2nd day on the trail; to start at the beginning of this hike, click here: Appalachian Trail: 341 to Hoyt Road, Day 1
Day 2: Leaving Ten Mile Shelter for Hoyt Rd Parking
Unfortunately, I did not sleep well.
The fantasy I had in my mind of getting a good night’s rest did not play out as planned. I had this idea that I would be so tired from hiking with all of my gear (that much was true) that I would sleep deeply after a good meal. I figured the fresh air and the sounds of nature would enhance my deep state of sleep and I would wake feeling rested and energized and ready to start the day.
I hate to sound like a negative nancy, but it did not go down like that at all. I tossed and turned for most of the night. The zipper on my sleeping back kept unzipping and so I would wake up a little cold and all twisted up in the bag. Then, I had to pee and in my half awake state of mind, forgot to put shoes on before exiting the tent which is in a field with lots of sharp sticks and thorny branches. Plus – I kept thinking about ticks!
Then, I couldn’t fall back asleep because I remembered that I had my toothpaste, mouthwash and my cherry scented chapstick all still in my tent, instead of hanging from a tree in the bear bag like the rest of our food. I felt like a human cherry mojito just lying in the field tempting the bears. I could see them now in the trees, licking their lips and plotting their next move.
Eventually, I did fall back asleep and managed to have one of those dreams that are real enough to make you question if you’re awake or not. Of course, I dreamt that a bear was sniffing around my tent – right by my head and I just froze, gripping a knife in one hand and my bear spray in the other…
Then, I woke up and realized it was light out.
When I finally emerged from my tent, my dad looked like he had been up for a while.
I think he said he got up at 6?
Normally, I’m an early riser, but after fending off bears in my sleep all night, I woke up later than usual. Even now, I was too groggy to process much of anything.
Thankfully, my dad brought coffee (Starbucks insta-packs) and I brought milk (I froze it, so it was the perfect temperature by morning). After some caffeine, I managed to pack up all of my gear relatively quick and easy. I was apprehensive about putting my pack back on since my shoulders were killing me, but I took an ibuprofen and muscled through it.
A Little Lost…
I can see how easy it is to get mixed up on the trail…especially when you were tired the night before and are just getting started again the next morning.
I would say that I knew with 99 percent certainty which way we came on the trail the night before and which way we needed to go the next morning in order to continue on our journey.
My dad, on the other hand, needed some convincing – something about the direction that the water was flowing in the river couldn’t be right?
I don’t know.
I was still waiting for the caffeine and the ibuprofen to fully kick in to process what he was saying. And, I was pretty cold and wanted to keep moving. So, rather than insist on the direction, I followed him back to the Y in the River, by the bridge that we had crossed the day before.
This convinced him that we did indeed need to be going in the other direction (I tried telling him). It was a good warm up.
They say you get your trail legs after a couple of weeks of being on the trail and I think that today I started to understand that idea just a teensy little bit.
After about an hour of hiking, I started to notice more of a spring to my step, even with all of the extra weight on my back. It was like I was readjusting myself to accommodate the pounds and my body was relearning how to take steps with more confidence.
That, and the caffeine and ibuprofen were kicking in.
It was a cool morning with some rainy periods and a perpetual heavy fog. It was really beautiful.
Of course, being morning still, the birds sounded sooo pretty – I took video just to record the audio…if you turn the volume up high enough, you can hear raindrops falling on the leaves.
Ten Mile Shelter to Hoyt Parking; Approximately 3 miles
Sounds easy enough, right?
The portion of the trail leaving camp follows the Housatonic River for a bit, before shooting right up the side of Ten Mile Hill. In .8 miles, you essentially go from an elevation of about 300 feet at camp, to an elevation of 1,000 feet.
And it doesn’t stop there…
Next is a short decline, before you go right back up and over Gardner Hill.
In addition to a bunch of ups and downs, there are a few brooks you need to cross and you can either do that by stepping across the rocks, or by getting your feet wet. I tried the first, but ended up doing both. Trekking poles are very useful in these situations – as are good shoes. My shoes are so waterproof, that I literally stared down at one of my feet in the water, in a depth that came up to just below the top of the shoe. The water just rolled off when I stepped out!
After crossing Ten Mile Hill and Gardner Hill, ( “hill” ) we descended into an area of wetlands that had the most beautiful greenery in the form of moss and skunk cabbage.
Soon, we had to cross a street (Route 55), before continuing on the other side into an area of more wetlands. Thankfully, there were boardwalks to keep our feet from sinking into the soggy ground. Also, double thanks to the hiking gods for making it relatively bug free – I’d be scared to hike this midsummer without a net suit!
Up ahead, was Route 55 Parking, which a kind soul (or, few souls) left some trail magic; water, soda and snacks!
We took a soda (to share) and left what snacks we had left over…we were almost to our car…
The Final Stretch.
From Route 55 Parking to Hoyt Parking, where we left our 2nd car, is about .7 miles.
I think I was in a state of feeling both relief that soon I’d be able to take a hot shower, mixed with being sad that it was over! I really didn’t want to stop just yet and both my dad and I agreed that we wished we had a little longer on the trail.
I have to say that despite being harder than I expected with so much extra weight, I would absolutely do it all over again…