June 22. Today was a trail Friday, and I was pumped! Trying to sleep through the night was like trying to sleep through December 24th when you were a kid. I kept waking up and checking my watch...finally at 4:45 I just got up and started packing my gear. I was on the trail by 5:15 and had around 16 miles, a few hills, and one state line to cross before headin into town. Only 2 miles into my hike I crossed the Mass-Vermont state line! This is also where the Long Trail of Vermont starts...273 miles to the Vermont-Canada line. Both trails run togethr for a little over 100 miles so I will be meeting a lot of Long Trail hikers in the next stretch.
Random Trail Thought: I think most modern cell phone ring tones are based off of bird sounds. As I walked through the woods and listened to the birds it sounded like cell phones ringing!
I hiked hard...but it didn't help that I started on an uphill boulder climb! At the state line I passed the other Tarzan and Fancy, fast asleep. Their goal yesterday was to make it to Vermont, and they did! They camped about 50 feet past the state line...sometimes it is the mental wins that count on the trail! Much like my mental win...get to Bennington and stay a night in a hotel! It was a warm morning, but I started rolling. I took a wrong turn at one point but caught my mistake about 5 minutes down the trail. I pushed down the last descent to the road to Bennington and made it there by 11:45 AM. A good 16 mile morning, and ready for town! I tried to hitch a ride for about 10 minutes and then called a hiker friendly hotel and they came up the hill to get me. I checked in, went upstairs and took a much needed shower, and then in my dirty clothes walked across town to the grocery store. It was a good 2 mile walk there in the heat and I stopped at McDonald's for a big lunch. After lunch and shopping I walked back across town to the hotel to do my laundry. Clean clothes, clean me, air conditioning, a 6 pack of Long Trail Ale...not bad! I had pushed hard since Amy dropped me back off at the trail on June 10th in Deleware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. In 12 days of hiking I had gone from PA, through NJ, NY, CT, MA, and into Vermont. In all I had hiked 320 miles with a few side trails for towns and such...an average of 26.6 miles a day. Not bad, but I could feel it! Not to mention that since Amy dropped me off I had not showered or done my laundry in 12 days, 320 miles, and 6 states...both of those needed to be done for sure! I was ready for a night off! But that quickly changed...after spending money on lunch, groceries, hotel, and laundry, and thinking about dinner and then breakfast, I started thinking it will be nice to get back to the trail. Towns get expensive fast, I will probably be shooting for hostels or cheap showers for the rest of the trip!
In honor of my 12 days of tough hiking I came up with lyrics to "The 12 Days Of Hiking", sung to the tune of The 12 Days Of Christmas, in H-Flat (H is for hiker, flat is for I am flat on my back in the hotel typing these out...)
* Hiking endless miles alone in the woods offers opportunities to do many unproductive things, such as this!
On the 12th day of hiking, the AT gave to me...
12 nights of camping
11 days without a shower
10 mosquito bites
9 stubbed toes
8 meals in towns
7 ice cold sodas
6 differrent states
5 roast beef sandwiches (no, not really, I wish I had found an Arby's!)
4 scoops of ice cream
3 black bears
2 achy feet
1 rattlesnake that almost bit me!
Not bad for 12 days! Now to order pizza and find something interesting on the History Channel...
Back to the trail tomorrow...I have only been in town for 6 hours and I already have this strange feeling that I would rather be in the woods right now...