Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chapter 104: The Last Third

For the first time ever, I am alone on the trail. I've spent so much time out front, staying just ahead of the big bubble of northbound thru-hikers, that I honestly thought I might return to find myself blissfully back amongst the company of long-lost friends. Instead I hardly see anyone all day.

The terrain in Connecticut has been easy, and—having done day hikes on the sections north of me—I fully expect it to stay that way. But I'm not about to complain. I actually find it a source of pride that the powers that be decided my home state didn't need any contrived bullshit to differentiate it from its neighbors. Not that New Jersey and New York were necessarily hard, just psychologically taxing. And that might've been entirely my fault, and so unique to my experience. Whatever.

For several flat and entirely pleasant miles, the trail follows the western bank of the Housatonic River. I pull in to the Stewart Hollow Brook Lean-to for the night, but decide to tent to avoid the omnipresent mosquitos. I scour the log book for familiar names, but see none. I guess most people either stayed in Kent for the night or pushed on further, so I try not to let that bother me. I loiter around the shelter, trying to stay up as late as possible, hoping someone else might show up, but no one ever does.

And so disappointed, I crawl into my tent, and in the fading sunlight write the first entry in my journal:
July 5,

I'm back on the trail for all of half an hour before I face plant. Inauspicious start to the last third of the trail, and also my journal.

Walked through plenty of poison ivy today. Am worried about a possible breakout. Could be bad, but then I'll just have a good excuse to go home and then maybe yellow blaze. Yes, I'm already homesick and have no shame.

Spent much of today thinking about Lemonade (and also lemonade) and my secret (or not-so-secret) plan. Slightly less than 3 weeks before I see my family again, then another 3 until Tricia (hopefully) joins me, then 2 more before the big day.

Lonely. Wish dad was here to identify birdsong. Getting dark now. Gonna put ear-plugs in and try to sleep. Long day (22 miles) tomorrow.

-Major Chafage

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