June 27, 1998

6/27/98 Plateau campsite

27.8 miles (1479.4 total)

Today started out so-so, then became spectacular, then turned into a nightmare. Seems it rained a little last night, so the morning was still overcast and the trail vegetation was soaked. But while walking I saw some deer walking in the river along the edge. Sometimes the rain can lend a crisp, clean air to everything, and that early in the morning, it was so peaceful.

All morning it looked like rain, with a few sprinkles from time to time. Ended up passing Shade, another thru-hiker. We ended up talking a little at Pine Swamp Brook Lean-to. EWOS had spent the night here alone but the mosquitoes were bad. The stream for water was pretty scummy. Rain continued as I left the shelter.

The flattest (some say the only) 7-mile stretch of the AT

As I climbed Sharon Mountain you could hear the car engines down at the Lime Rock Race Track. Guess Saturday is "race day". About 1pm the sun decided to make an appearance . Up ahead, I slowed down because of some day hikers taking pictures. Good thing too, because moving ever so slowly right in front of me was a rattlesnake. I would have surely stepped on him. He rattled at us until he could find a sunny spot in the rocks.

Almost stepped on this 4-foot rattlesnake

After that I was moving fast to make it to the cafe on US7 before it closed at 3pm. It had a new name "Fast Track Cafe". Made it with plenty of time to enjoy a big burger. When the owner questioned if it was cooked the way I liked, I said, "no, but it was good anyway". She didn’t charge me, said the cook needed to get it right. Had a great sticky bun to go but ate it before hitting the trail.

The afternoon was sunny and a little breezy. Stopped to ask a family to take my picture with the Iron Bridge over Housatonic. Talked to them about my trip and all. The trail followed the Housatonic upstream to the Great Falls. The place looked great for swimming. Took a break hoping a few locals might be diving off the falls but I guess it was late in the day. Just a nice afternoon to hike.

Pulled away from the river and headed up to the ridgeline. At first the mosquitoes were just annoying. Stopped to put some bug repellent on and found a lot more attacking when I stopped. Kept hiking but the bug juice didn’t seem to be working. I walked faster all the while swatting here and there. Finally, they started swarming, almost like a cloud. I stopped and tried to put on my raingear. I was swinging my jacket wildly, just so I could get an arm in. I literally ran up that ridgeline, sweating in my raingear. Once at the top of Prospect Rocks, the breeze was enough to keep the bugs at bay so I could take off my jacket. But I continued to move quickly, just in case the mosquitoes got bad again.

The guidebook said Limestone Springs Lean-to could be bad with mosquitoes. When the approach trail started to become a severe descent, I decided to skip the shelter and move on to a campsite 4 miles away, hoping the bugs wouldn’t be so bad. Finally hit the road and began a long road walk.

Showed up at Plateau Campsite about 7:30pm, feet very sore, body tired after a 27.8 mile day. Two tents were up and I approached one ask about better tentsites. EWOS pops his head out. "Is that you, Dragon’s Breath?" Seems we spent the whole evening trying to catch up on what had happened since Damascus. It was so satisfying to catch up to him. It ended the day on a much higher note, especially after the mosquito attack.