I had my pack situated and ready to go by 8am. Julie had agreed to shuttle me back to the trail this morning at 8:30. I ate a quick breakfast of fruit and peanut butter toast and off we went. I was on the trail by 9 and met some slackpacking hikers traveling south back to Hanover that warned me of upcoming storms. I had hoped to hike to Smarts Mountain today and stay the night up there to catch the sun set from the fire tower at 3200 feet. I began to worry that wasn’t just a good idea. After a 2 miles and a 1200 foot climb up to Holt’s Ledge, I sat down to think about my options. A mother and son from Pennsylvania hiked by and offered to drive me into the nearest town called Lyme. I agreed. They dropped me off at the Lyme Country Store.
I walked in and a lady behind the counter said, “Hey you’re on the front page of the Valley News!” Sure enough, I saw it was me crossing the Connecticut River on the bridge into Hanover. I thought was pretty funny. I asked the folks at the store about hiker friendly places in town and a guy named Tony said, “You could just stay upstairs. The kids are gone for the week.” Tony Pippin Jr happened to be the son of the store owner. Tony Jr works there too making sandwiches among other things. The lady behind the country was his sister JJ. He said let me just go up and clean up a little bit. I thanked him and dropped my pack upstairs before I made my way to the library to work on my blog.
I spent 4 and a half hours there typing and uploading as the rain fell down. I met Tony at the Tavern down the street afterward. Tony’s family has operated the general store since 1966 and he is now part owner too. His 80-year old parents still work there. His dad is pictured below behind the counter. He said it’s a hard way to make a living. Tony has two 9-year old twin daughters at the moment and then two more daughters in their 20s and a son from a previous marriage. He was interested in why folks want to hike such a long way. Tony would rather play golf or go fishing. I don’t blame him. I told him I wanted to try the trail before I get too old and to see if I could do it. After a while Tony left to go back to the apartment and I stayed to finish my overpriced cheeseburger which was good enough. I returned to the upstairs of the country store about 9 and climbed into a single loft bed for the night.
Miles: 1763.8 – 1767.3 (3.5)