Trail Journal

Date: August 11 2000
Trail Day: 72
Miles Today: 14
Location: Near Gordon Pond
Section Mile: AT 387
ECT Mile: 1070

Because of the late night yesterday, I could not get up early. Bill, the owner of the place gave us a ride at 8 AM to the trail. The first 3 miles were OK then I started to feel extremely sluggish and lazy. I took a nap in a pine stand. Met Grits at this time. He is an older gentleman and started mid April - making good time. Also took a short break at the Lonesome Lake Hill. I seem to have these very down days every 7-10 days.

Beyond the 3 miles it was all sheer will power. For some strange reason, I met the most encouraging and friendliest people today. There was a couple with a son and dog. They were so encouraging that I felt a morale boost. I also met Lab rat and another gentleman who urged me on.

About noon, Nature Boy whom I had met in N. Woodstock and had started the hike about 1-2 miles behind my point passed me by. He asked me if I was doing OK. I think it shows on my face.

Also met a mother and son day or section hiking who talked to me and were a shot in the arm. I managed my alloted 13-14 miles and was deciding whether to head into Gordon Pond (which was another mile down the trail) or stay at a brook. There were several places suitable for a tent. I looked at the skies - it was threatening rain and I had heard thunder for several hours. I was also miserable and tired so decided to set up camp.

Filled up water and started to cook. Half way thru it started to rain, so I set up my tarp. Then it poured so I turned off the stove, set my food near the tarp, and crawled into my sleeping bag.

I think a description of a tarp shelter is in order here. Tarps are extremely light weight and hence easy to carry but they are tight as a coffin. Once you are in it you have to stay there. You even have to be careful how you roll around or you may change the configuration enough to let water into your sleeping bag. I lay down without eating hoping the rain would let up so I could eat - no luck. It was a downpour. So I squirmed around on my stomach and ate my food - Ramen noodles with Sardines.

Date: August 12 2000
Trail Day: 73
Miles Today: 12
Location: Glen Cliff
Section Mile: AT 399
ECT Mile: 1082

I was quite sure I would get drenched during the night. Morning came and I was still reasonably dry - I think I am getting good at this tarp stuff. I had cooked my noodles in a small depression and it was now filled with water. I got the stove out of the water and packed. Its very cumbersome packing up after a rain.

Today was the very opposite of yesterday. I started the hike in low spirits (continuation of yesterday). After a time I checked the map and realized I was 1-2 miles ahead of where I had expected. This was in slightly more than an hour.

Started the climb up Mousalake. It reminded me of the trail up Mt. Nicole Albert. It ran along side a cascade. The trail was steep, but because the cascades were so beautiful I did not realize the exertion. I reached the ridge fairly quickly and headed to the summit.

At the summit there was a large group that said - "You must be a thru-hiker". I said yes and they plowed me with all kinds of food. They were a very generous and friendly group - true angels. I also got a shot of me at the peak. This is a significant point for us south bounders - We have cleared the toughest 200 miles of the AT. I was extremely happy.

The trail down was gentle. I practically ran down 4-5 miles downhill. At a certain angle and good friction you can run down slopes. At slightly higher angles and poor traction you can end up on your face. I flew down to NH 25 and headed into Glencliff and the hostel there.

I saw Nomad again there. I showered and did laundry. Nomad and I got a ride into Warren and bought pizza and beer. This is a nice hostel run by an ex-hiker - very friendly.

Date: August 13 2000
Trail Day: 74
Miles Today: 13
Location: Old Cube Shelter
Section Mile: AT 412
ECT Mile: 1095

Packrat - one of the guys running the hostel showed a slide show of his PCT hike. Quite different from the AT - much drier in some areas and lots of snow in others. All of us slept somewhat late as a result. Got up also slightly late and got to the trail by about 10 AM. Today's hike was quite easy but towards the end there was a climb up Mt. Cube which was quite long and steady. Near the peak the blazes all of a sudden became different colored - some red and some blue. I continued downhill and ended up on a dirt road. I did not know if I had taken the wrong trail. I went to one of the houses and they told me that I had followed an old trail.

I decided to sleep at the Old Cube shelter as it was getting late. Tomorrow I will have to climb back to the summit and find the right trail down - quite a pain to have to climb the peak again. This is an abandoned shelter and has spiders, slugs etc all over.

Date: August 14 2000
Trail Day: 75
Miles Today: 14
Location: Trapper John Shelter
Section Mile: AT 426
ECT Mile: 1119

Last night I heard my plastic food bag rustling. I thought it was mice getting to my food. But in the morning I found my food intact. Also started smelling some very bad stuff - turned out to be my socks. They were smelling much worse than usual. I think I stepped into some awful stuff.

Started hiking back up Mt. Cube. Managed it quite easily. I saw a double blaze indicating a turn in the trail. How I missed it I don't know. I saw several places with blue berries - ate some. It started raining about noon and kept on. I got drenched but was in good spirits. However towards evening I had had enough and was ready for the shelter.

There was only one other guy in the shelter. He was quite talkative. He told me all about his gear, hike etc. He is from Boston. It continued to rain all night.

Date: August 15 2000
Trail Day: 76
Miles Today: 16
Location: Alpha Theta Fraternity, Dartmouth College
Section Mile: AT 442
ECT Mile: 1135

It rained again in the morning. I waited till the rain let up. Saw several salamanders today. I am also getting into the bad habit of tasting unknown fruits along the way. I need to cut this out or I may end up hallucinating or sick.

Easy terrain today. Very muddy though. Saw numerous north bounders. I think the wave is just coming through. I think they will get to Katahdin just before they close it for winter.

Also went through a place called Velvet Rocks. It has large rocks covered with Spanish moss which gives it a velvety feel - looks nice. Got into Dartmouth College. Its supposed to be a high brow, snobbish college. Didn't see any evidence of it though. They all looked normal. The fraternity Alpha Theta takes in thru hikers. So I went there. I have never been in a frat. Went to the library, checked email, talked to Suriyan, ate, drank and slept. A zero day tomorrow.

Date: August 16 2000
Trail Day: 77
Miles Today: 0
Location: Tabert House, Dartmouth College
Section Mile: AT 442
ECT Mile: 1135

A O day today. The Alpha Theta fraternity was closing for the season. Found a place in Tabert House - another fraternity. Bought groceries for 5 days. Suriyan will be visiting me on August 22 and I wont be going into town till then. They had Indian food in the store so I bought them. They are heavy but good. Also ate at the Indian restaurant. The food was spicy. Tried reading a novel but got bored. All in all a good O day - my best so far.

Date: August 17 2000
Trail Day: 78
Miles Today: 15
Location: Thistle Hill Shelter
Section Mile: AT 457
ECT Mile: 1150

The next 10 days should be fairly easy. I have to average 15 a day till I meet Churi and then take some O days.

Had breakfast at Everything but Anchovies. Saw Cannonball there. He is also at Tabert hall. He is having nail problems and is not sure if he wants to complete his New York - Katahdin section.

Also there is a couple from Switzerland, another from New Zealand, Dagan an Israeli whom I have been seeing off and on since Gorham. I took a photo of the Switzerland couple. They are Swiss Miss and Swiss Cheese.

Last night they had a party at Tabert house and we could not sleep till about 2 AM. They were loud.

Today's hike was fairly easy. Started late and finished early but got the 15 miles. The north bound wave is starting to come in. I met about 20 today. At this shelter I am the only south bounder, the rest 6 are headed north.

Hanover was a nice town. Fast Internet connection at the library, good places to eat and a college atmosphere. Most hikers are having a hard time leaving this town. Most of them have been here 3-4 days.

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