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GoldenBear

Do you need rain where you live? Part 2

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Day 3 should have been an equally easy, ten-mile hike to Stony Brook Shelter. And, until the last hour, it was actually quite easy. When a sign at Chateuaguay Road stated I was a mere 4.4 miles to Stony Brook, I was feeling pretty good. When I got to a bridge and road intersection at the bottom of the hill where my map said I would find SB, I was feeling even better. When a sign just south of this bridge stated that I was 4.3 miles from Chateauguay, I was feeling REALLY good. After all, simple arithmetic told me I was near the turnoff for Stony Brook, right?

Then two things happened: (1) it began to rain and (2) Stony Brook did not appear as I went up the hill. I couldn’t help but wonder if I had, somehow, missed the trail to the shelter. With the rain only getting worse, I did not want to spend the next hour going back and forth, up and down this hill, wondering if I had missed the turnoff. So I made ONE backtrack to the sign, to ensure I had read it correctly, and then did something I hoped I’d never do: I blew my whistle. I figured if the shelter WAS close, people there would hear my alarm and (at least) make a similar noise to alert me that I was (indeed) close. As one can imagine, as I was blowing my whistle every ten minutes, drudging up the hill, while rain getting worse and darkness was approaching, and getting no response; near-despair began to set in. What if HAD missed the shelter? How could I be sure I hadn't? I eventually resolved that, if I HAD missed the shelter, I would just continue south until darkness forced me to spend the night in a tent in the rain. This was NOT what I had hoped for!
Fortunately, I HADN’T missed the shelter; it’s south of both the ladder to get up the boulder (I had to wonder how ridiculous it would be if I was struck by lightning while on that aluminum ladder) and of the stream (with a nice waterfall) that’s actually the water source for the shelter. I not only got there in plenty of time before actual darkness (“Thank you Jesus!” was my only response) but was able to get water for the night. Indeed, after the rain let up a bit, I made a hot, soupy stew instead of my usual sandwich for my dinner. The other guy in the shelter said (literally!) not one syllable to me, and barely got out of his sleeping bag while I was there. But I didn’t use a bong pipe, so I trust I didn’t bother him.

The last day was a trek to U.S. Highway 4, near Killington. The last I went to this road, planning on taking the Diamond Bus into Rutland, I missed that last bus due to my not reading where the bus picks up people. I was NOT about to make this mistake again, nor was I going to miss that last bus at 6:20pm! Unfortunately, fatigue and mud (that stuff again!) made my trek go a bit more slowly than I would have preferred. Still, when I got to River Road by about noon, I was feeling pretty good.
Unfortunately, this good feeling was because I thought I was at Highway 100, ie, Gifford Woods State Park. I still had to get by Thundering Brook and Kent Pond to get to the place I THOUGHT I was at – and, even after crossing into Gifford Woods, I still had to walk a while to get to the flush toilets I had been hoping for. It was 2pm when I left the park to head on, meaning I had four hours to go four miles. Too close for my comfort! So, like the wimp I am, I chose to go down the Sherburne Pass Trail to Highway 4, and simply get picked up at the Inn at Long Trail – but to do it right this time!
When standing at the right spot, I had no problem getting the bus, no problem getting into Rutland, no problem getting a bed at the Hikers Hostel, no problem getting a nice dinner, and no problem making the train back to Philly.

Despite the rain, I had only one fall on this trek, forgot my pole only once, and had only minimal insect bites. I admit I still have some gaps that I thought I’d have filled by now, but assistance from Shuttle – probably next year – will fill them easily.
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