7-18-12

AT miles hiked today: 18.4
Total AT miles hiked: 816.2

I've hiked over 800 miles now! I will update you all about the fundraiser, Rhubarb and Rhubarb's Angel fund when I reach 1000 miles. I can't believe I've hiked this many miles and I'm still going, on my way to hiking 2184 miles.

We slackpacked Mt Killington today. We started just before 7am in misty rain and light fog, but it was not too cold. We had heard there is a detour in place leftover from Hurricane Irene, but southbound hikers said they just hiked the regular AT and told us it was shorter than the detour and easily passable. We decided not to take the detour either and so we saw some of the damage from Hurricane Irene. The river banks were washed out and tree debris clogged parts of the river, but the water was very low due to the drought up here. Too much rain last year and not enough right now. Nature does what she wants. The AT seemed fine except that there was a stand of dead pine trees where I had Rockin' Robin take my picture next to a white blaze on a tree. I took her picture there, too, and when she put her hand on the white blazed tree to lean on it, the tree almost fell over. All those trees in the area looked ready to fall over. Around the river we had to follow cairns as trail markers. They are pyramids of rocks built by other hikers to show the way. At one point we were supposed to cross the river again and there was a wooden ladder from a boulder on the bank to a fallen tree. At first I couldn't tell if it was just flood debris or if we were supposed to use it, so I tested it. Once I decided it was secure I walked across it over the river and I noticed a branch had been nailed into a handrail. Then I saw a cairn up on the roots of an uprooted tree. We followed the trail up and over the soil still packed around the roots. I took pictures of the others crossing the roots, but not any of us crossing the ladder. I wish I would have gotten a picture of that. Oh well.

Eventually we got out of the damaged area and headed up rocks for a while. Finally! This is what I expected from New England. We got to the shelter near the summit in very good time, almost an hour earlier than we expected, but other hikers told us that the AWOL guidebook is wrong with its mileage estimates on the way up to the summit northbound and we hiked two miles less than was in the book. They also told us those two miles were on the other side of the mountain as we walk down. We heard, but didn't believe until the last half mile took us over an hour to hike on an easy trail going downhill.

I think AWOL was off and because of it we were 15 minutes late meeting Cindy to go to the Long Trail Inn for burgers. My cheeseburger was yummy and the coleslaw was excellent but it was not enough food in the end for a hungry hiker. I was hungry again before 10pm. Cindy and Mark were awesome and really helped us out by helping us slackpack those miles. At dinner we met a woman and her daughter who are from New Jersey. They offered us some trail magic when we hike near them and gave us a phone number to call, though they seemed a little hesitant of us smelly women hikers, until Cindy reassured them. Maybe they'll read this blog and feel better about us. :)