Mile: 1586 - 1608.5 (22.5 + 1 miles)
I've gotten so used to soft ground the shelters hard wood is strange. But it's protected from the wind and free of mice. My plan was to get going early but I'm stiff and slow and don't get out until 7. Not exactly late but for a stealth spot not ideal, I can see the workers in bright orange up on the tower and figure it's time to get moving.
It's a long and mostly incredibly steep drop down to the highway but other than going slow it's a lovely morning. It's still cool and instead of tiny newts today the trail is covered in tiny tiny frogs. I even scare a bear on the hillside, I'm so busy taking pictures of frogs it takes a moment to register the crashing and then it's already gone.
After 6 miles and a few blocks in town I walk a half mile off trail to a grocery store to resupply for the next stretch. It's a giant grocery store and I wander aimlessly for ages. They kindly let me charge my phone while I buy far too much food. Then to the pizza place next store for lunch, thruhikers get half off which is pretty exciting and I start to stall. The heat has kicked back up and the humidity make my 2000 ft climb out of town sound pretty unpleasant. The pizza guys are great and it's not hard to dawdle even longer.
My pack feels heavy and the half mile out of town feels ridiculously long because I suddenly desperately need to use the bathroom. I somehow make it until the forest and once I'm safely in the woods it's all ok and I can start the long climb. It's actually not bad under the canopy and I get to follow along a beautiful creek for awhile. The southbounders are getting more plentiful but I find myself at the Vermont border alone. Woohoo Vermont and I get to share the Long Trail for a bit. It goes all the way to Canada but we part ways in about 105 miles, so I guess I'll be a Long Trail section hiker.
More big climbs and rolling ridge lines. Its quiet and peaceful taking breaks and slowly moving today. One of those days I'm just happy I get to be out here. Passing beaver swamps and walking on wooden planks I pass by the shelter, it's crowded and loud and it's not much farther before I find a nice quiet spot. For not doing many miles I find my eyes closing as I eat dinner. An early night it is.
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