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AT 2017: Day 131, Stony Brook Shelter to Meadow at Mile 1726.6

Have you heard about the lonesome loser?

Hike with Gravity

Stick hiked more than 20 miles yesterday, most of it in miserable weather. He’s on a schedule, and as I know from similar situations, it’s not easy to keep to a plan on the trail. Weather and terrain can throw unexpected obstacles at you.

After spending time with his daughter, Stick is now trying to push hard to reach Hanover in two days. He plans to meet a friend who will be hiking with him for a few days.

Date
Weather Mostly sunny, with temperatures in the low 60s
Trail Conditions Many ups and downs, sometimes steep
Today's Miles 15.8 miles
Trip Miles 1,726.6 miles

I’ll be meeting up with a couple friends as well, but we’re still working out those details. For now, I don’t have as much urgency.

I have learned the value of hiking my own hike, and that’s what I intended to do today. I decided to leave camp when I wanted and stop when I wanted.

I was up at a decent time, but was slow to pack my gear. I left camp a few minutes before 8 a.m.

The first thing I needed to do as I left was refill my water bottle. Fortunately, a stream was located less than a tenth of a mile from the shelter. A spout of water came out of some rocks, making the task of collecting water especially easy here.

Today was my last full day in Vermont. The next state, New Hampshire, has a reputation for steep and difficult terrain. At the start of today’s hike I was given a tease of what to expect.

At one spot the climb was so steep an aluminum ladder was needed to get over a stack of large boulders.

In other spots the trail was rutted and full of roots.

Around mid-morning I crossed paths with Scout and Sun, and a short time later ran into Spillz. They were all slackpacking southbound and were staying at Yellow Deli in Rutland.

Yellow Deli is something of a trail curiosity. Many people refer to the organization that runs it as a cult. It was started in the early 1970s in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and has spread to nine more locations around the world.

From what I have been told, the Yellow Deli restaurants and hiker hostels are part of a recruitment effort for a religious organization known as the Twelve Tribes. They don’t charge a set fee for staying there and the restaurants serve delicious tea.

I don’t know if the recruiting is high-pressured or low-key, but I was steering clear of the place.

A few minutes before 1:00 I reached a short side trail that took me to a building called The Lookout. As soon as I arrived I saw why it was called that. A ladder provided access to a platform on the roof.

When I climbed the ladder I got a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains and valley, which would not be possible otherwise because of many trees on the peak.

The Lookout is a privately-owned cabin, but the owners allow hikers to hang out here. Skywalker, Jelly Bean, Stick, and a couple other hikers were here when I arrived, and we sat in the shade of the porch to eat lunch.

Some hikers had spread their tents and sleeping bags out on nearby bushes to dry out after yesterday’s rain. This made the place look like a yard sale.

I didn’t feel a need to spread out my gear. My sleeping bag remained dry overnight, and thanks to the cuben fibre fabric of my tent, it was already reasonably dry when I packed it this morning.

Since making the turn off from the Long Trail yesterday, the AT has been heading in a predominately easterly direction. After I left The Lookout, the trail went due south for about a mile before continuing east.

Had I realized how long the descent from The Lookout would take me, I might have left earlier than I did. That’s because near where the trail crossed the next road was a farm stand, where I could have bought ice cream and other snacks. Unfortunately, the stand closed at 5:30 p.m. and I didn’t arrive at the road until nearly 6:00.

After the road crossing the trail made one more tiring, steep climb. This too was longer than expected to walk.

When I reached a large meadow near a stream, daylight was starting to fade. A campsite was located in the woods not far from here, but I decided this looked like a good spot to camp. It was flat and grassy, and I hoped was close enough to trees that I wouldn’t get much dew in the morning.

About three-quarters of the way across the broad field I saw a couple walking their dog. I figured them to be nearby residents, so to be sure it was okay to camp there I shouted to them to ask. “Yes,” they yelled back. “Hikers camp here all the time.”

Then the man said he’d come back to bring me a beer, or at least I think he said that. I waited until well past dark, but he never returned.

This was a disappointing end to an otherwise good but tiring day.

Have you heard about the lonesome loser?
Beaten by the queen of hearts every time.
Have you heard about the lonesome loser?
He's a loser but he still keeps on trying.

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