydrate before moving on toward Lucy’s car 3 miles north.
The day was hot and the sun was out. Usually, by late afternoon I’m ready for the day to be done. Both Lucy and I were trudging through the trail in the early evening sun with low morale. Lucy later decided her trail name would be Trudge. After a mild descent to the parking lot we had a 30 minute evaluation meeting whether or not to continue hiking 2 more miles. I ate a cheeseburger and cupcake Lucy had sweetly saved for me. After the much needed break we decided to try for the shelter. The climb wasn’t as bad as it looked on the map and we arrived at 7:15. I hurried to a tent platform and began sprinting to accomplish the camp chores before dark. Pitch the tent, blow up mattress, fetch water, cook dinner, hang a food bag, brush teeth. It was a rushed evening but we were in the tent by 8:30 listening to Harry Potter together. It had been a long day for me and I was grateful for the company. We could hear a muted swoosh of traffic 2 miles below as we drifted off the sleep.
Miles: 1642.3 – 1654.9 (12.6 + 4 side trail)