Shuttled back to the trail after breakfast by the owner of the inn this morning after breakfast. Started hiking by 9am. I have planned a short 10.6 mile day to the Montclair Glen Shelter.
Tough day! Finally made it to the shelter around 3:30 this afternoon. The climbs were relentless and the downhills weren’t any better. Pace was very slow today: 10.6 miles in 6.5 hours. After the math, my pace was a staggering 1.3 miles per hour. Yep, 1.3 miles per hour!
Caught up to Shivers an north bounder and her friend River who is hiking a section of the trail with her. Shivers started 4 days before I did. We hiked on and off all day in between mandatory breaks for the heat. Temperature was around 95 degrees and brutal with such little water available.
Had an interesting bear encounter this afternoon. River was hiking a short distance ahead of me and as I was catching up to her we both stopped to look see what was climbing up a tree to our right. My first thought was that it was a porcupine. Boy was I wrong. Upon secondary inspection I could clearly see a chubby little but making its way up the tree. Of course, we both thought that this was very cool. Then I stared to look around for mama. She was standing in the brush about 50 yards away. I could barely make her out in the brush and she had her eyes on us. Normally I would have just vacated the area, but Shivers was coming up around a bend of the trail that would have put her much closer to the bear. So we waited to let Shivers know that was a cub in the tree and that he mother was very close to the trail. I pointed out the mother to her and we quickly moved on.
Met a southbounder at the shelter by the name of 2 Foots Fool. Nice chap from London that is out doing a section in preparation for hiking the entire trail next year. He has been Cussing up a storm. He can’t believe how hard this trail is on him mentally and physically. I would write verbatim what he was saying, but it may be a little to graphic for this blog. He started in Canada and will be getting off at Appalachian Gap. He is then flying to Florida to meet his wife and kids for a vacation.2 Foots Fool came over to try a section in order to prepare for a thru-hike next year with a buddy of his.
Later in the evening Lambs Quarter showed up. He looked beat! He has been hiking with Shivers for quite a while. Lambs Quarter is from Syracuse, NY and a college student out enjoying his time off between sessions.
This shelter has fairly good water, meaning there is some. Enjoyed dinner and conversation with the hikers at the shelter. Spent a considerable amount of time talking with 2 Foots Fool about the trail and gear. He wondered how I could be putting up big mile days consistently. I let him know that the southern section of the Long Trail is quite easy and that I expect my mileage to dwindle significantly.
The bugs suck! I am preparing myself for a tough day over Camels Hump tomorrow. After today’s hike my knees are not liking the trail, but I’ll keep pushing north.