Location: Unknown Shelter
I didn’t sleep well last night on the picnic table at the Spruce Mountain shelter. I tossed and turned and killed spiders until around 1:00 am. I could still barely hear the snoring of the old men. They all began snoring after I left. The night was cool though, and it calmed me after such a strenuous day. Shooting starts streaked the clear sky. I only saw a dozen in an hour or so. I bet that I could have seen more if it weren’t for the glow of Manchester Center. I finally fell asleep in the early a.m. I woke up at first light and gathered all of my things and went inside the shelter. I didn’t want to be sleeping on the table when people woke up and wanted to cook breakfast or make coffee on the table. The men still snored in the wooden bunks. They farted too. But I fell asleep around 6:45am and slept until 8:00am.
When I woke up, all of the thru-hikers were gone. Only the three old men remained. They sipped on coffee, ate oatmeal, and talked about what their wives were probably buying at the sidewalk sale in Manchester Center. I packed my bag quickly and joined them on the front porch. During one part of our meaningless conversation, one of the old men, remarking about the small cabin in the woods, said that dreams like that are never fulfilled, that there aren’t any decent places left where a person could have a remote cabin. I made a mental note to prove him wrong, to one day realize another dream, to spend time isolated in the wilderness. The cabin wouldn’t have to be hundreds of miles from civilization, but out of touch if I wanted it to be.
As I was finishing packing to leave, the men each were taking pictures of the shelter and the morning activities. I offered to take a picture of the men with all three cameras and then had all three cameras turned on me. I posed in my usual thru-hiker stance: pack on, poles down, smiling like a jackass. I’ve had my picture taken by so many strangers on this trip that I am not sure what to think about the practice. Harmless I guess.
I left the shelter last. When the men left, I picked up a copy of The Da Vinci Code that they had left. I got caught in the first few pages. Before I knew it, it was 10:00am. I ditched the boring novel and hit the trail, finishing a Snickers bar as I started hiking. The day was pretty dull. No moose stories. Still no bear stories. I need some bear stories. I was dragging a bit today, with the heavy pack and all. I did a fare job eating a lot of weight today. I ate every bagel that I had because I bought moldy bagels. I picked the green and blue mold from the bread and ate the rest with peanut butter. Just before lunch I was walking along the rim of Stratton Pond and stumbled upon two day hikers skinny dipping. They didn’t seem the least bit embarrassed, but I was. The man was floating on his back in the water and the woman was standing in ankle deep water. I think that they were drunk. After my encounter with the swimmers I climbed over Stratton Mountain. The mountain was a real pain. It reminded me of the climbs in Maine, with roots and rocks. The rain started today. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow all day. Maybe I can come across some more trail magic. I got a Sprite today in a cooler stashed in the woods. I could have used some caffeine though because I was dragging at the end of today.
I hiked another 18 miles today. It hurt a little bit, but I’m feeling better after some creamy garlic shells and a bunch of Goldfish. Tomorrow I’ll try to make similar miles. I need to start waking up earlier to make my days easier and possibly longer. The guy I’m sharing the lean-to with, Flying Tortoise, gets up at 5:45 every morning. This is too early. I am excited though about my accelerated pace. I know that the more quickly I move, the more quickly I get to see friends and family.