June 8, 2018
Destination: Kay Wood Shelter Today's Miles: 17.60
Start Location: Upper Goose Pond Cabin Trip Miles: 1566.80
Today started in an interesting manner. I knew Pete (the cabin caretaker) had said that breakfast would be ready around 6.
I woke up at about 5:40, and slowly started to get my things ready. Just before 6, I heard a light whistling. The whistling grew steadily louder, and the door to the bunkhouse opened. There was Pete, a plate of pancakes in his hand, whistling us awake like an old-fashioned alarm. It was awesome! We all toddler downstairs like sleepy children at Christmas time, knowing what was coming next: pancakes! Pete had coffee ready, and was churning out the pancakes one after the other. The best part was that he added blueberries to them. They were delicious! I just kept eating them. The section hikers quickly got full, and then even Dude got full. Not me! I figured as long as he was still making them I would eat. I slathered them with country time tub butter and poured obscene amounts of Log Cabin syrup on them, like Will Ferrell in Elf. I wanted to lick my plate, but managed to scrape it clean with this thing called a “fork.” I hadn’t used a non rounded version in a while! Breakfast was a real treat, and Pete was such a champ of a caretaker. Blueberry (the section Hiker who warned me about Moosilaukee) put it best when he said to Pete: “sir, you are a scholar and a gentleman.” He really was!
After thanking Pete, I said my goodbyes to the others and hiked out. My next stop was the Cookie Lady. Her house was 11 miles away just off the trail, but when I got there she wasn’t home. There were no cookies either. I was able to pick up my mail drop, but I really wanted to meet her. I sat with a section hiker and had a snack and then signed her log book, but finally I left. As I walked out, Dude was walking in. He said he would camp out for a while to see if she showed.
A little disappointed, I walked on. I hoped that Dude would be able to meet her. My spirits were soon lifted, however, when once again the trail proves that I am always right where I’m supposed to be. I came to the road crossing for Blotz Road and I heard a voice say “trail magic.” I looked over and there was a guy sitting there with a cooler. I went over and he had quite the setup! He said he had driven 76 miles and wasn’t sure if he would even see anyone and that I was the first person to come by. When I told him I was thru hiking from Springer, he got really pumped up. His name was John and he has aspirations of thru hiking one day. He had just been laid off, unfortunately, but he was upbeat about it and was using the time to do some hiking. Anyway, he was a really nice and thoughtful guy! He had sodas and lots of amazing “junk” food like twinkies, Debbie Cakes, snickers and M&Ms. He had a LOT of awesome snacks - all the stuff we want! I sat and chatted with him for a while as a few section hikers rolled through. I also texted Dude to let him know as I was not too far north of the Cookie Lady. John was just a great person, like all of the other trail angels / trail magicians I have met. I left feeling great and hoping that he would find a way to thru hike one day.
I walked on and eventually got to the turn off for Kay Wood Shelter. It was 3:30, but I wanted to do quite a few things in Dalton, so I thought it best not to go into town late. My plan is to get up early, hike the 3 miles into town, and then do my business there: shower in the free town shower, do laundry, eat. I will then hike 10 miles and hit the next town, Cheshire, where I will resupply and hike out. Tomorrow will be a full and interesting day! Dude showed up at the shelter. He didn’t meet the Cookie Lady either, but he did get trail magic from John!
Today I was grateful for a lovely communal breakfast, the magic of the trail and John’s trail magic, a beautiful day for hiking, and the wonderful support I get from all who are reading this! Tomorrow will be another adventure!
#1 - Beaker, thanks! Duly noted on Moosilaukee. You’re right - I have to remind myself sometimes that I’m a brave and fierce thru hiker. For example, I showed that Michael Myers what’s what! But seriously, that makes me feel better. I’m not good at changing directions. I walk north, and if I stick with that I don’t get lost! Now to find that moose....
#2 - Section Hiker Blueberry from the Cabin was an interesting guy. From Washington State, he previously attempted a thru hike of the AT with his wife. She broke her ankle, which ended their trip. He later attempted a solo thru hike. He started really missing her and pushing longer and longer days, and then hurt his knee and ended his hike. He is now a self-described “LASHER” - long ass section hiker. He had a great bear story and a picture to go with it. He was sitting at a campsite eating by his tent, and a bear wandered down and literally walked up to his stuff to where he had to get up and leave. The bear picked up a bag he had with a sandwich in it right from the vestibule of his tent and walked off with the sandwich flapping out of its mouth. He had a picture of the bear right at his tent.
#3 - Dude apparently took a picture of me in full hiker trash mode at the creamery back in NY. I didn’t know at the time because I was sleeping off my banana split and hot dogs on the ground. I uploaded that for your viewing amusement.