Saturday, September 2, 2017 (Day 123)
I woke with a sinking feeling of disappointment. I had moved only two miles yesterday. I did not get much rest. I had hardly written a word.
…alas, nothing will come of negative thinking.
I packed up, moved through the hostel, and descended the stairs to the hall where free breakfast was being served. I did not have an appetite, but coffee was certainly on my mind. Unfortunately the coffee was out. I was quickly greeted by the manager of last night’s conversation. “Coffee is no good for you, anyway. Have Matte.” I sighed. Declined the offer for breakfast, and ascended the stairs.
As I was gathering my food stuffs from the kitchen area, I felt watched. Every time I looked behind, the manager was there. He smiled and made small talk and asked question after question. I felt uncomfortable. I left quickly.
I walked with my pack to the Wal-Mart to see about acquiring a new battery pack.
While in the parking lot, a kind man asked me about my hike. He had hiked the AT years ago. He offered to give me a ride back to the trailhead. I told him I was headed to the coffee shop and needed to do some writing. He gave me his number on the back of a torn slip of paper, and told me to call should I want a ride within the hour. I thanked him, pocketed the paper, and we both continued on our way.
At the coffee shop I ordered a large black cup of coffee and sat at a bar stool. They were not especially kind at the coffee shop. I considered the situation at hand. It never seems wise to refuse a ride. Plus, I need to keep moving.
I phoned Will, and he told me that he would be happy to give me a ride. That I should meet him back at the Wal-Mart parking lot.
The ride back to the trail was very pleasant. Will had many interesting stories. He had hitch-hiked all over the United States, and is an incredible artist. He gifted me two postcards of his artwork, and many well-wishes.
Then, I was on my way to Maine once more.
Back on trail, I soon ran in to someone who I hitched in to Bennington with. It was comforting to see him. He had taken quite a few days off trail as well. We chatted for six miles or so. We spoke of the PCT and trail maintenence and development, and our feelings on shelters, and the silliness of the term “stealth camping” in reference to the trail. The miles passed quickly.
During a steep ascent I stopped for a break…and a nap. It was supposed to begin raining early tomorrow and continue through the day. It was the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. I had to keep moving.
I hiked in to the early parts of the night.
There was a tentsite just across a stream on the southern side of Chateauguay Road. I decided to stay there for the night. I did not set up my tent, determined to rise before the rain falls.