Tuesday, August 15, 2017 (Day 104)
My eyes opened to the activation of bright artificial lights, from the motion of the lady’s bathroom door swinging open.
“Oh!” A man’s voice proclaimed, startled at the site of my bare feet protruding from beneath the handicap stall.
It was 6:02 am. I had been caught.
“Sorry!” I proclaimed. “I will be out of here in just a moment!”
He was less concerned with my occupancy than with my mode of entry. I explained that the door had been left ajar and that it had begun to rain. He was quite nice about the situation. As I made my walk of shame from the stall, he glanced at me from the sink he was tending to. He smiled. He was younger and less authoritative than I had imagined.
I moved around back to the shower. Cold puddles of rain water covered the shower floor, but the four minutes of hot water eight quarters afforded, was lovely. I washed with the array of shampoo and soaps that sat on the plastic shelf, presumably left by other hikers, and dried myself with a swath of terry towel. I then made my way to the little coffee shop across the street to write.
I hiked out at around 8pm.
I made the ascent up Caleb’s Peak and St. John’s Ledges. The climb was not bad, but the descent was rocky, steep, and challenging. I took my time and watched my footing, thankful for the dry conditions and the 300 lumens provided by my headlamp.
After the descent the trail leveled out and travelled alongside River Road. Not long in to the road walk I came to a brook running through a culvert beneath the road. I found a place off trail beside it, and camped for the night.