Franconia Notch. Er… for now, anyway.
I think I’ll have to do this in pieces today. Right now, it’s 10:00 AM on Labor Day, and I’m sitting in a parking lot at Franconia Notch. I believe the AMC runs a shuttle from here into Lincoln, where I hope I can find a hotel that won’t charge me a kidney. On Labor Day. I’ll need both kidneys when I get to Connecticut and New York. Assuming, of course.
So, last night, Cheddar the bear didn’t attack me in my sleep, but I have a new pet peeve: weekend campers who use the bear boxes as their own personal storage lockers. They’re for food, people. Not your packs, not your laundry, not your pots and pans, not your poles. And don’t be crushing my food to jam your dirty pots into the box. And while we’re at it, your food goes into a bag, which goes into the box. Don’t toss your freaking leftovers in there to spill and stink and go moldy, and stenchify somebody else’s clean food bag.
Not liking the bear boxes, obviously. I didn’t see any of them before I flipped, so I’m guessing I don’t know the culture. Not that I’m usually worried about bears, but with problem bears in the area, I’m very careful—not for me, but to protect the bear. It’s a responsibility out here.
But anyway, last week the caretaker at last night’s tent site had two encounters with Cheddar. Once he found Cheddar on the porch of his platform, and once (at 9 PM), he came back from his rounds to find Cheddar in his tent. And Cheddar also stole the guy’s food; luckily he was due to pack out the next morning. The caretaker, that is; not Cheddar.
So no cheese in the night. But rain? Dear gods, did it rain. Thunder and lightning that brightened my tent like blinks of daylight. Or an alien spaceship circling to beam up hikers to probe them. One of those.
I didn’t know when the shuttle would get here this morning, and I couldn’t find out (what with the whole ‘no signal’ thing), so I decided the wisest course of action was to be down here as early as possible. So I packed up in the torrents and inched my way down the rocky descent at 5:45 AM; I needed the headlamp at the start.
I think it was about 9 when I got here. This trailhead’s about a mile off the AT. I dropped my freakishly heavy pack (water weight; I actually found about three ounces of rain in both raincoat pockets—that’s how hard it was pouring) and sauntered down to the Flume Visitor Center for a tuna wrap and a Starbucks. I don’t actualy eat enough tuna out here to be sick of it, and they don’t serve breakfast down there.
It felt so light to be sauntering down the shoulder of a paved highway with no pack! Crazy. And just casually walking a mile for a cup of coffee… well, actually, I do that regularly. But at home I have to carve out the time; this was just organic.
My shoes are squelching, and my socks have turned the corner into vomitous. Yay!
It’s later! Monday evening, to be exact. I’m ensconced in a place that was happy to settle for a spleen. Yay!
Body parts for hiking… hmmm. I wonder if there’s a career in there?
Anyway, I’m clean, laundered, and working my way through a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. The outfitter here is highly overrated; the only air mattress they know about is the big giant car-camping kind. Not sure where I can resupply here, either—but I guarantee I can do a better job here than in Maine.
And that’s it! The other day when I reunionized with Trouble, she posted a pic of me on her TrailJournal. Here it is! Totally stolen! (But you should go visit her journal at trailjournals.com.) The other pics are pretty bad; it was raining too hard to take many.
Aside from that… turns out I’ve got nothin’. I’m just so happy to have internet access that I could burst. But I won’t; too messy.
Tomorrow: Resupply. Wah! So short a time!