Congdon Shelter(1606.7) to Glastenbury Mountain Fire Tower(1621.4) 14.7 Miles
I've been saying for a few weeks that I was going to slow down. Well the last five days I really have. I've only hiked 38.4 miles. I typically cover that much ground in 2 days. Several factors have contributed to me putting on the brakes. One nero and a double zero accounted for most of the low mileage. A late start yesterday also held me back. Only hiking 4 miles before noon today allowed me to have another leisurely hike. Friends from home were in the area for vacation, so we made plans to meet up in the morning. Since I only had 4.4 miles to hike, I slept in and took my time getting packed up. On the way to meet them I passed by several raspberry bushes, so I spent several minutes picking berries. The last .7 miles of trail was brutal. It was a very steep downhill section with hundreds of rock steps. With the rain last night most of the steps were slippery. It took me forever to make my way down.
As I neared the bottom of the steps I came across a giant tree that had fallen over and taken part of the trail with it. I looked for away to get around it, but I couldn't find a clear path. I decided to squeeze between the tree roots and a huge boulder. As I was making my way through, I slipped on a log and almost few down. I managed to catch myself on the rock, but scraped up my hand in the process.
Shortly after this challenge, I heard someone shout, "Is that, Yoda". I looked up to see my friend Arlene grinning at me. She had walked up some of the steps to greet me. Walking up the steps, she would quickly learn, was the easy part. Now she had to climb back down. We both took our time with the last 30 steps, and made it down unscathed. Her husband, Dan, was waiting for us in the parking lot. They both received smelly hugs from me. It was very kind of them to put their vacation on hold and to drive over three hours just to see me. Arlene brought me some Gatorade, chocolate oatmeal candies, trail mix, and a few birthday cards. Thanks, Kris and Ed-bud for the nice card and gift card. It was very nice of you. Next time I'm in town I'll have a meal on you!
The AMC's Bennington chapter was throwing a BBQ for thru-hikers in the same area. Dan, Arlene, and I grabbed a few chairs in the shade and chatted for awhile. It was fantastic to see them. They have been some of my biggest supporters. Tons of hikers were there as well. Big hiker feeds like this one attract every thru-hiker in a twenty mile radius. Dan and Arlene got to meet; Stretch, McFly, Smiles, Fiddler, Chamelon, Ukelady, and a few others. Before we parted ways they gave, Pacman and Stink Jacket a ride into town to pick up packages. It's a good thing they have a rental car because they didn't have to worry about the hiker stink ruining the apolstery.
While they were playing taxi cab, I repacked my bag. I had set out my tarp, hammock, and rain jacket to dry in the sun. It was so nice out that it didn't take long. Dan and Arlene returned shortly after and it was time to say our goodbyes. Thanks for the snacks, Gatorade, bday gift, and most if all coming to visit. I hope you enjoyed the covered bridges and seeing the sights of VT and CT. I can't wait to hear all about it.
I was just getting to head back to the trail when Old Eagle Scout showed up. We chatted briefly, but eventually I had to get going. It was already noon and I had only gone four miles.
The rest of the day consisted of long extended climbs with no views. The trail was less muddy than expected. I don't think it rained there last night.
About halfway into my day, I came across a bridge that was out. I wasn't sure how to get across the creek without it. I could have probably rock-hopped my way across, but there wasn't a great way to get down to the water. Eventually, I decided that the bridge looked like it would hold up and just walked across it. Luckily, it held up and I made my way across with no problem.
The next four miles seemed to drag on. I went over two more mountains, but neither had views. I reached my destination, Goddard Shelter, after one more steep climb. The shelter was just .3 miles short of the Glastenbury mountain summit. Glastenbury mountain also had a wooded summit, but because of a fire tower on top it had a 360 degree view. I decided it would be nice to camp at the top, so I cooked dinner at the shelter and then headed up to the fire tower. I was hoping to be able to see the sunset, but a storm was rolling through so that did not happen. Even without the sunset I was happy with my decision. The fire tower provided me with excellent views.
It's going to be another cold night, so I set up my hammock in what I hope is a sheltered area. I hope to see the sunrise in the morning, but since it's supposed to rain I'm not sure that will happen. Tomorrow will be another lower mileage day because of camping and tenting spot availability.
"You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." -
A. A. Milne