Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pie, BBQ, and a very unproductive slackpack

7-26-09 day 54
start: Wintturi Shelter, VT
end: Storage Barn in West Hartford, VT
daily mileage: 16.4
total mileage: 714.2

Today was a day of rapidly changing plans... as our readers may have noticed, we often alter our plans when new opportunities arise. We had originally planned to hike 20.4 miles today to the Happy Hill Shelter. As it turned out, this would have been very tough. Our guidebook doesn't have an elevation profile, just sporadic waypoints with their elevations. So we thought it would be much flatter than it really was... it was a rollercoaster sort of day. But that wasn't even the problem.

Early on in the day (just 4 or 5 miles in), we got to "On the Edge Farm," a farm right off the trail selling homemade pies and other delectables. This, incidentally, was right after I touched an electric fence, thinking it wouldn't be that painful... and being decidedly wrong. Anyway, we bought an entire large, warm pie and met up with Double Vision and Jukebox Hero. We'd heard about a Trail Angel around the area who offered to take our packs and drive down to Hanover with them, and meet us that night. Never one to refuse a slackpack, we called her and paid $5 each for the convenience.

With no weight on our backs, we were sure we could get all the way into Hanover (a 27 mile, very hilly day). Indeed, we might have made it (probably after dark, but whatever) except for a sign we passed... "Free Food, Beer, and Swimming." Our friend Gritty lives right off the trail, and had apparently gotten off on his birthday and was hosting a hiker barbeque for free! Naturally, we got off for about an hour and a half. We met up with several other friends there, including Whisp, and were beginning to realize after an exorbitant amount of food and a few beers that we weren't going to hike another 17 miles after 3 pm.

So, we tried calling this trail angel who had our packs, "Bug Bite." She doesn't pick up. We start joking that she probably just stole our stuff (imagine filing a police report against some girl named "Bug Bite") but were now in a legitimate fix: we can't improvise and not go to Hanover if she thinks we'll be there, but we're definitely not getting there by the time she said she'd meet us!

We finally got a hold of her on the trail and decided to meet her in West Hartford. We (thankfully) got all our stuff back, and paid her $5 each to hike less miles than we were originally planning on. We found a barn in town that some guy let us stay in for the night... this barn was incredible, it was just strewn all over with random crap, with dust everywhere! But there were two beds and a few matresses, so we were happy! We each took turns going to the bathroom inside the guys house, which was (very awkwardly) right next to where his daughter was breaking up with her boyfriend over the phone.

I made a few phone calls while Sea Monster, Jukebox Hero, and Double Vision went on a walk to get out of the barn. They came across a guy who offered them beers, so they were just hanging out on his porch for an hour or so. While they were there, they were served beer, cereal, and a cheese platter while watching his dog chase his tail whenever a car passed by! When they got back, we chatted in the barn for a while before hitting the hay.

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