Appalachian Trail Mile 1556.9

Sunday, August 20, 2017 (Day 109)

I rose very early, just as light began to uncover the colors and shapes of the little village. All was still. I stole another hour of rest, relying on the sleepiness of Sunday to keep town-folk within their homes, their beds, safely tucked away and unaware of my parking lot imposition.

I used the portable lavatory in the little park just down the road from where I slept. The playground appeared almost rustic, as if even the swings and slides were rich with history.

I then headed down the road I believed would lead me to the trail. The walk back was beautiful!

Cloud shadows sat atop tree covered rolling hills, just beyond where horses grazed. Signs on the street read that horses were permitted on the road. The homes and barns were quaint and flower filled.

I found myself at Main Road. Wait, what? This is not right. Sure, I was at an Appalachian Trail trailhead, but it was not the one I had intended. I had cut-off one mile of trail.

Darn it. What to do now?  I collected noodles that were left at the trailhead and pondered my next move. I reviewed my ideas and goals when embarking on a thru-hike. I chose to press on.

No, no. I could not.

I realized that I could walk south for a mile on trail, to where I began my road walk in to town, then hike back again. I oriented myself by the sun and headed south. It was a gloriously beautiful stretch of trail! After reaching the road and reconnecting my path, I turned north once more. A car passed. As it drove off, a hand was held outstretched from the window, forming a peace sign. I smiled and waved. It felt so nice.

As the day progressed, I struggled.

I passed US Route 20. I was tempted to hitch in to the town of Lee. Dalton was not far, however, and the trail passed right through the small town. To get in to Lee, I would have to hitch 5 miles. I had found some noodles, I should be fine. I stopped part way through the climb from Route 20, and ate the last of the noodles.

Massachusetts is extremely beautiful. There is a wildness, a greenness, a vastness of leaves, a rolling of hills that I greatly admire. A lack of appealing water sources, however, has led me to hike in a state of dehydration.

My body was desperate when I came to the stream just before the October Mountain Shelter. I sat on a rock in the center of the stream and drank through my Sawyer filter. I promised my body I would water it with greater frequency. I gathered water to go and continued.

Just passed the shelter there was a tent site. The space looked appealing, as did the idea of reclination. I stopped there for the night.

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