Day 114, Riga Shelter to Glen Brook Shelter
Let the sky crack asunder
Hike with Gravity
When my left knee started hurting in the first few days of my hike, it was understandable for that to happen. I had trained before I started the hike, but it was impossible to duplicate the amount of hiking I was doing every day.
When it started hurting again yesterday, I was more concerned. The pain was sudden and intense.
Surprisingly, though, when I awoke this morning my knee was pain free.
I don’t know what caused the pain yesterday, but whatever it was apparently went away.
Mostly sunny, high temperature in the low 80s, late afternoon thunderstorms
Steep climbs and descents
Unbeknownst to me, Stick had gotten up early this morning to view the sunrise from a ledge near the shelter. I was sound asleep and didn’t wake up until he returned to our tenting area.
The air was cool, but that didn’t last long. The temperature was already warming up when we returned to the trail just before 8 a.m.
Sun was filtering through the leaves as we began a gradual ascent toward Bear Mountain.
The trail later made a steep climb to the top of Bear Mountain, but it wasn’t difficult and we made it to the top by 8:40 a.m.
The mountain peak was a large pile of boulders, stacked there as if they were the crumbled remnants of a tower.
We stayed at the summit for several minutes with The Honeymooners to enjoy the view.
This was the highest peak in Connecticut, but not the highest spot in the state. That distinction goes to Mt. Frisell. The peak of that mountain is actually in Massachusetts, but a point where the state line crosses the side of the mountain is about 64 feet higher than this peak.
The descent from Bear Mountain’s summit dropped nearly 1,000 feet in under 1.5 miles. When I saw that on the map profile of the trail, it looked painful. Surprisingly, the descent wasn’t difficult.
Along the way, the trail crossed into Massachusetts, the eleventh state of the fourteen states traversed by the Appalachian Trail.
At the bottom of the descent was a place called Sages Ravine. The trail followed a brook for more than a half mile through the ravine.
We stopped for a long lunch where the trail turned away from the stream and headed up another mountain top.
As we were finishing lunch we heard a low rumble of thunder.
A day hiker said he looked at a radar app on his phone and it showed the storm tracking through the valley east of us. He said we weren’t likely to get wet soon. Another system was forming west of our spot, though, and that wasn’t good news. The next few miles included walking on an exposed ridge.
The trail headed up Mt. Race and along an open ledge. From here I could see the rain passing through the valley, just as the hiker said it would.
Not knowing for sure when the other storm front would arrive, I didn’t waste any time as I walked swiftly on the rocky, exposed trail. The sky continued to rumble, but no rain fell.
After descending Mt. Race the trail made a steep climb up Mt. Everett. This mountain also had some exposed places, and I wasn’t keen on hanging around for long.
Despite that concern, I stopped when I reached the top because I met a young couple out for a day hike. Furprittius (a trail name) and his friend, Violet, gave me an orange and we chatted for a short time. Furprittius told me he completed an AT thru-hike four years ago.
Eventually, though, we agreed it seemed like a storm was going to hit soon, so we continued on our separate ways.
The trail down from Mt. Everett was much easier than the climb up the other side, and I soon caught up to Stick. We stopped at a picnic spot where someone had left water for hikers.
Rain began to fall just as we started to leave. At this point, though, we were only a half mile from a place to camp, so we headed there.
Actually, there were two places to camp, The Hemlocks Shelter and Glen Brook Shelter, which were only about a tenth mile from each other. I’m not sure why two shelters were located so close together. It seemed redundant.
The rainfall wasn’t heavy, and we elected to walk to the second shelter. By the time we got there the rain had stopped.
We would have preferred to walk some more because there was still plenty of daylight left in the day, but we couldn’t find on the map any potential campsites that were within our hiking range.
The storm left behind cold air, so I didn’t take long to cook my dinner and hang my bear bag. I was in my tent by 6 p.m.
Gonna ride with the rolling thunder
Let the sky crack asunder
As lightning cries out of the rain
Gonna wade across rivers
Gathered in the stream from the
Mountains that rise above the plain