Day mileage: 0
AT total mileage: 1,368
Taking a second day off was never in my plans. In fact many hikers who knew I was surprising my family by getting off the trail asked me if I thought I'd actually go back to hiking. I think that many would struggle with returning to the trail after having had a few days off, time with family, or incessantly hot showers. I don't blame them. Three months ago while in Orlando, my grandparents asked me if I'd be coming to Rhode Island for this vacation. At the time I had told them no, and explained that if I was 'still hiking' (aka not knowing if I'd have quit by that point) I wouldn't be mentally or emotionally capable of taking a week of vacation and then returning to the trail. Even with only taking two days off, I don't think I'd have been wrong. There is certainly a struggle of being somewhere dry in the rain, a 'port in the storm' if you will, that diminishes one's desire to leave civilization and go back out into the woods. Can you blame me?
Despite not being on the trail, I woke up at 5 AM, as if I'd need to still pack up my sleeping bag and hit the trail. Instead I wandered out to the living room and snuggled into the couch, listening to the waves angrily crash against the shore as immeasurable amounts of rain fell from the sky. Visibility on the beach was no more than ten feet as a thick fog blanketed the shoreline. Within a few minutes of rhythmic sounds from the ocean, I was fast asleep again. This kind of leisurely morning was just what I needed. I woke up again around 9 to the smell of bacon and eggs being cooked on the stove, and the quiet morning noises of family moving about the house. The day would be spent relaxing indoors as the weather worked away at its issues outside. I've never been so glad to not be hiking. My mom and I got to spend some time together, shopping for small resupply items at the local Walmart. I napped mid-afternoon, and the hours flew by until we ate a hodgepodge dinner just before dark, in a successful attempt to clear out leftover food before the rental of the house would end on Saturday morning. I took some time to answer many blog e-mails before I retired to bed. A quick conversation via text with Jellybean informed me that he and Pneumo met up again on the trail and were 43 miles north of where I got off. It would take some serious hiking to overcome that mileage spread, and I'm frankly not sure I've got the interest in working myself that hard. I drew a schedule out for the next few weeks of hiking. I've tried to stop scheduling my days, but it's a force of habit. I like knowing when I'll be where, and there are a lot of people who have been interested in knowing that information for the next few states. As of now it looks like I'll be entering The Whites (New Hampshire's White Mountains) on June 30th, at which point I'll have only 380 or so miles left to hike.
On Saturday morning my aunts will drive me back to New York's 17A where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road. I'll begin hiking there, hopefully by 1300hrs, and will do my best to squeeze a 22 mile hike into what's left of the day. This will obviously be dictated by terrain, but I am hoping for some cooperation as I've got a plan in my head and would like to stick with it. I'm glad I took the two days off. I'm glad I got to spend this time with my family. There are few times in life where there is no real set schedule, so I think it was absolutely the right thing to do by coming here and spending an extra day. The trail will still be there when I get back tomorrow, and I'll be ready to hike it. Katahdin will be here soon enough, one foot in front of the other, one mile at a time.