[I wrote you this last night, while sitting on a log in the gathering dusk, because it has been so long and I miss you. (so long.)]
I am watching my water boil for dinner. Contrary to popul- aww crap hold on- it just boiled. I was watching it. I would like all of y’all to know, please, that right now I am eating mashed potatoes and tuna in a tortilla, because I fail at stores. Maybe after dinner I will cook pumpkin bread.
The trail took me through town earlier this afternoon. Stores are scary and hard! What do you do in them? The jury is still out, but I am pretty sure that often they are more complicated than they need to be. I went into this one, today, with the vague idea of getting “stuff.” Alas, I failed miserably. Again. The last time I went into a store the only thing I got was peaches and those wee tiny baby bananas, because then my functional lizard brain started screaming, which was tragic and embarassing because my imaginary friend Lauren* was visiting my stretch of the woods, and she had only asked for two things: eggs and bread.
*She has assured me she is only a product of my subconscious. I knew these trees would get to me eventually.
…Suffice it to say, I got neither and was much sad. Now we will see if I can cook pumpkin bread on my stove.
She stayed with me for four days despite this grocery gaffe, and we did luxurious things like make friends with the mayor’s mother, and swim in the mayor’s pool which was just across the way from a road crossing. We also got from Connecticut into Massachusetts. Sometimes I forget that even though we are like turtle, we have managed to walk from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut into Massachusetts, and will probably walk into Vermont tomorrow. There’s nothing like tiny northeastern states to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something.**
**In other news, I’ve recently been working on my 2,000 mile stare. So far, the best I’ve managed to pull off is the 1,988 mile one, but I figure if I take off my glasses and focus on the blurry mountainous horizon (THERE’S FINALLY A MOUNTAIN, GUYS), nobody will be able to tell the difference.
Anyways, Lauren left the trail without finding a name that stuck (despite some excellent suggestions by the folks at Bearded Woods hostel, where I spent the equivalent of three weeks worth of snickers bars, so we could have a wonderful place to meet up.) Let it be known, however, that secretly in my head I call her Porcupine Singer, because, I swear to all above, she goes off into the woods when I’m not looking and uses her dulcet wiles to lure porcupines into our camp. I’ve seen four porcupines since she came, which is four more than I’ve seen in the previous 1900 miles. I poked one with a broom at 1 a.m. some days ago, thought another was a small bear in the privy, and nearly stepped on one while I was hiking this morning.
Speaking of wonderful trail occurrences, three days ago, I got word that two friends from last year had just met at a shelter down south. Wow, wow, says I, delighted, and continue on, dreaming only of a sweet sunset canoe trip at the shelter at the end of the day. How little did I know – for when finally I reached the shelter (one with a wonderful caretaker!! and pancakes!) whom did I find but Squeak, whom I met last year hundreds of miles south in Glasgow, VA. She had apparently been waiting all evening for someone to show up and go canoeing with her… She’s currently about half a day or a day ahead, because I found some trail angels who were offering a shower and laundry, and feeding hikers, on their vacation time. Hot running water?? This is madness. I am eating the remnants of a small cake they gave me, as I write to you and watch my stove bake my pumkin bread.
June 12th, 2017, was the day Smallest Brotherski and I set off from Flagg Mt, Alabama. Since then, I’ve hiked all the miles I told you, slept many days, met so many awesome people, done much science, finally run out of money, worked for four months to not be out of money, gotten to see my former students graduate, eaten much food, and sucessfully baked pumpkin bread on my tiny stove. It appears that this double boiler stove set-up is great success.
To qualify as an official AT “thru-hiker,” I must reach Mt. Katahdin in Maine by July 25th. Unfortunately for us all…. I like sleeping.***
***In times like these, I think of the words of Gandalf, who said such glorious things as: “Fly, you fools!!!” and, “A wizard arrives precisely when (s)he means to.” If only I, also, could be a wizard, Harry.
Alas. Whatever will I do. If only I could be a true, legit hiker like all the really cool folks surrounding me. I aspire to such things, I really do. To put all this in terms more of you will understand:
If I were Frodo and Sam going to Mordor to destroy the ring (a journey they accomplished in 6 months and 2 days, not including eagles), I would have claimed the ring by now, fallen to the Dark Lord, and brought all of Middle Earth to a doom of flame and destruction. Also, everyone would be dead.
It is good we are only going to Canada and stuff.
Love, as always, and from the woods,
P.S. Please continue to send me things. If they are physical notes, I haven’t updated my address, but if you use the one for Milford it will get to me in a couple weeks.