Saturday, September 9, 2017 (Day 130)
I did not want to rise. It was extremely cold and foggy out there, in the world outside of my sleeping bag. With long underwear, wool socks that I found abandoned at a shelter, a fleece pullover I found at the Yellow Deli Hiker Hostel, my puffy, beanie, and gloves all tucked within my 22 degree down sleeping bag, I slept quite comfortably on the windy, wet, fog shrouded mountain top. It was the rising I was afraid of.
I sat up, lower half still tucked away, and boiled water for coffee and oatmeal. I used a prong of my metal spork to open a vacuum sealed package of dehydrated bananas I had found in a hiker box. I successfully liberated the banana chunks, but not without sacrifice. The metal Sea to Summit spork snapped in half in the process. Darn my spoon luck! The bananas were quite delicious, however, which provided some consolation.
At around 9 am I deemed it warm enough to pull myself from the heated, downy embrace. I proceeded to wipe off my things, all dripping with moisture, and one by one, pack them away.
The mountain was beautiful. The sweet smell of pine made me swoon. As the morning turned to afternoon, and I dropped to lower elevation, the fog dissipated, the sun shining through.
I considered hitching in to Lincoln at the next crossing. There was a Price Chopper and a laundry mat and a Family Dollar, all conveniently located in the same center. I could wash and dry everything.
As I neared the bottom of the descent, a hiker I knew came up behind me. I let them pass. We chatted as we made the mile per hour rocky and stream-filled trek down the mountainside.
He mentioned that he was meeting his cousin at the Kinsman Notch parking area, and that I could get a ride in to town with them, if I wanted.
I did just that. I was dropped of at the Price Chopper parking lot. I bought tofu and grapefruit and beets and acquired a black plastic spoon, and ate in the laundry mat as I washed my things. I put practically everything through the drier, including my sleeping bag and tent.
When I was through with laundry, and had purchased a bit more food for the trail, I walked west along Route 112. I stopped at a gas station for coffee, then stood at the corner and stuck out my thumb.
It was not long until a nice lady named Amy picked me up. She had two middle-school aged boys as passengers. She dropped them at some school sporting event, and then took me to the trail head. She was a runner. She was going to be running in a relay race that involved car camping and running trails in the middle of the night, a race that continued through multiple days. It sounded intriguing. She said that she always picked up women hikers when she could. We arrived at the parking lot, I thanked her, and we both were on our way.
Unfortunately, my way did not lead me far. I had only travelled a mile and a half before it grew dark and my motivation disappeared like the rays of the sun. I found a nice tent site off of a short spur trail, got cozy, and fell fast asleep; warm and dry.