6/3/16 Mt. Wilcox Shelter 10 miles
Today was our first day back on the trail. We left Darwin’s Dad and his girlfriend at the exact place we got off last year. It was super weird not only to be back in Great Barrington, MA. (which is really a pretty place) but to be back at the trail head. It felt like we had never left. Saying our final good byes we took our first steps on trail and never looked back. We giggled as Darwin’s dad shouted more goodbyes as we climbed that “stupid hill” that surprisingly wasn’t that stupid this time. I must have really been in a bad place last year.
I braced myself for the onslaught of mosquitos but they never came. It was a beautiful day with a few birds chirping and the sound of the wind blowing the trees. We took our time and eased into everything. We couldn’t help but notice the urge to move faster but we kept our pace slow and steady. Our bodies knew exactly what to do, HIKE.
We met a few other hikers today and exchanged brief hellos. Being that both Darwin and I smelled so fresh they questioned if we were weekenders. This would have been insulting last year but we gladly explained ourselves. Most of the hikers that lingered to talk with us we found had started in January or February. We were a month a head of where we were last year, it seemed we had beat the party bubbles. WooHoo!
We did a total of ten miles today, not bad for our first day out. We tented behind Mt. Wilcox Shelter and both of us waited for the late arrival of hikers but they never came. We fell asleep in out tent to the soft sound of the breeze. It is good to be back.
6/5/16 October Mt. Shelter 8.9 miles
Darwin and I woke up dry in the bunk house at Goose Pond. Unfortunately I can not say the same for my socks since I forgot them on the clothes line last night and it of course was pouring. We headed down stairs and made ourselves comfy in the commons area and downed a few cups of coffee along with blueberry pancakes made by the current caretaker Joanne. We listened to the small group of hikers Joanne nicknamed “The Twenty Somethings” talk trail and lingered while other hikers packed up. Darwin and I were in no hurry after yesterday’s 16miles coming into Goose Pond. We were the last hikers to hit trail and were both very okay with this. Last year we were always in such a hurry to beat the rush of hikers. This time around there are no hikers to rush from, how refreshing.
The trail today felt great. Like I do while running, I found myself zoning out as my body took over into a rhythm. I was one with the trail and the wilderness around me. I had never felt like this at all last year. I was always pushing myself to keep up and almost stressed to beat the rush of hikers.
I have found a new appreciation of rain. Rain means no bugs and usually some type of coolness to the air. From the talk of a few other hikers, they only see wet equipment and clothes. They have not idea what the heat in July on trail is like. Darwin and I cruised over rocks and roots with the occasional rock hopping over a stream. I was having fun to the point I was smiling to myself. The trail ran up and down in lush forests full of green moss and ferns. Roub wasn’t lying, it really was beautiful in this section.
We arrived to camp early and laughing. Our evening ended with stories and more laughs along with Two Decades and two college girls out for a long weekend on the AT. It started storming when I started writing this and I totally don’t mind. How different it is on trail this year or is it me that’s different?