The past two Saturdays have been some of my favorites. I got to see and/or hike with my hiking companions from Georgia, Oso and Rockflipper. I haven’t seen these fellas since February when they were starting the trail. Obviously COVID restrictions impacted their hikes so these reunions were a little later than expected but well worth the wait! I met Oso in Kent as he was taking a much-needed zero, so I hit the trail for a few hours after a nice breakfast outside the Fife N’ Drum and ended up making 3 new friends on the trail, one who lives in my town. Caleb’s Peak and St. John’s ledges were the usual treats of scenery and challenge and my friend Lisa from our AMC chapter picked me up to save me the road walk so I could make lunch with Oso in time. It was great catching up with him and It was nice to see her too! I will try and catch Oso farther north.
I managed to catch Rockflipper in Cornwall Bridge, who had skipped this 12-mile section to visit a doctor and had planned to come back on this day to do it. I was luckily off from work this day and met him at 9am at the trailhead. His wife was slack-packing him for a few days so she gave us a ride up to the trailhead. My tracker wasn’t getting a signal so I gave up on it for the time being as Overboard and Blueberry who he had been hiking with were at the same spot and ready to go. With everything being so dry lately, Guinea Brook was low and easily crossable. It wasn’t until the top of Breadloaf Mountain that I got a signal on my tracker. We met another hiker he knew, Dirtyjobz, as well as some trail magic on the way up. I didn’t take any trail magic as I was just day hiking and wanted to save it for the thrus. We all hiked together for a while until Dirtyjobz went ahead. Rockflipper and I stopped about halfway at Pine Swamp shelter for a snack and as the rain was kicking in. I surveyed the campsite and we headed out into the rain which did not stop and only got heavier. It rained on us the whole way and most of our views were obscured and my phone (and camera) hidden away in my pack. This is fine though because it gave us more time to focus on conversation and the moment and I have probably 10,000 photos of the CT A.T! We did get a lot of good ones before the rain.
The race track at Lime Rock was alive with the sounds of a car test driving for about an hour. For some reason, I haven’t ever been on Sharon Mountain when it wasn’t a torrential downpour all day long (or in one case, 2-foot snowdrifts I had to post-hole!). Maybe its the location of the mountain in relation to the weather systems. Don’t know, but I embrace the rain these days, especially when it’s 75 degrees, I am going back to my car later and not to camp, I don’t have much or any slick steep technical terrain, and its been hot and humid as heck the last two weeks! I didn’t bother with any protection other than the pack cover to protect my electronics.
My longest day was 11.8 in Georgia (with Oso and Rockflipper) and today was 12.1! Though my tracker didn’t get that first .3, I know I did it and it felt great. I am still getting used to my zero drop trail runners and definitely feeling it today but I love those shoes and I know they are better for you in the long run once used to them. It was awesome to hit a new milestone with one of the guys I hit the last one with 4 months ago.
I also got to meet several other hikers and do my trail patrol survey which includes checking out campsites and cleaning trash from bearboxes, noting water source levels, giving hikers important information on resources and answering their questions, explaining our section policies and leave no trace reasons behind them, picking up trail litter, clearing waterbars, and addressing or reporting any blowdowns. The work was light this day luckily so I could focus on hiking with Rockflipper. I hope to join him up trail again too, or back down the trail when he flips back from Maine to finish where he skipped ahead after getting off trail for COVID for several months. Photos below.
miles day 1: 5.2
miles day 2: 12.1
wildlife: many frogs splashing about in the trail puddles, a salamander and a few garter snakes