Day 81 on the Appalachian Trail

Another day of contrasts with miles of flat trail, miles of ups and downs, heat and rain. I set forth at 6:30am and quickly crossed a paved road and a creek where I got 2 liters of water. Three miles of short ups and downs led to a steep climb of Calebs Peak followed by a very steep descent to the Housatonic River. My left knee didn't like the descent at all. I walked for 5 miles along the river's western edge on a flat trail. Along the way, I stripped and splashed in the river, which was about 250 feet wide and 1-2 feet deep with clear water. At mile 10, the easy walking ended. I climbed out of the river valley and began the first of 10 ups and downs, some of them steep. In spite of drinking lots of water, I was perpetually thirsty. I ate lunch at mile 12.7 at Hatch Brook. About an hour later, hikers told me of an impending thunderstorm. That sounded good to me - it might cool the air. About a half hour later, the storm arrived with two claps of thunder and light rain. I put the cover on my pack and walked in the rain, hoping that it would leach the salt out of my shirt and pants. Alas, the storm didn't meet expectations. I stopped at the Pine Swamp Brook shelter to fill all my water bottles in the event that the Sharon Mountain Campsite lacked water. That was smart because Sharon Mountain campsite had no water. Given that it was 5:30pm, I opted to stay there. I cooked dinner and set up my tent to escape the mosquitoes. Today was hard, with nearly 20 miles of hiking in 11 hours with left knee pain to boot. Today's miles - 19.7. Total miles - 1486.1.

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