Today officially marks 4 months out on the trail! It’s funny how much our plans change as we hike and grind along. Four months ago, I expected to be a month away from summiting, cruising on up to Maine in a real quick hurry. Today, I am still 900 miles away. So I don’t think that’s going to happen…
It feels rather good to let the controls go of the hike and let the hike take you where it will. Since I decided to destroy my deadline and finish whenever, I feel so relaxed and elated in a way that I have never felt before in my life. Time-lines are the rise and downfall of humanity. We need them and loathe them. We can’t function without them and are unable to flex within the bounds of them. The trail magic comes and goes, the miles lengthen and shorten, I literally have almost no control over my hike now. It’s like my mind has completely given autopilot to something else, I guess my body? My primal instincts  My desires and wishes for the day? Pressure doesn’t exist in this world, and it’s a truly amazing place. I can’t fathom how I lived, and people do live, their lives outside of a realm like this. There are people in this world who will never understand this state of being, this completely spiritually and mentally dissolved state. Blows my fuckin mind right now.
Other than these mind blowing thoughts, uneventful flat hiking else wise. Hiked along with Minotaur (and found a pretty dope waterfall) for quite a while until we reached another road crossing. We filled up from the last of the water cache that was waiting close to the highway, and said our goodbyes as we split up. I had to run into town to grab a care package or two…
On my way strolling in, I called the Tuxedo Motel, and yet a-fuckin-gain, my package has decided to make a permanent pit stop at the post office. Why does this keep happening?
The town was pretty remote and bare. A gas station with a new outhouse and Hunt’s pizza was the first thing to appear in my field of vision. Following was this legendary “Tuxedo Motel” that was definitely something to turn your head about. I’m sure Frank Sinatra had stayed there one night decades ago when an unexpecting Chinese-style traffic jam or mechanical failure caused him to be grabbed by the clutches of this god forsake place for a night. In his honor, I suppose, they dubbed it a royal name. Or shit maybe the owner just had a fat black cat with a white bib named “Tuxedo”. Either way, it makes for a story that kept me entertained for a minute or so at most.
Further down, I was confused at the location of this alleged post office. I didn’t see any mail trucks at any of the 5 buildings in town. I finally went back to the gas station asking for help. A large moled creature directed me across the fast moving river of plastic and steel to a small red house with a painted white chimney nestled in a patch of pine trees. Was a truly interesting experience. The post office was a converted old house. The old living room was now the PO box room, felt right at home walking in. The guy running it was super friendly (you should go to Southfield PO and check it out if you are in the area), a great person to wait out a rainstorm and swap stories with.
On my way out, I gave the half-remodeled gas station another go, and picked up some beer to pack in for the night.
Back on the trail, the AT merged into a stunning state park, unlike anything I had come across yet. It was like an odd combination of a lush, green grass field with giant decades old trees towering above the insects vegetation. It was honest to god like being in a movie, the openess of the forest made it feel not quite artificial, but rather other-worldly. I could look out half a mile in every direction uninhibited my underbrush. How the hell did this place look like this? Was it purely natural or was this established and maintained? There’s no way they mowed the shit, not with all the baby-head boulders and crags everywhere…
Speaking of, perfect campsites and swimming popped out as I rounded a corner to a gigantic lake. Unfortunately, they made it quite apparent that there was no swimming or camping allowed in this area by the plethora of signs around the perimeter of the lake, certainly not a call out to the car campers…
One tight section later, I jammed myself up through the infamous “Lemon Squeezer”, more fun than dangerous or inconvenient. Perhaps a small taste of the adventures to come in New Hampshire and Maine?
Beautiful open forested campsite up at Fingerboard shelter (what the hell is a fingerboard?), though the water source was a bit uh, stagnant. Regardless, beers were passed and we all thoroughly enjoyed slurping back the delicious drunken calories after our long day out and playing.