Twig Adventures

LT Day 11: Meeting the Appalachian Trail

Sat Oct 3rd, 2020, 0550-1200
David Logan Shelter to RT 4 / Inn at Long Trail, SOBO LT mile 166
13 miles
2900 gain,  3600 loss

Rain drops on a metal roof make for a pleasant sleep. But the dying fire also makes for a smokey cabin. The early morning brings a thick fog and gear that reeks of smoke. The Great Outdoors.
I can barely find the nearby privy in the dark, my headlamp beam is so distorted by the fog. Finding the side trail from the hut to the main trail is another adventure, then it’s game on just trying to stay on the trail. We could’ve made it easy on ourselves by just sleeping in a bit but no. We’re creatures of habit and stumbling around in the dark is what we do. It’s still worth it to see the slow transition to light, made all the more unique because of the fog. I walk in and out of pockets of it and then there’s another transition later in the morning…into the full sunlight.
These moments are inspiring. So many thoughts go through my head. I reflect on things and still others I push aside, ones that are too painful. Walking is a meditation. The Navajo say it’s a prayer, your feet in rhythm with Mother Earth,  breathing in Father Sky, finding happiness through exertion.
The return of good weather magically comes with the return of northbound hikers. I pass 2 lone guys and then 2 women out for a section hike. The forest is otherwise quiet. I wonder where is all the birdsong? I’ve seen so few animals. Not one deer, only small mammals like squirrels and chipmunks. A few grouse and owls. Maybe they’re all there watching but the forest is too dense to notice them?
I come to Maine Junction…the place where the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail meet/diverge. The LT was the original trail and the AT shares it. I take the AT north for a few hundred yards to pick up a spur trail leading to the lnn at Long Trail, where we have left resupply boxes. The Deer Leep trail goes straight over the hill and down to a large rock overlook. I read later that the rock is pre-cambrian, over 1 billion years old. From the overlook, I can see down to our destination for the day. It’s quite the landmark for both LT and AT hikers.
For the remainder of the trail, I join the masses out for a day hike on a crisp fall weekend. I pull my buff over my face and bumble along, going off trail often to keep my distance. It’s a short walk from the overlook to the gap, where the parking lot is overflowing. Leaf-peeping is the latest and greatest spectator sport in COVID times. What better excuse to get outside?
It’s noon when we all arrive, just in time for lunch at the Irish pub. While we’re at it, we decide to go 3rds on a room. It’s pricey for the weekend at peak fall rate but includes breakfast. The room is tiny and soon filled with hiker funk. We efficiently take showers and are shortly stuffing our faces with burgers. I spend the rest of the day doing chores and playing on my phone. Worry about off-trail stuff creeps in. What’s going to happen with the election, pandemic, etc. These are weird and sad times. I want to disappear back into the mountains.
Our journey, summed up in Scrabble.
We eat an early dinner at the pub and are also early to bed. I don’t even have a beer all day. The boys give up the big bed to me, making me feel like a princess. My hiking buddies are so nice. It rains again in the evening so I guess I’m glad I’m indoors. The low will be in the upper 30’s tonight. Hiker funk be dammed, it’s good to have a room.

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