Thursday, September 19th, 2019
It was a cold morning and we were cruising along even though we came across numerous blow downs.
We took a break at Boyce Shelter, but not for long. It was freezing out! We’d soon warm up when we got to Middlebury Gap where we’d take another break. A NOBO got dropped off as we enjoyed our snacks in the sun. His name was Bluebird and he came bearing gifts. He brought a bag of apples from town and provided our first trail magic since we started at the Canadian border!
I was feeling pretty good as we hiked through the Snow Bowl ski resort. It was the only one we walked through where the warming hut wasn’t open. It was getting warmer out and we passed a few NOBOs on the way, including a hiker we’ve met before when we hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2016, Lieutenant Dan. He was hiking with a guy named Numbers, and we stopped to chat with them before hiking onward.
We grabbed some water at Sucker Brook Shelter. There were very few views and many blow downs to climb ahead of us. I experienced some nasty knee pain as I climbed down the steep, stone steps to Brandon Gap. I’ve had knee pain before, but this was intense!
When we all reached the gap, we caught a hitch to Rochester and resupplied at Mac’s Market. We knew hitching back would be tricky. It wasn’t a direct shot, but a lady from New York was kind enough to stop. Unfortunately we weren’t heading in the same direction. But right after she pulled off, a delivery guy for the Mountain Times, a local paper, offered us a ride after he finished his route. He was accompanied by his fluffy German Shepherd named Chinook, which we couldn’t resist cuddling with. He offered Middle Brother a Labatt Blue, and he picked our brains about our hike while we sat on top of newspapers during the ride back.
One we were back at Brandon Gap, we only had a short hike to get to Sunrise Shelter. When we got there, we met a couple named Adam and Elizabeth, and their two children. They were inching along the Long Trail, trying to complete it as a family. We talked to them about travel and they told us about their bus and rubber tramping across the country as we set up our bivies a short distance from the shelter.
As soon as we got settled, we were kept awake by two separate events. The first was the group of hikers that showed up after dark. I don’t mind at all when people show up late. There’s no curfew out here. What I do mind, however is having headlamps high beaming my retinas. We weren’t even close to them as they set up shop and blinded the hell out of us. This is what that red light option on your headlamp is for ya’ll!
Event number two was of the wildlife variety. I listened as a medium-sized animal was rummaging around a short distance away. I had my food bag laying by my head, and wasn’t exactly thrilled of the possibility of a raccoon mauling my face. When you’re inside a bivy, you feel especially vulnerable. I was sharing my concern with Frisbee just as the animal started running full force at us! In the end, I think the animal was more startled by us. We must have looked like two dynamic trash bags as we sat up in our bivies! We didn’t hear the creature the rest of the night.
17.5 miles (28.2 km)