I woke up when someone nearly stepped on my head. It’s a risk you take when you sleep on the floor of a shelter instead of pitching your tent.
I didn’t get up though. I curled up smaller to make a pathway and kept sleeping.
I eventually got up and ate, having a nice chat with Kiwi, a guy doing a LASH, and walked to the privy…and stepped in someone’s poop. Good grief, the things I endure. After I cleaned that off we hit the trail.
There was more rain, but it was only 6 miles to Manchester Center, our first town stop. On the way we ran into Splinter, a girl carpenter had hiked with in the Whites last week. She’s headed SOBO, so we had a bit of a chat and then moved on to try to hitch a ride into town.
And friends, it was my first time hitching a ride. We scoped out a good place to thumb (you need to be visible to cars a ways off, and they need to have room to pull over) and stuck out our thumbs.
Within a few minutes we had a ride. Several hikers up the road who had been out there before us were still left luckless; I felt smug.
Our ride was a very good looking young mountain biker who drove us all the way into Manchester Center and told us all the good places to eat and even gave us the low down on some of the shelters up ahead on the trail. He was a wealth of information.
Me in the back of the good looking bike rider’s car
He dropped us off with a million-watt smile and we stopped in to check out an outfitter, then wandered around town for a minute.
Despite all the great lunch choices, we ended up…
We loaded up on groceries afterwards (we actually only needed junk food because carpenter packed too healthily and I was dying for chocolate and sour gummy worms) and stopped at a bakery for a fresh load of bread.
This is probably where I truly fell in love with Vermont. The whole experience of Manchester Center was amazing, but this bakery smelled like yeast and rich people. Everyone seemed to know each other. Everyone had on Birkenstocks and bought tea and Sunkist. Everyone was beautiful, especially the old people.
We walked out of town a little bit and started thumbing for a ride back. Several people pulled over and said they were going part ways, but we held out for someone going all the way. What was most amazing was the mix of people who offered rides. A nice looking woman in her 60s; a young man. Finally a young woman pulled over and said she was going part way and we took her up on it and figured we’d walk the rest of the way or hitch another ride.
Once we got in, she asked our names; I told her I was Birthday Girl on the trail. She said since it was my birthday she’d drive us all the way. She was sweet and funny and I liked her a lot.
We got back on and wow were our packs heavy with food. It made the 10 miles to Peru Peak shelter absolutely miserable for me. Also it rained quite a bit.
The climb up Styles Peak /Mad Tom Notch was catastrophic on my morale. I made a mental note to remember how I felt and the fact that I eventually made it for the next time I have no motivation to climb a mountain.
I stopped to see a vista. Great view. (Autocorrect said gray. Also correct?)
And eventually I checked to see how close I was to the shelter (Peru Peak Shelter). I guessed 1.5 miles. turns out it was only .4, so I started singing this ABSURD song about “half a mile to go, I’m gonna get there and eat a sandwich and put on dry socks and text stormtrooper and I hope no one can heeaarr me!” And before I knew it, I was there!
There are 7 of us here tonight, a mix of NOBOs and SOBOs. One SOBO, samurai blue, lives near the trail in southern Pennsylvania; we exchanged numbers so that I can do some trail magic for him when he comes through Tennessee and I can let him know when I go through his area. He’s done trail magic for a while and now he’s finally getting to through hike. He reminds me of Fresh Ground. Both great guys who have been dedicated to the trail; I think they’ll find that their dedication is returned to them on their hikes.
I had my sandwich for dinner, and my dry socks (I did not eat them, I put them on my feet), and also a cookie, because I needed junk food,and now I am tucked in bed warm and dry with a brook babbling (chatting, running its mouth) right in front of the shelter. The rain is falling off trees onto the shelter roof with the wind, and I am tucked snugly between warm bodies with gentle snores to lull me to sleep.
Trip total: 50.2
MVP: subway sandwich that I carried 10 miles
LVP: stormtrooper is 3 days behind me 😦