Everything is dirty and wet. I am becoming one with the forest floor. Where do I stop and the earth begin? I think you will have to use the smell test.
I’m packed and ready to go by 6am with visions of warm water and clean hair dancing through my head; food can come after I defunk.
I turn to see Bilbo had camped close on the other side of a grove of trees, and here I thought I was stealth…guess not! We start up the next climb (of course there is always a next climb) and my town-legs-to-be power up and soon I can’t see Bilbo behind me anymore. No friends on town days!
I hike full speed ahead, but everything is wet, including the slabs of rock that are sometimes called trail. My feet slide…the tread on my shoes is deteriorating quickly (they weren’t new to start, but I had hoped to get more miles out of them) and I go down. Wooooop! I don’t damage anything, but take the wet slabs a little slower the rest of the morning. I pass nobo after nobo, they smell cleaner the closer I get to the highway. Really! A feral nose can pick up on the soap, detergent, and deodorant of the freshly washed like it was fresh bread. Mmmmm, fresh bread….Ron said he would make some for my stay. Hike faster!
I speed by a shelter, not stopping to sign the register or even say hello to the hikers still packing up.
When I can start to hear the trucks rumbling up the grade, I know I’m close. I pass a large group of hikers and they tell me I just missed the shuttle to Shaws…the hiker hostel in Monson. No matter…I’ll hitch.
The road!! I walk over to a gravel pullout, take off my wet and smelly shoes and put on mu sandals and then stick my thumb out. 10 minutes, nothing. 20 minutes, nothing. I see a car in the small parking lot is leaving, so I jog over and ask the driver if I can pay him 5 dollars to take me into town…it’s only 4ish miles away. Success! I stink up his car and we are off.
First stop: Shaws. I check out the gear store and buy a few things. I’ve desperately wanted a second sports bra…my bra has been wet for a week and I want something dry to put on. I will keep a pair of socks dry and now this bra dry while hiking….camp clothes! Then I pay them $5 for a shower. Ron offered to pick me up from the trailhead, he only lives 10 miles north of the trail, but I wanted to do the hiker thing in town for a while. I see Hero and we make plans for lunch. I tour the hostel…they have a great thing going here! Hikers everywhere… Hero and I walk to the Lakeside for an amazing sandwich and beer on the shore of Lake Hebron. This is living! I hope to hike with Hero after a day off…he’s great fun.
I meet Ron and he whisks me up to Greenville. I claim a room and take another shower, do laundry, eat, chat, eat some more (that fresh bread is amazing!), and relax. Ron made a baked chicken dinner and I turn in early after chatting with Kirk.
It was a great day for my first town stop…tomorrow will be a zero (no hiking day) as I ready my body for the next miles ahead.