June 26, 1998

6/26/98 Stewart Hollow Lean-to

7.5 miles (1451.6 total)

Because of the mosquitoes, I ended up getting up real early. I was packed and ready to hit town a little after 6am. It was overcast and a little muggy but cool. It was only 0.3 of a mile till you could hit the road that went into Kent. That early, the whole country-side seemed asleep. The road went through the Kent School, one of America’s foremost prep schools. You could tell they had a lot of money because of all the facilities - indoor hockey rink, field hockey, football field, baseball field, clay tennis courts, huge headmasters home, etc.

Once you cross the Housatonic River, the road takes you to "yuppieville". I was really surprised at the shops I passed - seemed more like the Plaza (in Kansas City) than some small New England town. First order of business was breakfast at the Villageer Restaurant. I was a little surprised to be the only one there. The very young waitress and I talked about Kent while I chowed down. Seems I always order french toast when in town. Not Yet later joined me. I was not sure why EWOS and Bugbait didn’t stop here because it was the only place that served breakfast.

Headed for laundry, then the store and finally to the outfitters. Still no EWOS. I kept walking all around town but never saw him. After doing all my town chores, I headed for Kent Pizza Garden for a big burger. Seems now that I’m a "flesh eater", I eat meat every chance I get. Saw Bluegrass in town. Finally stopped by Stork’s for a milk shake, then a pepperoni sandwich to go at the Kent’s Market. The local library was having a book sale, so I bought one for the trail.

Bluegrass and I headed out of town in the hot afternoon sun. The climb up was another long one (which ones aren’t?). We passed Not Yet and continued keeping a fast pace. By the time we reached St. John’s Ledges, the sky was overcast. The descent was down a long steep boulder staircase. Something I wouldn’t want to do in the rain. Passed by a group rock climbing near the cliff we just came down.

Did a nice flat river walk but the mosquitoes were bad. Passed a strange stand of red pines that were all dead - some sort of experiment to grow them in Connecticut.

Arrived at Stewart’s Hollow Brook Lean-to to find that EWOS had stopped here for lunch. Now he was 10 miles ahead and I don’t see how I can catch him. Everyone tented so I had the shelter all to myself, me and the mosquitoes. Bought some 100% Deet insect repellent back in town. I hate using the stuff but I don’t see any alternative. Sonny Days showed up later. I’d met him back in Virginia. He’s just traveling up and down the trail giving out trail magic. Tonight he’d carried up a 6-pack of Budweiser for us all to share. Ended up talking with him late into the night.