Day 122 – July 7 – 18 miles – Silverhill Campground to Limestone Shelter
As we started our hike it began to rain. Judging by how the sky looked, it wasn’t going to let up anytime soon.
At one point we came to a spot that was advertised as Connecticut’s version of the Lemon Squeezer.
Not long after the “lemon squeezer” we stopped in at the Pine Swamp Brook Shelter. Family Size, Peanut Pan, and Salty Camel were already there. They were eating lunch and we decided to join them. A few minutes later Cash, Songbird, Mantis, and Tea leaves showed up. We had to squeezed into the shelter to make room.
After a while it became obvious that the rain wasn’t going to stop, so we might as well get back on the trail.
Eight miles later, the trail brought us through a town park. The sun had just came out, so we decided to take a break. There were some picnic tables nearby and we spread out our gear to dry it out.
As we were sitting there, Crazy Larry , whom we hiked with a few times, showed up. As we were talking to him, Cash and songbird stopped by. It was around that time that a lady walked up to us and let us know that there was a liquor store down the street that allowed hikers to have pizza delivered.
It looked like we were going to have a detour.
Falls Village was a very small town. From what we could tell the downtown consisted of a high-end Bed and Breakfast, a fire department, and the liquor store.
The owner of the liquor store was a nice older woman with her small dog. We asked us if we could order Pizza and she gave us a menu.
Crazy Larry called the order in. After he hung up we asked how much we owed him. He said that he was so under budget on the trip that he would like to pay for the pizza. Crazy Larry was crazy nice!
We bought some beer and asked if we could drink it outside the store while we waited for the pizza to arrive. She said she that was just fine.
While we were waiting, Mantis and Tea Leaves showed up and ordered pizza of their own.
So, the seven of us sat outside the liquor store drinking beer, in a sleepy New England town. On what turned out to be a beautiful summers day.
While we waited for the pizza, we got to observe the townsfolk a little. Most of the people that stopped by the liquor store just stopped their car in the middle of the street. They greeted the owner by name, and conversed about the local goings on. Then they would go back to their car, throw us a wave, and head out.
At one point , the liquor store owner came out of the store, told us she was taking her dog for a walk, and walked away. I’m not sure if she even locked up the place.
The pizza came and a good time was had by all.
After we left the liquor store the trail went past a nice waterfall area and then went up an easy 900 foot climb.
At the top of the climb was where the turn off for the Limestone Shelter was. The Shelter was 0.5 miles off trail, and apparently a descent down a cliff was involved at the end. As we were making our way to the shelter, we found several nice camping areas near a creek. We decided it wasn’t worth hiking down to the shelter when we found perfect spots right where we were.
As Stoat and I were deciding where to setup our hammocks, Crazy Larry quickly setup his tent. We were thinking about setting up near him when he noticed a very large tree leaning towards the campsite. After a minute or two, he decided that he was going to move his tent to a different spot. Stoat and I looked to set up elsewhere as well. I think we were both recalling a scary moment that we had on trail.
Stoat and I were walking along on an easy flat section of the trail, when all of a sudden, we heard a large cracking sound. We looked over to our right, just in time to see a tree break about 10 feet up from the ground, and fall over.
The tree was about 100 – 150 feet away from us, and we were in no danger at all. The strange thing was that there wasn’t any wind at all. It was a completely calm day. The tree just gave up.
The scary part wasn’t that a tree fell. The scary part was the realization that at any time, a tree could, with out warning, fall on us. That may sound a little melodramatic, but when our entire life revolved around walking, eating, and sleeping amongst the trees, it was a sobering reminder to really pay attention to our environment.
After setting up our hammocks, Stoat went to check out the shelter. He was only gone a few minutes before he was back at camp.. He said that the route down to the shelter involved a sketchy decent down a cliff. He took one look at it, said, “Nope”, and turned around. He said it was a little slippery and would be impossible to climb back up if it was raining.
It made me feel better about camping where we did. The Cash and Songbird crew went down there and I felt like we might have made the wrong choice.
As I was falling asleep I heard owls nearby. Not long after that, the sounds of a pack of coyotes howling to each other could be heard in the distance. I always like the sound of coyotes. It always makes me feel like I’m in a wild place.
Soon I could hear the sound of larger rocks being moved around in the creek nearby. At first I thought it might be a raccoon, but the rocks sounded too big for a raccoon to move. Maybe it was a bear. I have no way to prove it. Things always sound bigger in the darkness of night, so who knows what it really was.
What surprised me was that, even if it was a bear, I was totally fine with it. Anything of mine that would attract a bear, was hanging from a tree in my bear bag. I was totally comfortable with the thought of a bear within 50ft away from where I was hanging in my hammock.
I clapped a few times, just so the mystery animal would know we were there, and fell asleep.