Lol you know the breakfast buffet is gonna be bad when the lobby and the breakfast room are the same room. It was so lack luster, I just ended up getting a coffee and going outside to smoke a cigarette as opposed to eating. There was a gang of bikers outside I ended up talking to briefly before I went back to the room to start packing my stuff. I had several errands to run during the day, so we grabbed some coffee at Bar-Stucks and ventured out!

2015-05-15 11.51.16
Black Diamond is the shit
2015-05-15 17.10.46
“Look, another smelly homeless man!”

The post office ended up having my next set of Black Diamond poles. I will always and forever buy BD poles. Their customer service and warranty is absolutely fantastic. They replace virtually anything with no questions asked, they simply ask for a mailing address.

After grabbing some resupply from the grocery store, we brought some trail magic to the YMCA camping spot in town, consisting of the tobacco that Sy gave me as well as a 6-pack of some kind of summer shandy. I was anxiously looking forward to the possibility of seeing some old trail friends, hoping that perhaps a few people behind me would be close.

Sure enough, my pal Sunny from way back in Georgia was there! It was good getting to catch up with him. I’m so proud of him making it this far, and his continued plan to finish the trail. He has MS and had been having a difficult time early on, so I managed to get ahead of him in the first few weeks and hadn’t heard from him since then. He has plans to aqua-blaze, and I really would like to join him, especially since I have already hiked half the Shennies, but the price was a bit higher than I liked and I figured since I have a ride back to the spot where I left off at I should go ahead and just keep hiking from where I left off. He will be getting off trail once he reaches PA, as his wife is expecting in a month or so, and he will be with her and the new child for a while and will jump back on the trail in Vermont, hopefully to meet up with me again.

Going back to the trail was kind of sad. Getting to spend time with Elise was good, but it also made me miss home a great deal. I know that the sensation will be fleeting, but I can’t help but feel the magnetic pull known as homesickness. Particularly that afternoon, as she drove me back to the trail head in the park. The over cast sky didn’t help the melancholy feelings. I had half a mind to just stay in the car and go home to all of the imaginary voices calling me back to Alabama, like some kind of spirits from below, weighing my heart down. I had undergone this vibe before, but never on this scale. Perhaps being 82 days out, it’s close to the longest I have consecutively been away from home. Feelings of doubt swirl in my head, in a vicious cycle making me feel more and more childlike and less competent.

I climb out of the car, holster my backpack, and trod heavily down the trail towards the shelter 0.6 miles away from the parking lot. I may or may not have yellow blazed that small piece, just because I wanted to get to the shelter and lay around in my hammock feeling sorry for myself. In the back of my head, I knew the trail would end up punishing me, even though it was only a 2 mile skip.

Sure enough, the rain began pouring on me. Buckets on buckets of water. I hauled that 0.6 to get to the shelter, expecting to arrive at an empty shelter. With the rain still coming down heavily, I took the spur to the tin-roofed cover, smacking and pounding and beaten by the rain. There were no tents in sight, and the shelter opening was aiming away from me. I rounded the corner of the shelter and was startled by 15 sets of eyes staring back at me. I jumped in surprise, all new faces and people I had never seen before. There was no room to sleep in the shelter, so I waited the rain out for a bit and set my hammock up. Blueberry, Superman, Heavyweight, Little Red and Chuckles were some of the awesome people I met there that night, as well as a platoon of weekend warriors and boy scouts. It was certainly a packed campsite, not to mention the love hut just down the hill from us with the couple and their dog.