Friday, June 12, 2015

Pine Swamp Brook to Stewart Hollow Brook Lean-to

11.0 miles

Sewing up my backpack--my body is not the only thing eleven years older

I got a late start this morning, dawdling in the shelter, repairing my backpack, which is ripping out more every day in the places I sweat most.  (Big County hiked with this pack from Harpers Ferry to Katahdin, and I hiked with it on the PCT and Pinhoti, so it’s seen better days and a lot of trail miles.)  I found a pair of work gloves discarded along the trail yesterday and it felt a gift—replacement fabric.  So I sewed and wrote the morning away, even knowing I had at least six pointless up-and-downs to make it over, thinking I’m in trail shape enough for a piddly ten-mile-day.  Not so.

I’m suffering through shin splints.  A thru-hiker named Brother Louie helpfully informed me:  it’s because your calf muscles are too weak.  Thanks, sir.  Not much I can do about that now, other than continuing to climb the pointless mountains.

So it was a hard day that was supposed to be an easy day—the worst kind.  IN the middle was a river with its crossing wiped out that required a ford.  The Appalachian Mountain Club “strongly recommended” the high-water route.  I hate fords, especially alone without hiking poles, and the trail into the ravine went straight down.  So I took the alternate route and ended up with a brutal asphalt mile-long road walk, in burning sun with luxury SUVs whipping by me at the speed of sound.

Do I hate road walks more than I hate fords?  Maybe so.  I limped up the hill back into the blessed woods, and then limped the last flat two miles along the gorgeous Housatonic River, as the light faded and blue heron alit.  It was another of these days when I wanted to rest, wanted to dip my feet in the golden water, and didn’t have time, had to make miles to the lean-to.  I hobbled in right at dark, the other hikers already in their bags or with tarps pitched.  Camped with two flippers (Shadow) and a Nobo (Bullet) with a 20+ day planned for tomorrow.  Big surprise.

[Hiking the same section in 2004.]

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