Montclair Glen Shelter to Birch Glen Camp
October 6, 2007
LT Miles – 9
Total LT Miles – 107.2
Extra Miles – 0
Morning at Montclair Glen dawns cool and misty. My sleeping bag is moist with drops of condensation from the open air.
I pack early, say goodbye to the weekend campers, and head out.
Today’s walk shapes up to be a slow and weary task. I think it’s a result of having such an excellent day yesterday (And a caffeine induced hangover, if such a thing exists).
I was foolish not to fill up my water this morning at the shelter, and find that my bottles are empty long before I’d like.
Eventually I replenish it from some seeping drips, and later I get more from a questionable trickle.
I’m still not treating my drinking water on this trip. So far, so good.
The trail is steep up Mount Ethan Allen, only to bump over Mount Ira Allen too.
It then descends before heading up Burnt Rock Mountain.
The day is lonely except for a single northbound hiker – a friendly guy who appears to be in his thirties. We have a brief conversation, mostly dwelling on the quality of nearby water sources. Like me, he is not carrying a filter.
The early morning presents a picturesque view to the east.
Burnt Rock Mountain
Rain clouds from the west blow through a gap to the north.
I stood in that gap this morning.
I think of my shelter mates from last night – they were going northbound. I think of how they must be on Camel’s Hump right now, wishing for better weather.
I take a long break at Cowles Cove Shelter, paging through the register and observing the intermittent rain.
The rain begins before I arrive, ceases while I’m in the shelter, and continues when I leave.
The rain shower is here to stay, and I’m loving it. Water falls from the sky, runs off the bark and leaves, and soaks my shirt. I was dragging all day, but now I feel energized.
It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve bathed, eleven days out. Now as I walk this evening in the rain, I know the transformation is complete. I’m a creature of the trail again, tempered by the elements to achieve the euphoria that all long distance hikers seek.
Near Birch Glen Camp I meet a man and four children… three boys and a young girl.
They’re out for a day hike, all decked out in ponchos for the rain. Their trail name is collectively “Ricky D and the Kids,” from Quebec. Ricky is a great conversationalist and I enjoy talking to him inside the shelter. He gives me some extra food – individually packaged “Fruit Snacks” and the like. He offers a ride to town, but I’m enjoying the setting on this rainy day. I’ll be in town tomorrow.
The rain increases in volume soon after they leave, and I even hear occasional thunder.
I gratefully nibble on the snacks and page through the register as my dinner simmers. I love watching the rain from inside a dry shelter. I stopped hiking early today, so there’s ample time to relax before dark.
Out of ten total nights in shelters thus far, I’ve been alone five times. Can’t complain.