6/19/16 Linda Hart’s Place 17 miles
Today we had a lot of rollers (climbs) and heat but nothing as bad as yesterday. Nothing seemed to be as steep either just very constant up and downs. Over all I felt pretty good today needing a little “grit” to push on till lunch and I-Pod/Propel Power after.
We stopped occasionally for Darwin to adjust his toe bandages. Once he gets it just right, we can keep cruising for a while. His toe seems to be the hot topic of discussion. Is it better? Would a different bandage work? A different position? It’s effecting his stride, It’s gone numb, Is it good that it’s numb? It’s painful, Should we do smaller days? I have never talked about a toe or even thought about a toe as much as I have in the last few days.
Our final destination of the today was West Hartford (Vermont). The trail went over the White River and thru the town. We had read in the guide that a few trail angels would allow hikers to tent in their yards so we banked on doing so for the night. We crossed a bridge into town and watched as a few locals jumped off into the water. Our first thought initial thought was to secure a tent spot in a yard then take a dip. However upon turning on the main road, we noticed an ice-cream parlor. We hobble-walked down the road and dropped our packs at the parlor. We rushed the window with a few other hikers and blurted out our orders before the terrified ladies inside could even open the window all the way.
We waited while drooling and sweating outside the window. As the first hand with an ice cream cone emerged from the window we fell in silent awe. Once Darwin and I were finally handed our cones, we sought shelter from the sun and squeezed our selves into the small area of shade of a neighboring business. We lapped up every drop of melting ice cream and crunched every bit of our cones. Once every piece of cone and drip of ice-cream was ingested, we sighed and smiled at each other in sugar ecstasy. Darwin then got up and retrieved a second round for both of us.
While coming down from our sugar high, Darwin spoke with the ladies working the ice-cream parlor concerning the best yard to tent in for the night. They had no idea what he was talking about but kindly pointed us back towards the bridge where a blue house perfectly marked with a very large AT symbol sat. We hobble-walked back down the road to the blue house. It didn’t appear that anyone was home but we did notice a cooler on the porch. We took a closer look and BINGO, the cooler was full of sodas and there was a basket full of raisins along with a hiker log book! I downed a soda and ate some raisins and as I was chewing my last mouth full a truck pulled up driven by Linda Hart. She immediately greeted us and asked if we were staying in the bunk house or tenting. Before we could say a word, she was leading us to the bunk house that was a perfect hiker hideaway complete with a porter-john outside. We were easily convinced to bunk it and dropped our packs for the day.
Linda provided us towels in order to take a soak across the street in the swimming hole and told us dinner would be on in a few hours. We looked at each other in shock. What? Dinner? Wow! What had we stumbled upon! Not much of a swimmer, I floated along the rocks of the river while Nic swam and submerged himself in the small rapids looking like a true mountain man. After about an hour, Rambler came across the bridge and we hollered at her to meet us at the blue house. We tripped over ourselves to tell her of Linda and the bunk house just as Linda came out and gave the same offerings to Rambler in true trail angel style!
While sitting on the side porch discussing the day with Rambler, Popeye and Olive Oil crossed over the bridge. We hollered them over just as Linda started dishing out ice cream sandwiches and her husband Randy started putting hot dogs on the grill. We were all entertained that evening by Linda and Randy’s grandson and were fed a million hot dogs, pasta salad, along with veggies and fruit. We listened to stories Linda shared of her nephew who hiked the trail and Hurricane Irene that took her and Randy’s first home. We were all a big family around the table and are most overwhelmed by the kindness of the Hart Family.
We all retired to the bunk house rejoicing in our good fortune and full bellies. This as of date, is our biggest trail magic experience on the trail. Amazing!