Didn't realize it'd been almost a week since I wrote in here. I guess that's what staying at the Long Trail Inn, drinking beers and such, and then having shitty weather/good company during a dash to Hanover will do to you.Smokestack and Co. arrived at the Firewarden's Cabin atop Smarts Mountain just then, interrupting my session. It was hard to write with other people around, chatting. Not that I begrudged them their presence. Except for that I did. God, how I could hate people. Especially those with "friends."
So, what's happened during the past week?
A nice guy bought us hikers a round of beers at the Inn. My tent got soaked overnight. I caught up with Veggie. I ran uphill through a precipitous (wait, what the fuck does that mean?), I mean, oncoming thunderstorm with 60 mph winds and quarter-sized hail. I got pissed off by some arrogant SOBOs/section hikers who took up all the room in the shelter while bragging about the six miles they'd done that day out of Hannover. Found a Star Wars novel in the shelter and read it cover to cover.
Got into Hanover early, went to Ramunto's twice, got two free slices, 6 free beers (2 for myself, 4 for my companions), and half a free garlic knot pizza. Was horrified by Sativa James's drunken antics. Disappointed I didn't get drunk like Veggie and Buckeye. Stayed at a frat house. (Self professed "marching band" frat.)
Saw my parents. They were on their way home from Toronto. Had Indian or Thai food. Stayed in a Comfort Inn. Mommy bought me groceries at the Dartmouth Co-Op the next morning.
Did 16 miles out of Hanover. Took a crap at the Velvet Rocks Shelter. Nice privy. Ate lunch at the Moose Mountain Shelter. Saw Veggie and Smokestack there. I spent last night at the Trapper John Shelter.
Now I'm sitting here writing this on top of Smarts Mountain
My group of friends had recently evaporated. I had said a temporary goodbye to Popeye, Buckeye and Veggie when I'd seen them last in Hanover, before I'd left to stay the night with my parents in nearby White River Junction. Although I'd seen Veggie the next day, and earlier that morning, she had vowed she wasn't going as far as even I was planning. And I wasn't planning much. I had promised myself—and others, quite vociferously—that I wouldn't ever do a twenty mile day again. For the rest of the entire trip.
I was there to enjoy myself. And that was it. From there on out.
But you know what they say about the "best laid plans of mice and men."
Journal entry, evening of July 25th:
Fuck everything and everybody. Fell 3 miles short of my goal today thanks to some prime stupidity. Tent got soaked in the rain last night thanks to me not setting it up properly. (Mistake #1) I got to the top of what I thought was a 2,900 footer (it wasn't. Mistake #2) and took my tent out to dry since the sun came out for the first time in 2 weeks. "Securing" the tent to my pack's compression straps, I continued on up and then down the mountain, not being too careful to see whether my cargo was still secure. (Mistake #3) ≈1.5 to 2 miles down the mountain I stopped to get water, only then realizing I'd dropped my tent somewhere.
I ditched my pack and ran back up the hill (steep! but no pack was awesome), passing 2 NOBO's (Bumper and Breeze) who'd seem the tent but hadn't packed it out. Thanks. So I literally had to run back to the summit! to retrieve it. So much for not doing anymore 20 mile days. So now I'm camped within earshot of a road, and will probably be murder raped by a hillbilly bear. From New Hampshire. During the night.