Day 78: Churchill Scott Shelter to Thistle Hill Shelter (33.4 miles)
Updated: May 10, 2019
July 29, 2004 - Wow, what a day of hiking. It had its ups and downs in every such way. One good thing was that the sun came out and started to dry out the ground. The first 5 miles went by so fast, most was downhill. So I was having a great morning. I had planned on going 32 miles, still trying to make up for that sick day. Got to Gifford Bloods State Park to refill water and call Grandma to see how the family is doing. Granddad just had his 85th birthday party. I wish I could have been there. Talked with Grandma and I had just missed my parents. After I left the park things just seemed to get worse. By my data book it looked like I had an easy day with not much climbing; however that was not the case. There were these huge mountains that went up and down that were not in the book. Don’t ask me why. I felt like I was hiking my normal pace but I was getting to places a lot later than I had thought. It didn’t look like I would make it before dark. I thought about just finding a campsite since it was 12 miles between the last 2 shelters, but I was determined to make it the whole way. The day just kept going and it felt like I was getting slower. At one of the road crossings I met a nice woman who looked a lot like Julie; could have been her twin. Anyway, she asked me if I wanted a cookie. She was finishing up a section hike, so I said sure. She gives me a full bag of cookies. That really lifted my spirits. After she drove away I ate the whole bag. Still many miles to go. Around 9 pm, just about the time to get the headlamp on, I meet the Graland 5 family again, all hiking the AT together. I talked with them a little while as it got darker and darker. I got going again with just 3 miles to go. I had a big climb left but it went by fast. I did fall in the mud once. I got to the shelter and there were about 9 other people, most still awake. I was surprised since it was 10 pm and most are asleep by now. Got some water, ate some food and now it’s off to bed for an early start to Hanover and out of the muddy state of Vermont. A big 33.4 miles today, one of my biggest and hardest days.