Day 22 Canopus Lake Beach camping to Morgan Stewart Shelter, NY (14 mi)
We got a leisurely late start today, but knew it was a short day and the weather was MUCH cooler! We both started off in pants, but realized it wasn’t quite cool enough for that and switched back into shorts eventually.
Jamie’s mysterious foot rash seems to have chilled out some today, so that’s good (we think maybe it’s from the permethrin?).
I started off my day with pretty horrific period cramps. The first 4.5 miles were slow and sloggy. We made it to the RPH shelter where I laid on a lawn chair and rested for a while. The cramps subsided and the next section was MUCH better!
We hiked 5 more miles to a deli where there was well water from a spigot. It was 0.5 miles off trail on a very sunny and busy road, so we agreed to hitch a ride back to the trail head when we left the deli. We got some snacks, sat down, and took a nice afternoon break. We were able to get a ride from someone in the parking lot back to the trail head which was nice!
The next 4.5 miles to the shelter were a little harder motivation-wise. I turned on some music and put one foot in front of the other until I got to the shelter. When I got there, Jamie had already set up our tent, and I met a few other hikers at the picnic table.
Hoping for an early start tomorrow. My best days or miles are early in the day. As the afternoon wears on it tends to get harder and harder to keep going.
I lost a bit of motivation today. Really wondering and checking in with why I am out here. I desperately need to have one whole good day, start to finish. Or maybe a few. Being out here and feeling miserable has begun to wear on me. My heart needs to feel inspired and reconnected to my purpose so I can have some motivation to keep going. I started to think about being out here for months and it began to feel quite overwhelming and maybe not doable. I just need a good day.
Day 23: Morgan Stewart Shelter, NY to Ten Mile River Shelter, CT (21 mi)
OMG TODAY ROCKED! I got a pretty early start, which I know made a big difference. I was on trail at 5:40 am. Jamie packed up the tent and was on trail by 6:00 am. He caught up to me about 5 miles in and we stopped at our first water stop for the day at the Telephone Pioneers Shelter (7.8 mi from our start). We actually were good on water and Jamie had been in touch with Robin and Gillian who were meeting up with us today to hike and bring us our resupply. We realized that they were going to be meeting us a lot sooner than we had initially thought, and only had 3 more miles to hike to the train station where they would meet us with water. The temps were cool enough that we really hadn’t had much water that morning and could make it to meet them before filling up.
We walked into the parking lot of the AT “train station” JUST as our friends all pulled in. Jess & Alex, who had received about 6 boxes for us in the mail (THANKS!!!) dropped Robin & Gillian off to hike with us. G & R parked their car about 7 miles down the trail. It was perfect timing and perfectly planned!
The next 7 miles were beautiful trail and just flew by with good company! They are such a fun couple and we had so many good laughs hanging out together! We got to their car and they had heaven on earth awaiting our arrival: cold kombucha, beer, fresh mango, watermelon, cherries, dark chocolate, vegan baked goods, cookies, and coconut water! Omg it was so amazing and delicious!
After feasting, sorting through all of our mail and resupply boxes, and hanging out for quite a while, Robin pulled out some hair clippers to take to Jamie’s head. Not too long ago, Jamie gave Robin a surprise clipper haircut at a frisbee tournament and Robin got to have his revenge today and he shaved Jamie’s head!
We entered CT and only had 2.8 miles to Ten Mile River Shelter, but it was up and over a nice hill the whole way. Robin and Gillian offered to drop off our resupply in Kent, CT so we could delay the pain of heavy packs one more day. THANKS GUYS!
We washed off in a nice flowing river right by our shelter and had the place practically to ourselves. We carried a dinner with us out of habit, but we were both so full from feasting with G&R that we decided not to make dinner. We set up our tent and had an easy, early night. There is a bear box here, so no bear bagging either!
We got in our tent and called Robbie in Colorado, as he had just finished the Leadville 50 miler in 10 hours! It was so exciting to catch up with him and hear about his race. Inspiring stuff for sure!
I needed to have a good day and I got one. A 20+ miler with good weather, lots of fun and laughter, lots of eating and hanging out, and just overall mentally easy miles today. The trail didn’t feel technical today, it was smooth and easy walking. I am so grateful for today.
Seeing and being with friends fills my heart and lifts my spirits in a whole new way out here. We are a species that is meant to interact and I think too much alone time can wear on a person. In Austin I was feeling like more and more of an introvert and could really see myself being perfectly content spending time alone. But then when I’m actually faced with what it is to be alone for hours on end each day I find that a conversation with another person fuels me and fills me up. And when it is someone I know, Katie & Brad, Robin & Gillian, it fills me up that much more. It truly impacts my motivation and I didn’t really realize how much human interaction fills my bucket. Even yesterday, when I got to the shelter, I chatted with 3-4 other hikers, all new to me, and I felt so much happier and alive from those moments of conversation and human interaction. Being heard, and listening. It fills me up, makes me smile, and carries me.
Day 24: Ten Mile River Shelter, CT to Kent, CT (8.7 mi)
We slept in this morning and hit the trail around 8:30 thinking we only had 9 miles into town and it would be ok to just sleep in. It was a little chilly last night without the rainfly on and my ankles and feet were definitely cold with my 3/4 length sleeping pad. I think I will want a full length pad for the fall for chillier nights.
The morning was absolutely gorgeous. We walked along a river and it was just a beautiful river full of rapids and fast moving water. It mesmerized me and had me totally captivated. It was definitely distracting me from making forward progress, but that’s ok!
After the river, the morning got technical and hard. A lot of slow and challenging miles. It was much more technical than yesterday and it started to get really hot around 10 am. We ran out of water at one point, but luckily we were only 0.7 mi from a water source.
We got to the trail intersection with the road that leads to town. We had quite a few errands to run. Luckily, we got a ride into town from someone. We went to the IGA (grocery store), got some Thai vegan peanut noodles in the prepared food section, an apple, a banana, vegan yogurt, olives, and a pickle.
We found a grassy shady spot in the parking lot with a chair and a picnic table and ate our lunch feast. The post office was right there so Jamie went to go get his new pack!
On our zero day he talked to a customer service rep at Osprey and sent them pictures of his old pack which was tearing at multiple seams, and they guaranteed him a new pack and arranged to send it to him to the post office in Kent, CT. He got the men’s version of my pack, the Exos 58L. He’s very excited about the new pack and the fact that Osprey replaced it for free made him giddy.
Then he went to ACE hardware (also in the shopping center) and bought some permethrin to treat his new shorts and shirts (he had Erin from home send to us), his new pack and MY NEW SHOES!
Yep! I got a pair of the Brooks Cascadia and I’ve only hiked about 10 miles on them but so far I think good? I have a lot of toe blisters, so nothing feels great, and they might be slightly big, but I think I can work around that with lacing. Erin also sent me my custom orthotics that I use in my Mizunos for running back at home, so hopefully those help! Although I do have to say that my foot pain has subsided and I’m just battling some toe blisters, a tender heel blister, and the same bottom of foot tightness and knots.
As we were hanging out in the hot parking lot for a few hours while Jamie went to the post office multiple times, I was really starting to feel my energy fade. Once all the permethrin stuff was dry, we packed up and walked to the outfitter where Robin and Gillian left our resupply box yesterday. We got our stuff, and it was 4:40 pm and 88 degrees out. I was so tired I convinced Jamie to just call it a day.
I checked on Guthook and saw a lot of recommendations for a hiker’s cabin at “Karen’s house”, so I called Karen and she came to pick me up. Omg! It was the most epic cabin ever! Right on the same river that captivated me this morning but on the opposite side of the river. We ate dinner on the deck overlooking the river and chatted with a few other hikers. We took hot showers in the outdoor shower and slept in sheets on a king sized bed. This place was truly a gem.
Day 25: Kent, CT to Caesar Brook Campsite, CT (13.7 mi)
Whew! It took us 9.5 hours to walk less than 14 miles! I really don’t even understand! HEAVY PACKS today.
The first 4.7 miles were quite tough, steep and technical. We got a later start than I would have liked considering we had very full packs and it was going to get into the 90s again today with immense humidity.
At the end of the 4.7 miles we had a VERY steep and sketchy downhill from St. John’s Ledges into the Housatonic valley.
Once we arrived in the Housatonic Valley we walked on a very nice and easy flat path that went along a GORGEOUS river, the Housatonic. It was such a fast flowing river with so many rapid bits here and there. The sound of the flowing water was like music to my ears; changing pitch with its different speeds. The path reminded me of being on the hike and bike trail in Austin, but with a faster, more shallow river full of rocks and rapids.
We found a spot to swim in that seemed private enough. Swimming is mostly done naked because I don’t like having wet undergarments, so we sometimes have to time it well as there were others along the path this morning. The swim felt glorious. It always feels so rejuvenating to submerge my whole body in cold, flowing water.
After the Housatonic river we had a big climb and then a big decent. I crushed the climb! It felt so good! I was sweating so much, it was the hottest part of the day, I wore my insect net around my head (which added more warmth to the mix), but I still crushed the big climb. I was a little more cautious on the decent and Jamie passed me going down. I felt like I was having a good day considering all my foot blisters, super heavy pack, and the heat.
We realized we didn’t have our lighter, so jamie hitched a ride into town to get two more lighters while I chilled and swam at a brook right at the road intersection. This second swim felt GREAT. So refreshing.
The last part of the day consisted of a lot of climb-y bits. Nothing too long, but a few steep sections. The gnats, black flies and mosquitoes were awful and we wore our bug nets around our heads basically all day.
We got to camp, I made Daiya mac’n’chz (our heaviest dinner), Jamie bear bagged, we hung our sweaty clothes up to dry and it will be an early bedtime for us.
We added quite a few things to our packs this last resupply: Cliff chews (thanks Huckabees!), Skratch packets, nuun, gels, and gummy bears. This weighs quite a bit extra. I’m also carrying three extra insoles (factory, dr. Scholls, and superfeet) and Jamie has a few extra outfits that “weigh nothing.” We definitely have added some items to our packs and they are feeling heavier than they’ve felt thus far, so we may need to shake out again and make sure to eat all our food!
Tomorrow the temps are supposed to be much cooler with the high being 80 degrees. I’m hoping for another good day tomorrow!
Day 26: Caesar Brook Campsite to Mt. Prospect peak, stealth camping, CT (14 mi)
We hit the trail with two back to back climbs this morning. The second one had The Boulder Split, which was a narrow section between boulders.
Jamie had a tough day today. He was complaining about his ankle and knee hurting and his pack feeling heavy. I, however had a good day, so I guess we’ll just take turns with who feels bad and who feels good.
I was right behind Jamie when I saw him jump pretty high in the air! Another Timber Rattle snake! He was a big one! We waited and watched him as he crossed the trail and headed into the woods again. Phew! It certainly startled Jamie!
We took a quick break at an overlook before descending into town-landia.
The descent was quick and easy trail. The sounds of trains, race cars and civilization were nearby all morning, teasing us about how close they really were.
Once we got to the bottom of the descent, we decided to get lunch and hang out at Mountain Side Cafe, a very cute farm to table cafe only 0.25 mi off trail. It was SO worth it! Delicious vegan options, and we had a chance to just sit, charge our phones, wash our hands and use the bathroom as often as humanly possible.
We hung out there for quite a while because we only had 4 more miles to hike after. We finally left, walked along some roads in some residential areas and then along the Housatonic river again. We sort of swam but kind of aborted the mission halfway into it because we decided the water was too dirty.
Then we had our final climb of the day where we decided to stealth camp at the summit. We had read on Guthook that there was space for one tent at the top of Mt. Prospect, so we were hoping no one else would see it and snag it up first. We got there and no one was there, so we set up camp and had an early night on a breezy summit.