Did not need the back-up plan

 Good morning Vermont. A gorgeous sunrise started my hike today. I was up earlier than normal 4:50am and out of the shelter by 5:30. I quietly climbed the ladder to the top of the roof  

 and saw the most amazing sunrise I have seen so far on my journey. What a great way to start the day. 

I headed off again without Wye Knot. I am starting out early again to get my miles done before a decent hour. The hills and climbs are getting tougher and longer. But even with that I did not need my back-up plan today. I made it all the way to Thistle Shelter, 14.2 miles for the day. That even included an unexpected side stop 0.2 miles off trail at a cute little market. I met up with two other gentlemen, Next Year and Seneca. I was taking a break about 7am for breakfast and they were just getting started from their shelter. A couple of other hikers passed us and informed us about a place that sold ice cream at the next road crossing. Ice Cream, I don’t go off trail for very much but ice cream, sure!!! 

We had to wait 10 minutes for them to open and we enjoyed that down time gazing at their flower garden.  

I went in for ice cream and came out with Doritos, 8oz habanero cheese, a Milky Way, fresh wax beans, a pint of fresh raspberries and oh yeah, 1 scoop of strawberry ice cream in a cup. I topped the ice cream with the fresh berries. It was fabulous! I ate that and the chips and the rest I packed out. 

 Had some fabulous views today. It is nice to be rewarded after a climb with scenery. We haven’t had many for a long time. 

Trail magic was a nice treat also today. At the market I had grabbed a diet Coke from the frig and put it back. I told Batman I didn’t want to buy any more soda so when I get home the transition back to healthy eating will be easier. I’d only have soda if provided by a trail angel. So I put back the Coke. Several miles later I was rewarded for making a good decision. There was a bucket of soft drinks next to a stream we had to cross.  

With the 14.2 mile day and a side trip to the market I got into camp later then I prefer, 5:05pm. I had lots to do also. My plan was to cook the wax beans for supper and mix it with my soup. This is a big deal for me because I don’t like cooking out here.  

It was so worth the time. I cleaned and cut the beans and let them cook while I set up my tent. GQ would be so proud of me. 

As we rack up the miles, we get lazy as hikers. Here is where I hung my food bag. About 15 feet from my tent and only about 6 feet off the ground. Good enough to discourage coons and other such critters. If Mr. Black Bear wants it he can have it. I will be in town in less then 5 miles.   
Full shelter tonight.  

 There are about 7 hikers inside and another dozen or so of us tenting/hammmocking. Lots of SOBO (southbounders). 

Batman will be back with me tomorrow. He will get to West Hartford, VT late tonight and then hike in to met us in the morning. At that time I will decide if I do a nero or slack pack and decide how far I go. The VT-NH border is 14.7 miles. That’s longer then today. My new friends want to slack pack also.  I will see what the trail brings and decide then.  
Happy Hiking

Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.