Thistle Hill Shelter [mile 1475.2; SOBO 456.8]
RAIN! Last night it rained so hard that I thought the world might be ending. OK, that’s an exaggeration. But listen: I got the tent pitched (very well, I might add, although I found one of yesterday’s slugs mashed into one of the straps), and I got inside, and the lightning started. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was so fast and constant that It just kept the sky continually lit. I actually wondered if it was fireworks or a SWAT team coming to tell me I was stealthed in a bad location. But no; it was just lightning that was so steady and fast that it was like stuttering moonlight. For an hour. I wish I could have seen those bolts! Trees, though.
And after the lightning show, the thunder and rain came. The storm passed directly overhead—wrath-of-god stuff. At one point I jammed my fingers over my earplugs and just hoped a tree wouldn’t squash me like that slug.
And no tree did!
I got up and packed up and hit the trail at 7:00 on the dot. You know what? Vermont is pretty! I’m not used to this terrain—fields stalled between summer green and autumn rags, with red and yellow amid the weeds. There are flowers, too! I thought everything had gone over to berries. But no! Thistles and goldenrod and cornflowers and even some stubborn yellow daisies; it’s still summer here.
The other thing I’m not used to is mosquitoes. Jeeze-Loiuse (did I spell that right? I don’t think I’ve ever said that in my life), the bugs were relentless. While I was packing up my tent, once there were four of them on my arms, chewing. I had to put on DEET—the same 2-ounce bottle I’ve been carrying since Waynesboro. Including in the Hundred-Mile Wilderness. I can’t imagine how horrible the bugs must have been in July or so, which is when hikers were actually leaving the trail to get away from them.
So I hiked! Perfect trail. Perfect! My legs are used to an obstacle course, not this beautiful ribbon through fields and pine woods. I flew! For the first time, I actually ended up bettering my estimated time.
The day was another hot, humid, miserable one, though, and there were a couple of roadwalks that seemed to last forever. When I reached the West Hartford deli, right on the road-slash-trail, I was thrilled. It was lunchtime, and I was going to have a burger and some cold drinks, and I was going to charge my phone.
That’s when I realized my phone charger adapter brick thingie was gone. Gone! I can’t believe I left it in Hanover. I’ve been so careful! Of course, I obsessed over that while I ate my delicious cheeseburger, cause, you know, I do that. 😉
After lunch came another loooong road walk while the heat and humidity blasted, and I learned a valuable lesson: Do not stop in the middle of the hiking day and eat a huge giant cheeseburger! Seriously. What was I thinking? My body wanted to digest, not climb hills. I was sweating like a pig—a big giant pig carrying a pack full of food. A huge pack! And the belt across my middle was just painful.
I took a lot of breaks.
Eventually, though, I got here—my first shelter in Vermont. I no sooner had the tent pitched when all hell broke loose with the weather again. Bit I love being in my tent while it’s raining outside. All I need is a bigger tent, a friend, and a deck of cards. Any takers? 🙂
And that’s it! The glue didn’t quite hold the shoes together, but they’re not any worse. I saw six more NOBOs—which is astonishing to me! But apparently a lot of folks summit after October 15. Glad I didn’t know that in June.