It was nice waking up dry this morning after the storms and rains all night. Tandem, Jukebox, and I agreed that it was the best sleep we had gotten on the trail. I went downstairs first to grab some orange juice from the fridge and greeted our host Pat on the couch. He had been up since 4:30.
Jukebox came down next looking for some coffee, so Pat made another pot. I went back up to write the blog and pack. Those tasks took me a long time, perhaps because it was still raining and I mentally wanted to avoid it. I stacked the mattresses back on the bed and went downstairs to make the two packets of oatmeal that I had been carrying for a month.
We all put on our shoes – my first day in my new ones! I wasn’t sure how tight to lace them up, so I erred on the tight side. Pat had been helping Tandem identify birds by their call sounds. We loaded up in the car and headed down to the trail at CT 341/Macedonia Rd. It wasn’t raining.
After unloading the car, we met a previous thru hiker who now was section hiking to meet the hikers and trail angels who had helped him out during his hike. He was from Columbus, GA, and was promoting his book. We left him and Pat talking by the side of the road as we hiked off up Skiff Mountain.
Jukebox is a fast hiker, so all three of us got spread out along the trail. Tandem was waiting for me at the top, so we hiked together down to the gravel road along the Housatonic River. That was a long 4.5 mile flat section that we cruised along while we talked.
When we reached the intersection with the Stewart Hollow Brook shelter, we caught up with Mosey and his son Jungle Jim. Our conversation distracted us from going to the shelter, so we hiked on ahead of them. I pulled ahead while Tandem got water from a small creek that feeds the river.
When I got to the turn to climb from the road, I was surprised to into Ragnar and Scout who were cooking their lunch. We joked about our paces and days off that resulted in us catching up. I climbed the tall hill to CT 4, which goes into Cornwall, CT. Tandem caught up with me, and we had lunch as it started to rain. It was raining steadily when Jukebox, who had gone to the shelter we skipped, caught up with us.
We had to take a one mile blue blazed detour trail up Old Sharon Rd. to avoid a high water point on a flooded creek. We hiked on, again spreading out individually. I found Tandem waiting for me again at West Cornwall Rd. We hiked together over the next mile to the Pine Swamp Brook shelter, passing through a narrow rocky pass again similar to the Lemon Squeeze in NY. It had finally stopped raining after three hours.
Jukebox was already the shelter, and we also met a pair of local weekend hikers. One of them had been to Philmont, so we talked about that while Tandem and I made a pasta dinner. We also discussed with Jukebox what our options were for hiking on as it started to rain hard again. We could stay here and dry, setting up after it stops raining, or hike in the rain 2.4 miles forward to Sharon Mountain campsite.
After dinner I packed up my pack in the shelter and we discussed my need to find a geocache before leaving the state of Connecticut. I knew that we had passed one at the narrow rock pass earlier, so I went back .8 miles to search for it. I didn’t find it, and it was dark when I got back to the shelter.
They had set up, so I rushed to get my tent up while fighting the many mosquitoes. I was exhausted and crashed soon after laying my head down.