Saturday, September 14, 2013

Long Trail 2013: Day 2

Chris and Sarah amazed us with an awesome assortment of goodies at camp our first night out. Beers, nips, hot chocolate and dessert...mmmmm. Almost made it OK that our campsite was mildly trashy. (Charlotte had a nugget of human poop in her mouth at one point. Human. Feces. Infinite grossness. But that's the risk you take bringing a dog on a busy trail, I guess.) Loved spending time with those two, hearing their PCT stories and future plans. Made me wish they didn't live so far away...

Big water near our camp site, with a handy bridge to cross

Anyway, our morning started under gray skies. We headed out across the lovely "big water"—as Parker called the nearby water source—and continued south along the Long Trail. It wasn't long until the skies got darker and the heavens opened.

We put the pack covers on and continued on to a shelter to wait out the rain for a bit. Met a fellow from Boston (really, Wellesley but only Bostonians would care about the distinction) and stuffed our faces with snacks and indulged in some laziness that's not permitted during a serious thru hike.

Big fat rain: but the raincover on our Osprey Poco meant Parker stayed dry. It's an amazing pack!

Rain, rain. Go AWAY! This is the universe's way of making up for our dry PCT thru hike, I guess.

We had a choice ahead of us: do we want to slog up and over Stratton Mountain. I was the only one of the four of us—Chris, Sarah, Chris and me—who hasn't done this section of the AT/LT, it was up to me whether we wanted to make the 1500' ascent and decent. In the rain. On the slippery roots and rocks synonymous with the Appalachian/Long Trail. With a 28-pound kid on my back. Well, I'm hardly die hard and it wasn't a hard decision. I opted to skip Stratton Mountain and take the flat and lovely bypass trail.

Chris and Sarah: amazing and patient hiking partners given all our extra toddler and canine baggage

Waiting out the rain

The rain let up and the 5+ of us rambled through the woods, looking for animals and telling stories and enjoying an easy time of it. Slipped on a slick bog bridge and my passenger was not phased by it, only asked, "You OK, Mommy? Be careful, Mommy." Yes, Parker, I'll try. So cute.

The red efts appeared to love the moisture of the recent deluge
Oh the difference of a couple years. On the PCT, Chris toted his giant orange Crocs from the same carabiner

Lunched with Chris and Sarah by their car. They shared an avocado with us—luxury of all luxuries on the trail, fresh produce! They hiked with us for a few more miles before turning back toward the real world.

More big water, handy bridges in good shape even after Irene

We continued on to Story Spring shelter, where a few dudes (including a particularly chatty know-it-all) were already making dinner and swapping stories. Having a secluded tent site is nice for multiple reasons. It means we can put Sparky to bed without disrupting other thru hikers—and we don't have to chit-chat or jostle for floor space in a shelter.

Parker was obsessed with our SteriPen, which we used for purifying the water. Would have really sucked if her toddlery self broke our most important item of gear.

Tired dog making herself comfy in our campsite. She slept with us in the tent at night.

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