June 25, 1998

6/25/98 Mount Algo Lean-to

21.5 miles (1444.1 total)

Strangest thing happened last night. Sometime about 10pm, after we’d all gone to sleep, I hear voices approaching the shelter. In the dark, it looks like 3 young teenage boys, maybe with a sleeping bag under their arms. Then a few more people arrive, this time I think, adults, with several younger girls. They really thought the shelter would be empty. But they decided to move on to higher ground to Cat Rocks. I think a few had day packs.

This morning the sun was bright, shining into the shelter before 6am. Didn’t sleep so well, so it was hard to get moving. Said my good-byes to Elena and Eley, thinking of the deli 3 miles away. The funny thing was, the valley was in a fog. The farther I went down, the thicker the dew got. One thing the moisture did was make all the cobwebs easier to see. It seemed the whole mountain was covered with flat-net webs all over the ground. The Dover Oak did look like it could be the largest tree I’ve seen on the trail. But the road was the beginning of a lot of wet pasture walking and a few bog bridges. I think my boots get more wet walking through the farm fields than in a rain shower.

The wonder of light and fog

The "Appalachian Trail Station" was a little anticlimactic being in the morning shade. From here you can catch a commuter train to New York City on weekends. Took a right at the highway and walked the ½ mile to Toni’s Deli. I guess I’d call it a "trucker" stop - lots of beer and skin magazines - wonder when the health inspector visited here last? Bought a coke and a donut, and Toni offered to fill my water bottle. A few customers had questions about my trip.

All aboard for New York City!!!

On the way back out of the valley, I passed the neatest old water tower. I’ve never seen anything like it. A concrete base with multiple buttresses supporting a wooden cylinder with a wood shingle conical roof. By now you could tell the day was going to hot and humid.

Saw this wonderful water tower

My plan for the day was to hike 13 miles, taking my time, with a long break at Wiley Shelter. That changed somewhat when I got there. Pension Hiker was a slightly crazy older man taking a day off at Wiley, waiting for a pension check so he could move on north. And he told me EWOS left a message for me. While I read the register, I could hear Pension Hiker talking to himself. With him here, I don’t see taking a long break. EWOS had taken another day off because Bugbait wasn’t feeling well. That meant they left the shelter this morning. EWOS offered to buy me a beer if I made it into Kent tonight. The offer was tempting, so I’ll decide at the next shelter.

The trail conditions were murky. A lot of bog bridges but I think more were needed. The mud was in that in-between state: not squishy, not solid. Plus a few areas were overgrown, you couldn’t see the trail. My guess was that we were hitting the upper 80"s with high humidity.

Reached the Ten Mile River Lean-to around 2pm - and EWOS had left more notes - drawings of ice cold beer and such. I knew it was crazy but decided to do the miles. That was despite the mighty lightning bug display Chunky described in the register.

Walking along the river, I was reminded of Johnson Shut-ins , down in southern Missouri. The rivers flowed over the rocks, forming hundreds of inviting pools - wish I didn’t have to do the miles. The trail headed through tall pine trees with the ground covered with red pine needles. Decided to take a Ben and Jerry break at Bulls Bridge, just across an early 1800’s covered bridge from the trail. And it was definitely getting hot.

I wish I could have stayed and taken a nap after all the ice cream. As I headed back to the trail, I looked at the mountain in front of me and thought of all the food in my stomach. I keep saying "fucking mountain"! Schaghtmore Mountain was a long, hot climb, over 1000’ and over a mile long. Kept asking if a beer with EWOS was worth it. After a while, I thought every down was the last but they kept coming. One long downhill reminded me of the rocks in Pennsylvania. One more uphill, then down and I was at the next shelter. Seems I’m always catching up to Not Yet. He was having a hard day because of a bunch of poison ivy he got today. I’m thinking I’m lucky I haven’t gotten any. Because there’s no place under $75 a night to stay in Kent, I’ll stay here and look for EWOS in the morning . After looking at the guidebook, I’ve got a full morning planned - breakfast at the Villager Restaurant, laundry, groceries, then the outfitters for new socks, Kent Pizza Garden for lunch, then get a deli sandwich from Kent Market to go.

Tried something new tonight to battle the mosquitoes. I tried sleeping in my wind/rain gear without a sleeping bag. Got too hot and sweaty. Changed later in the night - plus used the sleeping bag as a blanket. Ended up pulling the cotton liner over my face to survive the insect attacks.