Saturday, August 30, 2014

Day 142- It's Illegal

My weekend off was nice, but it is now time to get back to the homeland. Papa drove me up to Hanover, New Hampshire this morning and luckily I was able to sleep about an hour in the car. Getting up at 5:30 really sucks. I crossed the bridge and from Vermont I entered New Hampshire, Lynn called to see if we could pick up her and Puzzle so we headed to the house they were at. After grabbing them, the coffee drinkers needed their fix so we stopped at Dunkin Donuts in town. I waited outside since I don't need the caffeine high, and after everyone was all settled Papa drove our packs to the trailhead so we could walk the town part of the trail with no pack. We arrived in no time and he was surprised to see us already. We hiked by a soccer field, up into the woods and had a pretty flat first half of the day. We have been seeing a lot of Southbounders recently and one in particular was someone I haven't seen since the second night on the trail. I knew she had flip flopped, and was working her way down near us very soon, as in today. I saw Puzzle talking with someone up the trail; female, gray mohawk, it's Birdie! Lynn and I gave her a big hug and caught up, asking all about the Whites and Maine. It was so good to see her, Lynn saw her back in Damascus but it's been since Georgia for me! After she headed on, we sat for lunch. It was at the top of the hill before the woods and there was a nice view, so we sat in the shade under a tree. We knew we had some climbs ahead of us later in the day, which I rather have first thing but oh well. We had to carry water since we would be stealthing tonight, and I haven't carried 3L since I can remember; and for good reason. That first climb was brutal with the water weight. At least there was a view at the South peak, because the next one; the North peak didn't have one. A long downhill, and then out last uphill for the day since we will be camping at the top. I was taking my time coming down as usual and I got word from some Southbounders that there were hotdog trail magic waiting at the bottom. I tried not to rush, but I was ready to be off this mountain. I crossed the street and there I saw Triple P, Puzzle, Ladybug, and Bullseye; oh and trail magic! I sat down, got a hotdog, orange soda, and a cheese Danish. We had around 2 miles to go up to camp so after resting for a few minutes and thanking our trail angels we left. Usually I am in the back of the pack; but occasionally, on days like today where the last leg is uphill, I become runber up. Energy came from nowhere and suddenly I was passing everyone except Bullseye who was up ahead. I pushed hard to get up there and get to camp. Bullseye sat to wait for Ladybug, so I took the lead. I got to a view, too small to be the "ledges." I got to another, and same thing. I got to where the trail followed downhill, and another path continued on. I left my pack at the junction and left to explore. I found the ledges, but it would be kind of hard to camp on, especially 5 of us. I walked some more through some tall grass and found a couple other spots, but still not quite big, or flat enough. I heard a bunch of voices so I walked further down the path, and emerged at a large opening with a ski lift. There were about 15 college students sitting around a circle, I scoped out the area quick and then asked what ski mountain this was. Go figure, I asked a question that I didn't really pay attention for the answer. Long story short, I think it is a ski mountain for Dartmouth. I headed back up to the trail and heard Triple P calling for me, I had left my trekking poles there so she would know I didn't go on. I told her to follow the path my poles were on, and asked her to bring them with her. Once everyone showed up, I told them our options. We all agreed the ledges wouldn't really work so we walked one by one to the hidden ski lift area. Once we got there Triple P asked where they would prefer us so we didn't interfere with their outing. A pompous young fellow quickly said "you can't stay here, it's privately owned by the college and it is illegal to camp here." Oh but wait, you guys are camping here? A few of us chuckled at "illegal" and chimed in how we were thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, there are many things we have done that are probably frowned upon, but you know what? No one cares. Just the other day I camped on the gondola platform at Killington ski resort and this little punk is trying to tell us we can't camp here? Triple P said she didn't feel comfortable going back and fourth about it and camping there so we left. I was fuming about the situation but that is the downfall of being with a group, it's not up to just one person. We retreated back towards the AT and had to work with what we had. I didn't want to camp on the ledges alone, everyone else wanted to set up in the woods by the trail so me being me I set up on a small, uneven dirt lookout area-I was getting my view campsite. We set up and then all joined at the ledges for dinner and a fire. There was a steep drop off, a fire pit, and a nice view. We all sat around the fire eating dinner and talking about the ridiculousness. The stars were spectacular, I think this is actually one of the first times during this hike I've seen them like this. There was not a light to be seen in the distance, but the Milkyway was as clear as ever. Perfect end to the night.

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