1-3: Partnership to chatfield to Partnership 

It’s been a terrible week. Homework, quizzes, meetings, a presentation, a paper, and on top of that, a test that no one in my class of 130 even finished. 
I had told Sar Tec last week that I wanted to come out this weekend and hike with him and Butcher, a NOBO he’d met up in New Hampshire several months ago, who was now out on trail to hike with Sar Tec for a few months. I’d gotten a tentative schedule earlier in the week, but I really wasn’t sure how well it had held up. 
So on Friday, after my terrible week, I took a stab at where I thought they would be and started hiking. I didn’t get started until dark, and I started south, to give me a better chance of running in to them (I could check two shelters this way), so at 6:30pm I set out on a 6.8 mile night hike. 

Y’all, I’ll be honest. I was exhausted. A mile in I regretted the decision not to just stay at the shelter where I parked. But I pushed on. 3 miles in I ran out of water. There was snow in spots; there were rocks; there were hills that felt like mountains. 

And I didn’t even know if they’d be there. 
At 9:06 I got to the shelter. There were people there. A tent was set up on one half and two people took up the other half. I switched to my red light and tried to be quiet, stealthily trying to see if there was room for me. I hadn’t brought a tent. I was standing just outside, letting my eyes adjust to the dark, when a voice yelled out, “LINDSEY?!” 
I squealed! It was Sar Tec and butcher! They made room for me, and we furiously caught up on the past few days. They hadn’t had any service. I’d taken a guess. They’d hoped I’d come but hadn’t expected it. I hadn’t expected to actually find them, but had hoped I would. 
We eventually settled down, still catching up. Sleep didn’t come until 2:30 for me. 

MVP: not having to sleep on the ground!

LVP: running out of water. Do better, birthday girl. 

And morning came early. Well, not too early, but earlier than I would have liked. We sat around and had breakfast, and then started packing up. 

“Guys. I can’t do it. I have no energy.”
“Well, you hiked 7 miles in the dark in 2.5 hours. And I know what kind of week you had– I’m sure you haven’t slept at all this week. Why don’t you take a nap and then we’ll leave. It’s just that same 7 miles back to Partnership.” 
Well, Sar tec sounded like the smartest man alive to me right then. I laid back down while the boys played rummy. I was asleep in no time. 
I woke up to nightmares. I hate naps. But THEN we hiked out and that was just as bad. 

For various reasons I’ve decided to do some sort of diet that involves not eating much of anything that’s conducive to backpacking. This lead to me sitting down on a rock after dragging my dead weight up some stupid hills and devouring all the snacks I had left…and some of Sar Tec’s. I felt better. Well, a little. It’s still been well over a month since I’ve hiked seriously. I’ve lost my trail legs. 

But we made it in to Partnership eventually. There were people there. A group of older sectioners and a NOBO. We got our spots claimed and went to get water and order pizza. That’s the great thing about Partnership- you can get pizza delivered. 

The section hikers decided pizza sounded good but they wouldn’t make the $35 minimum on their own, so they offered to buy our food if we covered the tip. DEAL. 
I ate a salad. It was good, but it wasn’t pizza. 

We three played rummy and then settled in to sleep, another night in the woods. 
Morning came sooner than I’d like. The NOBO had a NOBO brother who was doing a 30 into the shelter…but evidently didn’t start until 2pm. So he came in at 6am Sunday morning. The section hikers started getting up then, and as hard as we tried to stay asleep, it just didn’t work out. 
I made tea. And oatmeal. Gone are the days when I could eat half a loaf of Hawaiian bread. I am devastated. 

Sar tec and butcher were going to zero at Partnership that day, which was nice, because that’s where my car was parked. The section hikers left, and then I drove butcher and the two NOBOs in to town since the shuttle wasn’t running. 

Sar tec and I spent the morning talking to random hikers who passed through (another NOBO! This one had met rabbit, happy pants, and Popcorn Hat, who is now calling himself Dutchess [sic], a name that I kind of think I also gave him. It definitely came up my last night on trail). We also built a fire and took a little blue blaze loop around some ugly ponds. It was nice. 

In all, the girl who went out to the trail stressed and exhausted and frazzled and worried ended the weekend relaxed and happy. I don’t know, y’all. Even when it’s a hard hike and I’m really struggling, it’s still good. 
I mean, the company may have had something to do with it. 

I left, saw Butcher walking back up the road, so I picked him up and drove him back, then left again. Just hiker things. 
I’ll work on getting prettier pictures next time. These woods were not the best. 
Trip total: 14!
MVP: chicken Caesar salad, I guess. 

LVP: Friday afternoon migraines. 

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