The next morning it poured on us in the shelter. I was not about to get wet and loose all my dry clothes. So I stayed, didn’t pack up and kept warm as the water pounded the tin roof. The white noise created a calming atmosphere in the haze of the rain and clouds. One myself and another hiker remained inside, the others all headed out in the downpour. The morning off gave me time to relax and rest for a while, yet I knew it wouldn’t last, I had too many miles to do to catch up to the others.
As the rain finally cleared I headed out over the mountain. The climb up to the view point went quick with my fresher legs, for a change I was on point. Reaching the view I was given only clouds and mist, it was apparent today would have most everything hidden from me. The steep climb to the top of the mountain was tricky with the slick rocks. I was worried I would slip and injuries my leg further. Taking care I hiked hard up to the top, coming out onto an open ski slope as I reached the top. The warming hut to my right the clouded views hiked to mountains in the distance.
No time for rest I had more miles to do as I climbed down the steep wet rocky terrain. Each foot precariously placed on the wet stone and mud, one wrong step or slip and I would do all down the hill side. I trusted my poles more than ever on the way down to the saddle. Taking longer strides I made great time all the way to the road crossing. Finding fresh water and a map I saw I could route around the next two mountains and end up inthe other side of the lake, all I had to do was to take a different trail. I did just that, down the road to the other trail head.
The next four miles were all to myself as I hiked out over the bike trail. I had slow ups and downs over the next few miles. Truly pleasurable to have smooth terrain instead of the rocky and sharp turns. The long loping trail allowed me to concentrate and focus on moving forward. I looked to Roland for support, what would he have done in this state. He would have pushed on and hid his pain. I would do just that, turn it off and hike on, ignoring the pain in each step. I was rewarded with a different view of the lake than the others. In taking less traveled trails I was able to see a different side of the park and enjoy it more.
Back on the AT, I crushed out the next few miles up and over the next mountain all the way down to lost pond shelter. Eating dinner and resting I prepared mentally for the next leg of the journey. Once I reached the Danby crossing I would have 15 miles roughly to get to Rutland to catch or make headway on the others. Passing the last bit of terrain and pushing pay the the shelter I made it to the road. I needed to get my head right and got lost in my music as the sun came down and darkness set in.
Coming out on the other side I knew I wouldn’t get a hitch so I started walking and as every car passed I cursed and fumed for not stopping. As I walked into town I was surprised to see a police officer pull over and offer me a ride into town. He had gotten a few calls about me and wanted to see if I was alright. Taking the opportunity for good public relations he drove me the rest of the way into town as we talked. Finally arriving at the hostel I was easily the best arrived hiker of the year. Who else can say they had a police escort. Seeing Flailing and Earthing I hugged them and settled in for the night. 35 miles and an escort, what a day. It was truly a shame the guy next to me stored like the kraken all night, allowing me no sleep.