Stealthing near Stratton Pond [mile 1567; SOBO 548.6]
Random: How things have changed. This morning I passed three section hikers (Long Trail) who, panting, warned me that my trail ahead was all uphill. But the uphill turned out to be a pretty mild incline—barely noticable. Also, this morning I happened to observe that my thighs look like a wrestler’s. Boom! I guess Ron Haven in North Carolina was right: “The Appalachian Trail is a 2100-mile obstacle course, and when you finish it, you will be athletes.”
I woke up under my wonderful blankets at Seesaw Johnny’s lodge and didn’t want to move. Actually, I’d been up part of the night because town food upsets my stomach now—that great orgy of grease and beef and fatty cheese after days of lean eating. But that’s TMI!
It rained last night, too, so I was infinitely grateful to be under fluffy covers and indoors. I got up and got packed, then ate my usual delicious trail omelette (made with cheddar—the food, not the bear—and mushrooms, rather than actual trail). I had to wait a bit for a ride (and I was exceedingly grateful to get one; thank you, innkeeper Owen!) so it was a very late start: 9:45 before I was on the trail.
A beautiful fall day, but windy and a little cold for my thin blood. The trail is carpeted with crunchy leaves. So is the forest. That makes finding the trail (and the rocks and roots) sometimes challenging.
Vermud has lived up to its name, I’d say. I’m here in a pretty dry time (my shoes haven’t even been wet, knock wood), but the trail’s still got muddy patches every few feet. Ten feet of trail, three feet of puddly muddle, thirty feet of trail, five feet of puddly muddle, and so on and so on and so on. The land must dip into hollow spaces that hold the water, like rolling ocean waves. I imagine in the wetter seasons when the majority of NOBO thrus are coming through, the trail is like mud soup. Another bullet dodged by flipping!
The walking itself was good today: gentle ups and downs that reminded me quite a bit of the trail down south. There’s a sameness to the fall features; I wonder how much the trail will change as I go south? Will it be the green (then brown) tunnel all the way home?
I saw a snake today—first one in a while! That surprised me; I thought it was too cold for them.
Javelin from Texas is in town and we’re trying to coordinate a visit. It’s so hard to do that out here! Javelin, I hope we manage to work it out!
I heard a new sound today: geese. Geese overhead, flying south. We’re all migrating, my friends.