July 4, 1998

7/4/98 Goddard Shelter

21.6 miles (1598.1 total)

Had a wonderful evening just sitting around the fire with Groovin’Moose and his friends. Talked with the older couple section hiking to Maine. They retired as high school teachers, physics and french. Clevland and Krissy are a couple of Dead Heads just starting the Long Trail. And later, a small family showed up for an overnight. Everyone was pleasant and friendly. The night was cool, so I needed the sleeping bag, but I slept well.

A nice bright sunny day but got kind of a late start, especially for a 20 mile day. Again, I’m hiking alone, not hard to get into a groove. Passing another pond, I almost didn’t see the moose. As I tried to get closer, she took off. The swampy area slowed her down, but once she hit solid ground, she moved incredibly fast. Not bad hiking, still hopping from rock-to-rock, but the mud is getting solid. Average mosquito day. Talked to a few section southbounders at Congdon Shelter. They warned me that Goddard might be very crowded.

Early I spotted my only moose this trip

The killer of the day was the drop into Bennington, 800’ of boulder steps. By the time I reached the bottom, my knees were screaming "STOP!" The climb back up and out of the gap was a lot easier, with a lot of switchbacks. Found two more girls beginning Long Trail taking a nap at the Melville Nauheim Shelter -- tough 2nd day for them. They said they were going to Goddard also.

Took off at 2pm, looking at 4 hours to do the next 8.4 miles. The sky became overcast and I knew we were in for more rain. The climbs were OK but I misread the map and thought I was a lot further away. Started to rain and all of a sudden I popped out of the trees next to the shelter. I was a little confused because I didn’t expect the shelter for another 30 minutes. I had to ask someone if this was the Goddard Shelter. Like I was told, lots of people but most are tenting. The shelter is full of people cooking. Hopefully, things will quiet down.