Blazer and I woke up at about the same time. I ate some goldfish and tortillas, drank some water, and headed out. 16 miles to Hanover.
It had been a warm night and it didn’t show signs of letting up any time soon. There wasn’t much water between me and Linda the Trail Angel’s house, either. I stood in a meadow and asked for wind. It came.
I soon made it to her house. I knew I was there when I heard shouts of “HIKER! OVER HERE!! SODAS AND PIZZA!!!” I smiled and waved and headed over. Two hikers greeted me and I sat down and ate and chatted for a while.
After I’d had my fill and filled up my water bottles at her hose, I headed out.
The heat was relentless, though. My skin was fire. After barely any time, I made it to a brook and stripped down. The water was shallow but I managed to submerge myself, gasping as the cold water went over my head and neck. I left an oily sheen of sweat and dirt on top of the water as I washed away two days of hiking. And icy hot, I guess.
I rinsed out my shirt and shorts and let them dry in the sun while I sat on my pad, enjoying the quick break. Only 8 more miles to town.
Those 8 miles were hot, but beautiful. Part of the walk was through Norwich, VT.
And eventually I made it to Hanover. I wandered through town until I found a hiker (someone dirty with a backpack), then walked up and said, “hey, you going all the way?” He said yes, and that’s how I met Honeybuns. We walked down together to a pizza place that gives out a free slice of pizza to thru-hikers, and I met up with the hikers from the trail angel’s house there too (wok man and the count) as well as brother and sister and sweet feet and macgruber. We ate and laughed became fast friends, the way hikers do.
We went over to the Dartmouth Outdoor Club to charge electronics and empty food bags for a few minutes, and then Honeybuns and I went to explore. We ended up at a Chi Eta fraternity house, and were invited downstairs to observe the final round of the interfraternal beer pong tournament. It was as hot as a blast furnace in the basement, and we weren’t even the grossest people down there, or the smelliest.
We chatted with some students for a few minutes, then decided to hitch a ride down to the river to swim. The British fraternity told us there was a dock we could swim off of.
We picked up a hitch quickly– a guy turned around and offered us blueberries as he drove us down the rode to the river. He told us the dock was only for Dartmouth students, but if we followed a path, we would end up at river access. We thanked him and went into the woods.
Eventually we did end up at the river, and we jumped in, enjoying the cool water as the sun started setting.
We got dressed and tried to hitch back in to town, but had no luck. We walked back, and went to get gelato. Earlier in the day we’d been to the grocery store and a woman had stopped her car to hand us coupons for free gelato– couldn’t let those go to waste! After a cup of dark chocolate, we met up with the rest of the group at an Irish pub. We had nachos and fries and I got bored and asked a group of summer students to do cartwheels on the sidewalk for me. Wouldn’t you know it, they did?
Honeybuns and I walked around town some more, and discovered the visual arts center was unlocked. We enjoyed the exhibits and the air conditioning and the bathrooms. We walked back into the tent site, beyond the athletic field in the woods, and set up tents in less than desirable locations. That’s what we get for being lazy and letting everyone else get the good spots.
We watched shooting stars and traded trail stories, but eventually it was time for bed.
Trip total: 126.5
MVP: leftover pizza that really got me through the rest of the day. That was clutch.
LVP: lack of water