Connecticut: days 83-86

Day 83: Morgan Stewart Shelter to Ten Mile River Shelter, 20.6 miles
Day 84: Ten Mile River Shelter to Caesar Brook, 22.3 miles
Day 85: Caesar Brook to Salisbury, 19 miles
Day 86: day off in Salisbury, 0 miles
Total AT miles hiked: 1499.6

The Appalachian Trail passes through Connecticut for just 52 miles, but it makes for quite the welcome to New England! The morning before we made it to the “gateway of New England,” we stopped in Pawling, NY to go to our last New York deli close to the trail and to pick-up a couple of packages. Unfortunately only one of them had been delivered to a garden center located on the trail that offers to accept hiker mail drops, and when I checked on its location I found it was being held at the post office in town instead of being delivered. I called the post office and explained my situation, and the woman on the phone offered to deliver it immediately! I was thankful for her kindness, although it would have been easier for everyone if it had just been delivered correctly in the first place. That being taken care of we set off toward the state line, and said goodbye to New York.

We stopped at a shelter along the Ten Mile River, and tried to find the hole in my air mattress. It’s been deflating slowly overnight, so slowly that we weren’t sure if there was a hole or if it was the fact that it’s been unseasonably cold and that the warm air from my breath I use to blow it up has been compressing overnight as the temperature cools (the suggestion from Sea to Summit). That suggestion seemed plausible a few days before, so I accepted their offer to send me a new bag to inflate my mat instead (I have one but it’s developed a leak so it doesn’t hold air as efficiently anymore), but now that it is hot again that explanation doesn’t seem to fit. The best way to find a small hole in an air mattress is to blow it up, submerge it in water, and look for a stream of air bubbles. The last two hotels we’ve stayed in have had stand up showers, no bathtubs, so the river was our first chance. We couldn’t find anything, and I was hopeful that maybe that night with the warmer overnight temperatures it wouldn’t deflate.

Well, my hopes and mat deflated overnight! We thought it may be an issue with the valve, but it was the weekend so no one would be at Sea to Summit to talk to about sending out a new mat. Despite another night without much cushioning between the ground and I, it was a beautiful morning. 

Connecticut soon made it clear that its 52 miles would not come easily. In the 2.5 days that we took to cross it not only were the temperatures in the 90s, the state apparently has never heard of switchbacks. The trail sloped steeply up and down all day, which is very characteristic of trails in New Hampshire- and also apparently Connecticut, too! It threw in a few fields though, which we much appreciated. We made the best of the heat, being careful to drink water and take frequent stops throughout. By the time we reached Salisbury late in the afternoon on our last full day in Connecticut , we were ready for a break. We checked into a nicer hotel than usual, as it was the only one in town. It was so comfortable to be out of the heat, away from the mosquitoes and ticks, we decided to take a day off the following day to escape the heat. It’s hard to believe that a week ago we were trying to escape the cold and the rain! Also a bonus, there was a bathtub! In the quiet of the bathroom, we were able to hear air escaping from my sleeping mat while it was submerged under water. It took some searching, but we eventually found the hole in one of the mattress’ folds, which explains why the leak was so slow. I have a patch kit with me, and it was an easy repair. I’m looking forward to returning to the woods with cooler temperatures, and an inflated sleeping pad!