Day 123 – July 8 – 12.1 miles – Limestone Shelter to Laurel Ridge Campsite
Less then a mile into the day we came to the “Giants Thumb”. Its a rock that looks like a thumb. That’s pretty much all it does.
After we passed the thumb, a fog started to roll in.
The sight of shafts of light coming through the trees never gets old.
A few miles later, we came to the side trail that led to the town of Salisbury Connecticut.
We took the trail to town. We jokingly said that the trail was made so the locals didn’t have to see dirty hikers walking past their house.
Salisbury was another nice small New England town. The side trail brought us to the villige center that had several breakfast places, a super market, and a post office.
We resupplied at the supermarket and then Stoat picked up his new phone from the Post Office.
Crazy Larry came into town, and the three of us ate breakfast at one of the local eateries.
On the way out of town we passed the unofficial 1500 mile mark.
There was a privy nearby that had a sign on it. Reading it made my heart skip a beat. On the sign were guidelines for when we got to Baxter State Park. (Baxter State Park is where the northern terminus of the trail is.) Not if we got to Baxter State Park, but when.
Soon after passing that sign we came to the official 1500 mike marker.
After passing the 1500 mile marker we began to climb up Bear Mountain.
At the top of Bear Mountain, was a pile of stones that used to be a tower.
The original plaque could still be seen amongst the rubble.
After going over Bear Mt. the trail brought us through a ravine that had a stream running through it. We had been looking forward to going for a swim in one of the many pools, but by the time we got there the temperature had dropped precipitously.
Just as we were about to cross into Massachusetts, a heavy rain started. We stopped to put on our rain jackets.
Normally we would just have kept hiking. Rain jackets trapped our our body heat, and moisture would built up to the point where we were soaked in sweat. In the summer it was warm enough outside that hiking in wet clothes really wasn’t a concern. So we just kept out rain jackets in our packs.
Now that the temps had dropped so low we became concerned about getting sick. So we opted to be warm and soaked instead of cold and soaked.
The rain didn’t stop us from crossing the border together. Nor did it stop us from taking a minute to high five and celebrate crossing into our 11th state.
When we got to the Laurel ridge campground, we found that we had a problem. The entire area had a lot of underbrush. Any of the open spaces were occupied by tent platforms. Great for tent campers. Bad for hammock campers.
It was still raining as hard as ever, and we were getting sick of milling about in the woods. Then we passed the only other camper at the grounds. He was a fellow hammock camper and he had his gear already set up. He invited us to join him under his rain tarp until the rain had passed. We accepted immediately.
The hikers name was Jason. He was out for the weekend and he seemed eager to hear of our adventures.
Soon the rain stopped and Stoat and I went to go find a spot to setup.
We eventually found a spot that might work. Stoat was able to find two suitable trees, but I had to be a little more creative.
When I finished fastening my rain tarp to the tent pad, I quickly turned around to walk a few feet away to admire my work… and smashed my shin into the sharp boulder that I had been carefully avoiding while I setup my hammock. Blood started running down my leg. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I was not a happy camper.
Stoat and I ate dinner with Jason at a nearby picnic table. We had a great conversation before turning in for the night.
We have had a lot of good conversations on the trail. Everyone is so different, but we all have at least one thing in common. The love of the outdoors.
That one common interest is enough to bring people from all walks of life together. Especially among Thru Hikers. Old, young, man, woman, rich, or poor. It doesn’t matter. Out here, on the trail, its a level playing field. Some may be faster or slower than others, but in the end, we all put in the miles.