Kay Wood Shelter [mile 1641.5; SOBO 623.1]
You know what I miss? Jeans. Ratty old soft cotton jeans. And cotton teeshirts. Cotton. The fabric of your life! So ironic. “The fabric of your life,” yet “Cotton kills.” Which is obscure humor, to say the least—but somebody out there laughed, I’m almost sure of it.
I was up with the roosters! Before the roosters, actually. Well, actually, there were no roosters. I packed up my tent by shy moonlight, the moon hiding up behind the trees. By 6:24 I was on the trail with my headlamp, carefully picking out the trail from all the other trail-like gaps in the trees, all of it blanketed under red-brown leaves. The trail here is very well blazed, though.
The morning turned blue and warm, complete with buzzing mosquitoes (state bird!) and plenty of sun. On one long downhill, a deer bounded up and away to my left. At least, I think it was a deer; I saw the glint of white as it ran, and it was too fast and uncreepy to be a porcupine. “Run, deer!” I said! Because deer season opens any minute now. The smart deer are immigrating to places where they won’t be eaten.
At around 9:30 I made it into Dalton.
I love Dalton! When I win the lottery, I might have to move there. It’s another perfect New England town—red-gold leaves, pumpkins, corn stalks; clapboard houses, crisp air, and the ruddy mountains rising in the background.
I had coffee and breakfast at the local coffee joint. They were patient enough not to kick me out while my phone charged, and they made a decent breakfast burrito.
After that I resupplied. That was a little tricky. There’s no grocery store in Dalton, and the two choices were a pair of convenience stores. (At least they were open!) One was better than the other, although I had to make some substitutions on the fly, which usually means I buy more than I need.
Then back into the woods! It’s so pretty here. I love autumn. The side trail down to the shelter wasn’t blazed, so I’ll have to be careful tomorrow; with the fallen leaves it’s easy to lose the path. In fact, I lost it when I went down for water. (No fish in the water today, by the way.) These days I’m always looking behind me to see how the trail’s going to appear in the morning dark. There was one spot that looked questionable to me, so I actually tied a little cord around a tree to show me the right direction—homemade blazing, if you will.
While I was scoping out the shelter, a local guy showed up. He comes here to eat his lunch sometimes. Nice guy! He said that as far as the rest of the state goes, Dalton’s in Vermont. Also, he said he loves to snowshoe. Maybe that’s a snow thing I could do! Except then somebody else said it sucks, so maybe not.
Part of my nightly ritual now includes gear taping, sewing, and patching. Today the button on my pants came loose. Also, I taped up some rips in my pack cover where my poles poked through, and I patched my pack where my tent poles have managed to scratch a hole. Last night I put another patch on my tent.
Do I lead an exciting life, or what?