Fri Oct 2nd, 2020, 0550-1500
Boyce Shelter to David Logan Shelter, SOBO LT mile 153
20.7 miles, 5600 gain, 5900 loss
It rained lightly on and off during the night, but at least my tent was dry in the morning. I finished packing just as it started to sprinkle again. The forecast called for a 60% chance of showers between 10 am and 1 pm. This translated into a steady drizzle with occasional heavier rain from 6 am until bedtime. Hence the reason I didn’t have many pictures to add to this post.
Everyone woke early and we were on the trail well before dawn. The drizzle and reflection off the wet ground disrupted my headlamp beam, making it hard to find the trail. Dawn took a long time to reach me in the gloom. More annoyingly, I was eating a ton of cobwebs all morning. I crossed a road and passed another ski area…the Middlebury College Snow Bowl. I crossed paths with 2 lady trail runners on a ski run…they were the last people I saw all day, besides my hiking companions.
I left the Breadloaf wilderness behind at the gap but was somewhat sad to see that I was entering another, the Battell Wilderness. I sighed at the prospect of negotiating downfalls and overgrowth, all the more tedious in the wet and with an umbrella raised like a sail. The trail went up onto a ridge and stayed there for 8 miles, lumbering over 4 different small peaks. It was foggy, wet, and cold on the ridge, with not much to see. I rode this roller-coaster in autopilot, drowning out the inclement conditions with podcasts. My extremities got pretty soaked from all the overhanging vegetation, but I managed to keep the umbrella deployed, ensuring that my core stayed dry.
The rough conditions ended at the next gap and the trail was smooth sailing the rest of the day. This still did little to improve my mood…I let myself get cranky due to the conditions. I took a lunch break at Sunrise Shelter, which wasn’t aptly named this day. It was good to be out of the rain but I got chilled pretty quickly. I made some hot water to tide me over, then got moving again. I felt quiet and subdued, so I continued hiking alone until our destination for the night.
There was one really nice distraction in the afternoon. I found the coolest critter…the aptly named yellow-spotted salamander. It was all black with yellow polka-dots. It was lumbering so slowly across the trail that I felt inclined to help it along, lest it get stepped on. I felt like how it looked: Cold and slow. The rain tends to bring the herps out, so it isn’t all bad. Three cheers for salamanders!
The trail stayed pretty level for once, which contributed to me feeling even colder. I crossed Bloodroot Gap, where there was a thermometer nailed to a tree. It read 40 degrees. Well, no wonder I was feeling so chilled. And yet, I was still getting my miles done. In fact, I’d gone 20 miles before 3 pm and was considering another 8 to the next shelter. But no, I’d done enough for the day…it was time to relax and warm up.
A nice empty shelter in a cove awaited us. I settled in to take a nap, warming my extremities and being mostly useless in my hibernation. Stellar tried to make a camp fire and Adam arrived just as he got it started. By this time, I could see a chunk of blue sky, so I thought we were in the clear. We had a nice fireside dinner, trying to think of a trail name with a physics theme for Adam. Atom? Neutrino? Neut for short? Then it began to rain again. So much for being in the clear. But hey, we had a cozy shelter and roof over our heads, so we were some happy campers in the end.