Day 104: Pine Swamp Brook Shelter to Undermountain Road

June 26, 2013

Today’s mileage: 16.4

Total mileage: 1496.3

We woke up early this morning wishing that we could sleep longer. Obviously, we were tired from the past few days of wear and tear on our bodies and our minds. The mosquitoes were out in full force bright and early, so we put on our long sleeve shirts and bug netting until we were ready to hike. We were booking it up and down the mountains of Connecticut today, excited to meet up with a couple of our followers at the road crossing in Salisbury.

We were still feeling down this morning, but listening to music really helped motivate us and get us through our day. I miss music so much, so the days when I get to listen to music while hiking are always great days. I don’t always want to listen to music, but on days like today, after I’ve had a rough streak, are the days when I need it most. I had a good mix going throughout the day. Classical and film soundtracks in the morning followed by some Dave Matthews Band, Led Zeppelin, and Grateful Dead in the afternoon. And there was a little Kanye mixed in there too.

Still in high stress mode this morning, we came to a road near Falls Village, Mlies thinking that we were at our planned midday break point for the day. I didn’t think we were there yet, but getting close. Miles was convinced that we had gone past the spot after coming to the next road. He had a freak-out moment and stormed off down the trail to find another place to break. We sat down on a bench not too long after in silence. I could tell he was angry, frustrated, tired. After looking at our guide book again, we hadn’t actually passed the road into Falls Village yet. Miles apologized to me for freaking out and we got over it pretty quickly. I knew that his anger wasn’t directed at me; the stress of the past few days was getting to both of us. We were exhausted.

The second half of the day went by in a flash. We killed the almost 1,000 foot climb and we were hiking over 4 miles per hour! That’s unheard of for us. We got to the parking lot where we were meeting Kristin at 2:00, when we had planned on being there at 3:00. It’s amazing how the promise of a warm bed will motivate you to hike the fastest you’ve ever hiked. And we certainly needed some time off. We enjoyed passing the time in the parking lot just sitting down and relaxing.

We were so lucky to get an offer from blog followers and soon-to-be thru-hikers, Kristin and Eric, to stay with them for a night in Connecticut. We were in desperate need of a little time off and some rest, and they offered at the perfect time. Kristin picked us up and brought Subway and sodas for us to eat on the way back to their apartment. If you want to know the way to a thru-hiker’s heart, bring them food and drinks for the car ride back to where you’re taking them. It works wonders. We met their adorable and playful cats, took showers, and borrowed some of their clothes to wear while we did laundry. By the way, the laundromat here is amazing. I actually wanted to hang out there. That’s not something I say everyday. They took us to the grocery store to resupply and then we headed out to REI to exchange a couple of things. Miles was in desperate need of some new shoes, so he picked up some Merrells. My new SmartWool shirt had a hole in it after only wearing it three times, so I went to exchange that for a new one. We also picked up some 98% DEET, a very necessary item for our sanity. I really didn’t want to use such potent DEET, but I’ve come to the point where it’s an absolute necessity.

We went out to dinner at an awesomely good restaurant, Plan B. The burgers were amazing and I indulged in an Allagash White, a Maine beer might I add. Old Red Sox highlights were playing on TV and I knew I was back in New England. It feels good to be back in Red Sox territory. We had a great time talking with Kristen and Eric about thru-hiking and we’re really excited to follow them on their AT thru-hike next year. It is so cool to meet people that you never would have met before without the connectivity of blogging. The fact that people are willing to let you stay in their homes, wear their clothes, and take over an entire room with your hiking gear is amazing. If you’ve lost faith in humankind, then I’d suggest hiking the AT. You will find good people everywhere.

We soaked our feet in Epsom salts tonight to help with a few minor blisters for me and a few major ones for Miles. My feet are swollen with red spots all over, some strange genetic phenomenon that my mom and I both possess. This happens every time I’m In town. It usually goes away the next day after a little elevation overnight. We think it has something to do with our blood vessels. It’s not really debilitating for long, it just hurts to walk right now. Doctors are always baffled by our medical malady.

And now it is time for a good night’s sleep in preparation for more hiking tomorrow. We have a short day planned for tomorrow as we head into our eleventh state, Massachusetts! We are in better spirits today, especially after our wonderful mini-break with Kristin and Eric. We are making a push to Dalton to meet up with one of Miles’ friends this weekend, but after that we have both agreed that we want to slow down. In fact, we NEED to slow down. Our bodies and our minds need more rest and less stress. Katahdin will be there waiting for us, whether we finish on August 14th or September 14th.

And now I will leave you all with a quote from the Grateful Dead. I couldn’t help but post these lyrics after listening to this song today. It is so telling of our thru-hike so far. These few words really helped me get through the day:

Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me

Other times I can barely see

Lately it occurs to me

What a long, strange trip it’s been

-“Truckin’ “, Grateful Dead

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5 thoughts on “Day 104: Pine Swamp Brook Shelter to Undermountain Road

  1. Massachusetts already? That’s amazing! You and Miles are an inspiration xo

  2. Bain and Rita Pollard says:

    Wow, what a great idea to slow your pace! maybe find a music venue or concert somewhere in hitching distance? Your best hiking is staring at you just over the horizon! Summer in the Green & white mts is gonna be special! Always give yourself something special to look forward to, even if if its only a very small item, it’ll pull you through! Spoke to your Mom about using our home in Western Maine in month or so…….I know you guys be home soon!………..Best of Luck, Sherpa……..onto Tom the Ice Cream Man’s House in Dalton!

  3. Chris S says:

    Given that you call Maine home, do you consider yourselves Nobos or Hobos?

  4. Kristin says:

    It was just lovely meeting you both. You also brightened Eric and I’s day. We thoroughly enjoyed your company, what great conversations we had 🙂 I was pondering the same thing on the way home, how I would probably have never met you both if we weren’t also embarking on this adventure. I’m so glad our paths crossed and we know you two have what it takes to make it. You got this!!! We will be rooting for you from Connecticut 🙂 Our cats will miss you and all the awesome smells 😀

  5. Mom says:

    Very appropriate GD line to end your post with! From a mom, I am thankful to people like Kristin and Eric for taking you 2 into their home, as smelly as you are. Seriously, you need these breaks and meeting generous people is a bonus. The goodwill you have received along the way just warms my heart. So…..slow down, you move too fast, you got to make the morning last and I have no idea what song that is from. Xoxoxo

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