Day 79

It was cold last night. My 20 degree bag didn’t keep me as toasty as I would have liked. It must be my uninsulated sleeping mat. Probably in the mid 40s last night. I started hiking today at 7:15. The climb up Baldpate west peak was nontechnical with lots of stairs. When I got t the top the clouds were just clearing off the peaks. I walked down into a bog and looked up at the next peak and saw a hiker on top. They waved their trekking poles overhead and I gave a big wave. The climb up the east peak was more of a scramble walking nearly 500 feet straight up a rock slab.

The climb down was nearly straight down the rock slab. I ran into Hollywood Tom on my way down and we stopped to talk about our plans for the evening. He was heading to a hostel called the Cabin. I had planned to tent for free at a cafe in town, The Little Red Hen. I also had some packages sent there. I failed to note that they close on Mondays and tomorrow was Monday so I told Hollywood I would join him at the Cabin. I hiked on and called Warren Doyle who was in town with his Smart Hikes. Smart Hikes are a series of day hikes that eventually complete a section of the AT. Warren essentially drops you off in the morning and meets you 15 miles down the trail at the end of the day where you camp at a road crossing. I was 2 days behind them. Warren reached out to take me into town for lunch. I speed hiked to get to the E B Hill Road by 12:30.

About half a mile from the road I had to sit down by a waterfall to eat some food. I was so tired. I thought, “I just want to walk a few miles, sit down and eat something, and then walk a few more miles and be done for the day.” 12-15 miles of hiking everyday is really starting to bum me out. Warren was waiting for me at the trailhead and drove me into Andover to the Little Red Hen for a cheeseburger just before they closed. I received my resupply box but not my Crocs that I had express shipped there. I would need those Crocs to ford several creeks and rivers coming up. They should have been there. Warren and I discussed altering my plans to hike with him and his crew but I just couldn’t justify skipping sections to catch up. As we were leaving I saw Shepard. He was tenting there for the night and heading out in the morning. I was sad to be missing a chance to hang out with him. Warren drove me to the Cabin and I checked in with Hopper, the caretaker. Dinner was at 6.

I inquired about the slackpacking options and signed up for one the next day. I would need to stick around town until my Crocs arrived. Instead of taking a bunk inside I took a bed on a screened in porch. It would be cold but I would at least have some fresh air and the sound of crickets to fall asleep too instead of snoring. I unpacked my bag and cleaned myself up before walking upstairs for dinner with Honey, the owner and chef of the house. The Cabin has been hosting AT hikers for 20 years. The underside of the dinner table is covered with signatures from hikers, including Earl Schaffer the first person to ever thru hike the trail in 1948. Honey had recently lost her husband Bear about a year ago who helped run the hostel. Honey dished up shepard’s pie as she told us about hiking Mt Washington by the light of the moon as a kid on vacation. For dessert there was brownies and moose tracks ice cream. By the time we were all finished it was about time for bed and I went down to make sure I had enough blankets for the night. I wrapped myself up tight in blankets as the night moved in and looked for the stars out the screen windows.

Miles: 1927.1 – 1935.1 (8)

Total: 820.1