As we lay comfortably in the tent, Dennis mentioned how difficult it was for hikers to be intimate. Too cold, too tired, too stinky. We both have a mummy bag, which makes cuddling difficult. Looking forward to our next “zero” (rest) day in Rutland.
The 3.7 miles to the Clarendon Shelter were difficult. Coming into Clarendon Gorge, I slipped on the granite slate and banged my elbow. It was my 11th fall and the first to draw blood. Dennis helped me bandage it up because I could not see the cut.
Crossing the Bob Brugmann Bridge wasn’t scary as long I as I didn’t look down. It bounced a little, but the sides helped me feel secure as I trod over the gorge.
After crossing the road, we had a gruesome 600 ft vertical climb. We must be getting stronger because it only took us half and hour to scale.
We stopped at the shelter for lunch. For the first time in several days, the sun shone and we took advantage by basking in it for about an hour.
We are getting accustomed to hiking. Everything has a place and is easy to find. Our legs are getting stronger, and we are increasing our daily mileage. Dennis is faster so he usually goes first, especially down hill. He has been hiking in the woods since he was a child and has developed a rhythmic technique for hopping down a slope. I favor my right leg (so ankle and torn meniscus). I am very cautious. Dennis says that at my rate it will take us all summer to complete the LT. My response? What’s the rush?
Unfortunately, we should have noticed the approaching clouds. We still had 5.8 miles to the Governor Clement Shelter where we planned to stay for the night. The temperatures dropped with the rainfall. The rivers overflowed and we had to take off our shoes twice to ford the icy waters. Doing so takes time and cools us off.
My foot stuck in the mud and I fell into the pigsty-like mush. Unhurt but covered with sludge, I was unable to get up without Dennis’ help. I would have looked comical to an outsider to see me trying to extricate myself from the mire.
What a treat it was to arrive at the shelter and find that other hikers had started a raging fire. Shivering, Unembarrassed, I took off my sodden clothes in front of the warming flames and put on my simi-dry sleepwear. Everyone was welcoming and made room for us to put out our bedrolls and dry our clothes by the hearth, the first I have seen in a shelter.
One of the hikers, “Hummingbird,” is 12-years-old. She is walking with her father “Goose,” whose trail name comes from the wingman in the movie Top Gun. He was his daughter’s wingman. Other hikers include “Bits,” and “Bacon”—all LT hikers. “5-0-Three” was also there. She is walking the AT to raise money for Christopher Reeve Foundation.
We were all asleep by 8:30 pm.