Today, I did a lot of thinking about the trail ahead and what I was going to do next. To be honest, I thought seriously about just calling it quits and coming back next summer and finishing the trail then. I placed a call to my father and to my brother Max. They were in Michigan, where Max had just completed his competition in track and field nationals.
Both Max and my dad encouraged me to finish the journey and challenged me to come up with a plan. After the call, I sat in the middle of a stream on a rock, treating my swollen ankle, and thought about it. I thought about the time with Kate, Plant, Bonnie, and Gas Tank. I thought about all of the planning and obstacles overcome to get here. I decided that there has been so much time and energy invested in this expedition, both by me and by all those who have been praying and supporting my journey in so many other ways; that it would be a shame to quit when I am relatively close to the end. During the rest of the afternoon, I came up with a plan that has me finishing about 10 days later than my orginal, but one that is possible to do with my ankle.
I was also encouraged by Max who wants to join me on the trail for a couple of weeks. Plant has offered to let Max borrow some of his ultralight backpacking gear. Max will be meeting me this Friday in Vermont and will be hiking with me until mile 2,000 in Maine.
This morning, I woke to the sound of my alarm going off, and then made the executive decision to sleep for 30 more minutes. It took me a long time to pack everything up, I was moving slowly this morning. It was a nice day, clear sky and sunny.
I forgot to mention this in yesterday's blog, but I saw a completely nude hiker. He was in his late 70s and he and his wife were out for a day hike. I heard later that they were both nude at some point. I was glad I only saw one nude hiker instead of two. That is something I never want to see again.
I hiked until I arrived at Clarendon Shelter around 4:30 pm. There I met a mother and son, hiking part of the long trail going south together. They were both very nice. I left to fill water. When I came back, there were 4 more people at the shelter; all part of one group hiking the AT going north. A few minutes later 2 more AT hikers arrived, who were going south.
It was a busy shelter. I built a warm fire for everyone. We sat around and talked about the Yellow Deli. The sobo AT hikers (Frog and Droplet) had stayed there the previous night. The Yellow Deli is part of a religious commune, they offer work in trade for food and shelter. They try to convince you to stay there and join their group. Since Frog and Droplet are newly weds, the Yellow Deli people really tried hard to convince them to stay; taking them into their house, giving them food to eat, and even a care package when they left. It is very popular with hikers on the AT, as there were 60 other hikers staying at the Deli that night.
Stealth Site to Carendon Shelter
Location: Latitude: 43.52350, Longitude: -72.91235