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Cornwall Storm


Appalachian Trail – October 7th, 2013


This morning’s privy was a toilet seat on a box.  I really should not have been upset by that since I usually experienced a far less sophisticated potty break, but for some reason I could more easily wrap my head around a hole behind a bush than a toilet seat on a box.  The mosquitoes had also obviously learned to wait near the box for the guaranteed tender flesh bonanza.  So, I nervously perched in the wide open woods, on a toilet seat on a box, and peered around anxiously as eager insects feasted on my bum.

Side note – the picture to the left is a tight squeeze I had that day.  Note the two blazes marking the turn up between the slabs of granite.  This and the mosquitoes made for a little lost flesh on that day’s hike.

Although this mornings privy experience resulted in a slight spike in adrenaline, the dreary morning resulted in a sluggish start.  There were a few more rocks under foot than usual, and they were buried under slick wet leaves, and I dragged my feet and stumbled along, snagging my toes on hidden obstacles.

Late afternoon, a text pinged my phone.  “Bad storms and 50 mph winds headed your way!”   I was fortunate enough to have a weather forecaster at home, who seemed to delight in sending ominous weather texts.  I never got texts like “A beautiful and humid free day is headed your way!” or “No rain for the next two weeks!”  I sighed and stopped to pull out my guide pages.  The next town was in Cornwall Bridge, CT, and it had a motel…and food.  It would be coming up in about an hour, but I frowned, shouldered my pack, and resolved to march through a few windy rain showers.

Over the course of the next hour, hikers passing me, going in the opposite direction, advised that I could not cross the brook after Shannon road and would have to hike up to the high water route.  I did not give that a lot of consideration.  After high water crossings in the High Sierras, brooks on the AT in CT did not register on my alarm o meter, so I just thanked them for the advise and continued on, trying not to think about how close food was to the trail.

The last group of section hikers I encountered before Shannon Road, dealt the comment that changed my mind on my goal for the day.  They told me there was a group of men in front of me headed to the next shelter.  I had considered hunkering down at that shelter due to the high winds, but always dreaded a crowded shelter.  I really dread most any shelter, but a crowded one was almost unbearable, and honestly, crammed in with a group of unknown men was even less appealing.  I could have tarped, but really did not want to fight the 50-60 mph wind gusts headed our way.

I was still pondering my choices when I reached the road.  Whimp, I muttered to myself as I looked down the desolate road that curved through the dark, wet trees.  As I stood deciding, thunder rumbled overhead, and a stiff breeze pushed through the branches above me.   I looked up, and rain drops spattered across my face, as if a spigot was slowly being turned on high above.  As the deluge increased, I pulled out my phone, and leaned over to call the Hitching Post, protecting the phone from the now hard rain.  I called for a shuttle, and 15 minutes later I was whisked down the toad to a small, clean motel.

The only real challenge for the day was ordering food.  There was no place to go and only one place that would deliver for a minimum of 30 dollars.  I figured I would order enough for dinner and breakfast.   I ordered enough for a large dinner and a large breakfast, by hiker standards, and ate it all for dinner.

I may not yet be a hiking machine, but I am one hell of an eating machine

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