Day 99: Thundering Brook Road to Winturri Shelter, 16 miles
Day 100: Winturri Shelter to Happy Hill Shelter, 21.1 miles
101: Happy Hill Shelter to Moose Mountain Shelter, 16.8 miles
Day 102: Moose Mountain Shelter to Hexacuba Shelter, 17.7 miles
Total AT miles hiked: 1776.3
Miles remaining: 413.5
Day 99 brought us back on the trail after our unexpected day and a half off. We gained some much needed rest, and peace of mind that none of the bolts in my hip were coming loose. We’ve definitely been feeling more run down than usual. Maybe it’s the increasingly rugged terrain, or the fact that we’ve walked over 1700 miles, but whatever it is I think we’ll be able to push through to Maine!
The weather remained nice all morning, and we passed through many pastures. At one fence crossing I looked over my shoulder to see where Garrett was, and when I turned forward again there were two cows quizzically looking at me- Vermont is full of surprises! In the afternoon showers rolled in, and we made it to Winturri Shelter just in time to not get soaking wet. We fell asleep before 8pm, and felt very well rested the next morning. We weren’t so lucky the next day in regards to rain, and got caught in a severe thunderstorm with hail and heavy rain. I’d been hoping we’d be able to get to New Hampshire on our 100th day on the trail, but decided to stop a bit short to escape the rain.
We had an easy few miles the next day to Norwich, VT and began the most hiker-friendly section of the AT. First up were a variety of coolers sitting beside a few mailboxes as we made our way a mile down Elm Street. We both grabbed sodas for the walk to Dan & Whit’s General Store, and accepted our complementary sandwich from there. We did half of our grocery shopping, then headed across the bridge spanning the Connecticut River, and entered New Hampshire- our penultimate state on the AT!
The AT continues into Hanover, where we were treated to a free doughnut and a piece of pizza. I picked up a new pair of shoes and some socks, we had lunch, and then finished up our grocery shopping. Then it was about ten more miles, terminating in a climb over Moose Mountain to get to our shelter for the evening.
There was more rain the next day, but with dodging into an old fire warden’s cabin atop Smart’s Mountain to wait out the worst of it in the afternoon, we managed to make it to Hexacuba Shelter (an unusually shaped hexagonal shelter) before the next downpour that evening. If you haven’t noticed, we’ve had a lot of rain this hike. Garrett says that it’s rain nearly ten times as much as it did when he did the trail in 2011. Here’s hoping to drier weather for this last stretch!