Day 196: Newton

Shaker campsite [mile 1669.0; SOBO 650.6]

I think I’m having an equal-but-opposite reaction to doing some big (for me) miles. I’ve been in a sluggish sort of funk all day and can’t quite scare up any mojo. Then again, not all the days can be outstanding, right?

I got up later than usual but still early (that’s part of the problem right there—not enough sleep). I’d decided to skip the motel’s muffins and fruit because they don’t put it out until 8 AM. So at 6:45 I saddled up and happened to look in the full-length mirror. My pack was sitting completely lopsided.

Well, thought I, that explains a lot. Like the shoulderblade stabbity pain and the constant feeling that my pack is slipping off to the right. I probably should have been checking the load in the mirror every time there was a mirror available; it just never occurred to me. So I took some time and checked the adjustment on all the straps. After I was done the pack was a lot more comfortable. Still heavy, though.

Then I hit the trail. The sky was wan today—some blue, but more clouds. And although it was warm, it was also breezy. The weather’s changing. That wind is sweeping through to drive the summer out of the air.

So I walked. The trail was fairly rocky today—not like New Hampshire or Pennsylvania, but there were enough rocks on the ground that it slowed me down and broke the rhythm I’ve gotten used to over the last few days. And the bottoms of my feet started to hurt again, just like down south. Oh, no, I thought. Not this again. But there’s nothing to be done about it. It’s do-or-die time.

The trail passed some pretty ponds and fields. At the side trail to Upper Goose Pond was a norovirus warning! I remember hearing at Harpers Ferry that there’d been a northern outbreak, in Connecticut, I think. Hopefully that’s all finished now!

A couple of toads hopped around, but no porcupines. I did find a couple of hawk feathers on the ground. Somebody’s shedding.

As I lie here, I hear distant gunfire and the sounds of cars. Lots of cars. My days in the deep backcountry are over, I think.

Tomorrow night I have to stealth, and I’m already anxious about it. The distance between shelters is just too much (unless I were to do a four-mile day tomorrow). But stealthing around here has been on the impossible side; too many brambles, nothing clear or level, too many bogs and puddles. I hope tomorrow proves me wrong, or I don’t know what I’m going to do!)

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Day 196: Newton

  1. Marge

    Wow! Cattle! Did you converse with them?

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