Manchester, VA to Crawford Notch, New Hampshire

Day 138: We slept in then J-Rex made us pancakes, eggs and bacon for breakfast! Coffee and orange juice too! We packed up and Andrew drove us back to the trail. We started hiking around 10AM. We had some pretty normal hiking. The end of the day was nice. We got two beautiful views and crossed a pretty gorge. Afterwards we had to climb up some rock scrambles at the end of the day. Then it was down to the shelter. We made it there just before dark. We did our chores then crawled into bed. The shelter was crawling with mice. We hung our food, so hopefully it survives the night. Glad to have our warm gear back!

Day 139: We hiked Killington today. It was mostly a nice and gradual climb, but there were a few steep sections. It was a mostly sunny day, great for hiking, but still a bit chilly at the top. This is the first 4000 footer we’ve been on since Virginia! We took a side trail to the top and the view was awesome. Then it was about 7 miles to go to Rutland. J-Rex had a connection there. Cory picked us up at the trailhead and brought us to the Woodbox. We settled in and took showers. Max’s mother Tony and the cabin owner Helen came up and the three of them cooked us a huge dinner! There was a puppy there full of energy and super cute. Sleeping in a comfy bed tonight!

Day 140: This morning Tony and Helen made us breakfast and Tony drove us to the store to resupply. Then they dropped us at the trailhead. It was a sunny day and it finally warmed up to August temperatures. We had a few climbs. Stealth camping tonight. I nailed a difficult bear hang.

Day 141: I woke up to owls hunting and toads jumping all around our tent last night. I didn’t sleep as well as I’d hoped. It was a groggy morning and we were all zombies until the first break. We went up to the Lookout, which is on private land, but open to hikers. It is a cabin and there was a viewing platform on the roof that you could climb up to on a ladder. We hung out there for a while enjoying the views and drinking coffee. Then we hiked to the next shelter for lunch and Voodoo appeared! The four of us hiked down to On The Edge Farm, which had all sorts of food and drinks. I enjoyed some soda and ice cream, then Hob bought a whole pie and shared with us! After a long break there, we hit the trail for three more miles. It was almost dark when we invaded Paperweight’s camping spot, but he didn’t seem to mind. We quickly did all our chores, then climbed into bed.

Day 142: I slept pretty well last night. Had a steep climb to start the morning. We hiked a little further to our first break so we could take it in a shelter since it was sprinkling off and on. After break J-Rex and Voodoo pushed on to get to town. We hiked through rolling hills with some gorgeous views. When we got to West Hartford, a lady waved us over to her house and cooked us breakfast! We also had soda! We chatted with her for a while, then went four miles to the Happy Hill Shelter. We got in as it started to rain again. We cooked dinner then decided to set the tent up inside the shelter as it started raining harder. It at 5PM so I’ll have time to read for the first time in a long time.

Day 143: It dumped rain last night and it was still raining when we got up. It was still sprinkling for our quick 6 mile hike into Hanover, NH. We made it to New Hampshire! We got some sandwiches in town, then did shower/laundry/resupply. We got a free slice of pizza at Ramuto’s! It was brick oven and so good. It poured while we repackaged our food in the entrance of the Co-Op. It let up a bit before we had to head out, but we did hike in some rain. Another 6 miles to a stream that we camped by. We finished our chores quickly and snuggled into bed for the night.

Day 144: It was a foggy morning, but cleared to a pleasant partly cloudy day. We had two climbs today and they both had nice viewpoints. Some of the trees in the valley have started to turn a burgundy red. Very pretty! We got trail magic in between the two mountains in the form of hotdogs and soda! Stealth camping again by a small stream. Into camp at a decent hour!

Day 145: There was a critter in camp that kept us up last night, but it didn’t bother us. I was still pretty sleepy when we got up. The morning was foggy and the dew lit up hundreds of spider webs along the trail. It was very neat to see the different types of webs. We started climbing almost immediately. Lambert’s Ridge was awesome and there was still morning for down below us. The rest of the climb up Smarts Mt. was steep and a lot of it was still wet. I was very hungry by the time we reached the top. We couldn’t get up the fire tower, so we didn’t even get a view! The climb down was more gradual but wet and muddy. We had lunch when we got to the bottom at South Jacobs Brook. The sun felt nice. Then we climbed Mt. Cube, which was an easier climb but still took a while. We had a break at the top with views and talked with a SOBO hiker named Hercules. Then we climbed down and are camping next to an old basement foundation. Chores went quick, but it get dark so early!

Day 146: A short 11.3 miles today to rest before the Whites. The terrain was pretty easy. We got to Ore Hill Campground for the first break. The privy was hilarious. The bottom cage was labelled ‘Dungeon’ and the front double doors we labelled ‘Castle’ and the seat was a throne! Too funny. We had lunch at a viewpoint then stopped at the Hiker’s Welcome Hostel. They brought us to the store for resupply and got dinner at the deli. We hung out there for a few hours charging our stuff and I read from one of their hammocks. Eventually we hit the trail for one more mile to the shelter. We set up and right before we were headed to bed a trail angel showed up with food! Jack “Drummer” brought us ice cream sandwiches, cherries and cookies. We ate while talking until it got dark. We got into bed and as I started writing Pop came over to our tent and told us J-Rex was back at the Hostel! Crazy girl has caught us already. We are now under 400 miles to Katahdin!

Day 147: We woke to the sound of a pack of coyotes barking, which lasted over an hour! Don’t know what they were doing. We made oatmeal and coffee-cocoa, then started towards Mt. Moosilauke. The climb was pretty gradual until we got closer to the top. We hit a side trail to South Peak and we could see Moosilauke from it. At that trail intersection we decided to have a snack and J-Rex showed up! The trail mellowed out again after that point. We all hiked to the summit together. We hung out at the top for three hours! A bunch of other thru-hikers showed up and J-Rex flew her kite. I got a pretty good sunburn. We hiked down to the shelter and looked over our plans. We had planned to stay there, but decided it would be better to resupply tonight instead of in a few days. We hiked down the rest of the way from Moosilauke and hitched a ride into Lincoln. We resupplied, then went to Chet’s place. This guy lets hikers stay at his place through word of mouth. His story is heart wrenching. He was getting ready for a thru-hike when an MSR stove blew up, burnt down his house, and gave him 4th degree burns (which means they went down to his bones). He was in a coma for 8 months and 80% of his body was burnt. He is legally blind and can’t hear well. Now he helps hikers so he can be close to the community he wasn’t able to join by hiking. He asks questions to make sure you are a thru-hiker, and is such a sweet man! After setting up our tents in his backyard we went to grab some dinner, then went straight to bed.

Day 148: We packed up camp then went to Texas Toast Eatery for breakfast. It was such good food! Then Miss Janet drove us to the trailhead and we climbed out of the gap. It was slow going all day as the trail bumped up and down constantly. We climbed Wolf Mountain which had a small but nice outlook. We got to Eliza Brook Shelter around 5 PM and decided it was too late to go to the next one. We hung out and ate then Voodoo showed up! I think I might have some ingrown hairs on my leg. Sleeping in the shelter tonight to try to get out of camp early tomorrow.

Day 149: We got up a little earlier to maximize our daylight hours. Voodoo decided to hike with us today. We climbed up South and North Kinsman Mountains. The climb was pretty steep. We climbed down then stopped at the Lonesome Lake Hut for a late lunch. We got some chicken and bean soup for $2! The hut was facing Mt. Lafayette with a lake under. It was beautiful! We continued to hike down to Franconia Notch then had a steep climb to Liberty Springs Campground. It was chilly up there we were very tired. We checked in and paid the caretaker, then went to rig up our tents on the platform. After we cooked dinner and it was already getting dark. We went straight to bed afterwards and I used all my layers as it was in the low 30’s F.

Day 150: We got up late because it was so cold out. We cooked breakfast then hiked the rest of the way up Liberty. We had to take a side trail to bag the peak, so we did. It was beautiful! Then we hiked Little Haystack and started the Franconia Ridge. We hiked over Lincoln, then Lafayette and stopped there for lunch. The views were the best we’ve had. We hiked down trail for some water then continued on to Garfield. We had to climb down off the ridge, then back up to the summit. When we got up there we took a break. There were gliders flying around and Voodoo flashed them, causing one to almost crash into the summit! We hiked on to Galehead Hut and begged them to let us stay. We didn’t get work for stay, but they let us sleep in the dining room. We were given hot water and had to stay up until lights our at 9:30 PM. The stars were very bright.

Day 151: We got out of the hut and onto the trail at 6:30 AM. We flew up South Twin’s very steep trail. We hiked down then up Mt. Guyot. It was a very chilly morning. The trail chilled out a bit as we climbed down to Zealand Falls Hut. We stopped there for lunch and got some soup. The sun came out and we hiked along a very smooth path. Then it was one more decent to Crawford Notch. J-Rex’s father picked us up in the parking lot and he had food for us! We drove to their home and had a snack and shower before bed.

Day 152: Zero Day 🙂

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Dalton, MA to Manchester, VT

Day 130: We started out our morning at Cumberland Farms with coffee and muffins. Feeling refreshed after our zero. We only ended up taking one break between Dalton and Cheshire; a nine mile stretch. We did take several pit stops to get rid of coffee. We got ice cream in Cheshire and took a two-hour lunch break. We called the outfitter in town (they had no regular hours) and the guy told us the place was closed for good but he had two canisters left he could sell us. We walked around for a while looking for the place until a local gave us directions. It was a bunch of gear in a garage. The guy remembered us as the Maine Sisters! We met him in the Smokies. He had to get off trail due to Lyme Disease. Back on trail, five miles to the shelter. It was mostly uphill, but it felt great on the feet! Had a fire with other hikers tonight which was nice. Loving the bear box!

Day 131: We climbed up Mt. Greylock and got some coffee at the top. The people were super rude there. We ran into Cozy there and got to catch up. When we were up there Navi found a rash and we were worried it was a tick bite. We had a long hike down to Rt. 2. When we got there, Rob Byrd was there doing trail magic. He also gave us a ride to the hospital… Navi doesn’t have lyme, but I have bed bugs! After the hospital, we went to Los Desperatos for dinner and they gave us food and drinks on the house! The bartender also offered to let us tent in his backyard, but J-Rex knew someone in town. Annette picked us up and let us tent in her yard.

Day 132: We got a ride back to the trail from Annette and hike up out-of-town. We finally crossed into Vermont! After a hippie photo shoot, we started hiking through ‘Vermud’. We hiked until dark and stealth camped. There was an owl screeching at us!

Day 133: A short hike down into Bennington and an easy hitch to town. We resupplied at Dollar General then grabbed some food at a bagel shop. Then to the laundromat to dry all my stuff for 30 minutes (to kill the bed bugs). We got another quick hitch back to the trail. It was all uphill to the shelter where we are staying tonight. Expecting rain. Nice shelter. Chilly.

Day 134: A windy and cold morning. It rained last night and the wind was blowing the rain off the leaves. We walked four miles to the first shelter where we stopped for a quick break. We couldn’t stay long because it was so chilly. Another 4.7 miles to the next shelter for lunch. The rain really came down between the two shelters! We stopped and made a hot drink to try to warm up. We had another four miles to go before trying to find a stealth spot. We hiked on and caught up with Hob and Chickadee. Hob’s old coworker had a ski condo close and they were supposed to meet up with them tomorrow night. Hob called them up and asked if a day early would be ok and they invited us along! Deb and Jim invited us in with open arms. We got a shower and a chance to do laundry. They fed us this huge gourmet meal and offered us real beds to sleep in! Truly a wonderful night after such a dreary morning.

Day 135: I woke warm and rested. We were served eggs and bacon, and coffee and orange juice, then brought back out to the trail. We climbed Stratton Mountain, which had a fire tower. It was windy and cold, but the views were phenomenal! We hiked down, then it was smooth sailing for the rest of the day. We got another nice view. We are camped near the road to Manchester Center. I got an awesome bear hang today! Cool night. Snuggled in the tent and it is starting to rain.

Day 136: We woke early to a cool morning. Hitched a ride to Green Mountain House Hostel and left our night gear behind. The owner was headed to the trailhead, so got a ride back with him. We are slack packing for the first time and managed to get on trail by 8 A.M. We hiked up Bromley Mountain, which has a ski resort on it. The top was exposed and the wind was very chilly. Thankfully they leave the ski patrol hut open in the summer. We took refuge inside and had a snack. We put on every layer we had and it was barely enough even out of the wind. We left all our layers on as we continued to hike. We had two more mountains to summit and we barely stopped for breaks, because it was so cold. Navi checked the temperature at the top of Peru Peak and it read 47F. We continued to cruise through more level land after the mountains and thankfully the rain held off. We got to Danby and found Andrew’s (Navi’s husband) car in the parking lot; empty! He’d gotten there early so he decided to go for a run. When he got back he drove us to the Green Mountain House. We showered, then picked J-Rex up and went to dinner!

Day 137: Zero Day 🙂 Best Hostel on the trail!!

Garrison, NY to Dalton, MA

Day 118: We got hit with a huge thunderstorm last night but we stayed dry. We slept in a little and then waited for our stuff to charge. Buggy day on the trail today. The mosquitos weren’t bothered by the deet I sprayed all over myself. I have a couple of rashes. I think they might be chiggers, but I don’t know. We got rained on today. When we got to the beach at Clarence F. State Park, we took refuge under the building eaves and cooked dinner. Then we took wonderful showers; so hot!! We got a ridge from some workers to the campground for one free night of tenting. The mosquitoes were brutal as we set up, but it didn’t take us long. It will be nice to sleep tonight not covered in det and sweat. Tent is still a little wet.

Day 119: Wow, what a nice night of sleep! That’s what a hot shower will do. I miss hot showers so much! We got a good view today and the weather was very nice. We got to camp just before 5 PM. I just found the tiniest tick I’ve ever seen. I’m lucky it was moving or I never would have found it. Reading before bed!

Day 120: Apparently there was a racoon in the camping area last night. I woke many times to the people who didn’t hang their food trying to shoo it away. I didn’t sleep well and woke with a headache. It went away quickly though. We walked around a pretty lake this morning. We cruised thanks to Navigator turning on her music! We came upon trail magic as we got to the biggest oak tree along the trail. Then it was two more miles to Native Landscapes where we got more soda and Navi picked up some packages. Then we cruised to the shelter. The shelter is nasty but we found a nice tenting spot. Feeling great for 16.6 miles! Catching up on sleep tonight.

Day 121: We are in New England! Crossed into Connecticut this morning right after finding trail magic! I got an apple. We saw a trail crew hard at work improving the trail. A few tough climbs today. We got a hitch into Kent, CT to resupply and wash laundry. We met up with J-Rex! She took a day off here after her boyfriend Max went home. Tenting for free in town. There is a shanty shower set up under the stairwell. Pretty much a garden hose with curtains. I was the first to use it and the sun had warmed up the water in the hose, so I got a warm shower for about five seconds! Then just cold water, but it still felt great to get clean.

Day 122: We got a great breakfast in town this morning, but were pretty late getting on trail. We had a bit of climbing, then a nice flat section by a river. The mosquitoes were bad enough that I put my head net on as we walked. We had another climb and we heard thunder as we got to the base of it. Half way up there was a pavilion so we raced up to it! We “sprinted” by hiker standards. There was a lovely swing there that I got to enjoy before the rain started. We waited out the storm and ate dinner. Afterwards we had about three miles to go. We did our first for-real river crossing and the Crocs held up nice. We hiked the last half mile in the dark, but the tent sites were nice and flat. There was a critter around as we hung our bags, probably another raccoon.

Day 123: I got the bear line stuck in the tree after taking down the bags, but with some effort we managed to get it down. The terrain was very bumpy, with many ups and downs. Just before we reached the flat we realized there was a cafe in the town we would be walking through, but we had three more miles to do in an hour if we wanted to get there before it closed. We soda and coffee on the brain, Navi put on some music and we went as fast as we could! We made it there with 20 minutes to spare and ended up ordering dinner as well. Then we went to a spot in town that had an outlet for our use and charged while we rested a bit. A little further up the trail we came upon Grand Falls, which was awesome! We hiked on until we got to a huge field with fantastic views, so we are camping here. As we were setting up, a former thru-hiker Shepherd spotted us and gave us cookies! The mosquitoes were so bad that we all started going nuts!

Day 124: It started raining as we were eating breakfast so we snoozed for a little longer hoping it was a passing shower. It wasn’t! We packed from inside the tent then took it down. We hiked just under four miles to Salisbury, CT where we stopped to resupply and grab coffee. It took us four hours to get back on trail, but the sun came out and we were able to dry our stuff out. We hiked Bear Mountain, the highest in CT, then down to Sage’s Ravine, which had lots of swimming holes and water falls. Too bad it was too chilly to swim! Then we crossed into Massachusetts. We also hit 1500 miles today. Tenting at a nice site with a bear box. Bugs are still nuts.

Day 125: I woke up tired. We climbed a mountain but were socked in with clouds. It felt nice and cool though. Found water trail magic. Mosquitoes were the worst yet. I wore my head net through most of the flat section. We got soda and water trail magic while looking for vending machines that were in the guide (they don’t exist!). A steep climb to end the day. We squeezed into a tiny stealth site. We had to use the double tree method to bear bag. It took all our free time! Tired and grumpy; hoping tomorrow is better.

Day 126: I hate mornings and mosquitoes! I love trail angels! A typical day of hiking with some ups and downs. We stopped at a road to look for water and a couple in an RV drove by and pointed us in the correct direction to the spring. Then they offered us some food! A banana and clementine on the spot and I also took a granola bar, sunflower seeds and a clementine to go! Staying at the Shaker Campsite with tent pads and a bear box. We even got all our errands done before a thunderstorm rolled in.

Day 127: It rained all night but it stopped this morning. We went over a fence with a sketchy stile. It was just a board in the middle of the lines of barbed wire! We got to walk around some pretty ponds and thankfully the bugs were a little better. There was some sketchy boardwalks and lots of mud. In Lee we walked to a lodge where we got soda and ordered Chinese delivery! We also got to dry some of our stuff out. The lady running the lodge was very nice. Then we hiked on until we got tired. We ended up camping in a parking lot on a gravel road (Country Road) right where the AT crosses. Hopefully no cars come by tonight! I had Pork Fried Rice and soda that I packed out from the lodge. We did just under 17 miles today.

Day 128: We had a minor struggle getting the bear bags down this morning, but we prevailed without cutting the line. Chilly night and morning. We hiked to the Cookie Lady’s place and got cookies and water. We also picked some blueberries and they only charged us $1! The man there told us it was hiker day. He was too sweet! Getting moving again was tough. Thankfully the terrain was pretty easy and the bugs weren’t nearly as bad. On our last climb we got hit with a thunderstorm. There was very small hail. I sped up to stay warm. It was tough because my left foot was in a lot of pain, which would occasionally shoot up my left leg. We got into town pretty quick and stopped in at Levarti’s. He lets people camp in his backyard. After talking with him, we walked to the CRA for nice hot showers then grabbed dinner. Then we headed back and went straight to bed.

Day 129: Zero Day 🙂 Tom let us use his bikes to ride around town and we used his day packs to do laundry, resupply and get another shower! We even had time to go to the library. We had a nice sunny day.