As the temperatures climbed into triple digits we became familiar with the tingling sensations of borderline heat exhuastion. Huffing up to the peak of any mountain produced a stream of sweat that poured down elbows, body crevices, faces, and salted the earth. Clothes soaked through completely with the brine of mountain climbing.
We took breaks about every five miles or so and siestad during the peak heating ours. Soaked clothes came off and brown nastiness was wrung out of the hiker-infused fabrics.
Hydration was not enough to keep us alive. We were losing electrolytes and becoming fatigued. Our drink mixes and space age orange kick in a glass Tang helped keep us on our feet. We lunched in proximity to nature's AC: swiftly flowing creeks and streams and shade. And then an angel came out from a mirage and blessed us with sensational trail magic. Muffins was first to our lunch location at Whakey Lake Stream (1436.6) near a road. There, he met Nurse Betty.
Nurse Betty is a fit 75 year old trail angel who walks to the top of a nearby hill on the trail and back for excercise. Her and Muffins got to taking on the bridge over the stream. She asked the magic words, "Do you need anything? I am going to work soon and will be back this way." Muffins didn't even have to think about it. "Cold drinks and fruit would be awesome," he replied.
Off she went. Mr. Dallas and Still Don't arrived and Muffins shared the good news. "I met this awesome 75 year old lady, and she said she was coming back with some magic for us soon." Soaked and still in the haze of exertion, Mr. Dallas leaned over his poles and uttered a profound, "Sweetness," and parked on a cool mossy boulder.
About 25 minutes later she came out of the woods toting a couple cooler bags. "I have more in the car if you want to give me a hand," she said as she handed off the goodies to Mr. Dallas and Still Don't. Muffins went with her and returned with a rolling cooler. She asked us our names and hurried off to work telling us to just leave everything and she would be back for it later. We thanked her profusely.
In the cooler bags were bags of ice, coca cola in glass bottles, Naked fruit smoothie drinks, oranges and carrots, and an US magazine full of hot ladies. It was precisely what we needed and a rapid recharge of energy.
Mr. Dallas filled his water resevoir with ice. It was like a cool compress on his back as the coldness soaked through his pack. Mr. Dallas packed it all up and brought it up to the road about .1 miles away. He went back and grabbed his pack and moved on up the trail. The cooler and bags were gone when he returned not even three minutes later. Strange.
Before long we were through NJ and NY and into CT where seemingly only the rich and well to do congregate. A burger and a single pint of IPA in Falls Village will run you about $22. It may be a good burger and pint, but my my that's a steep price to pay for a gang of hikertrash such as we are.
Tragedy struck unlike lightning in the same place twice. In Kent, CT, Still Don't discovered that his tripod was missing an essential knob that had somehow come unscrewed and vanished. After being put through the customer service ringer he may or may not have a new part $9 and three weeks later. For now, a leather strap and tightly tied bandana are all that is keeping him shooting at night. Improvise or die.
Also in CT, there was a raging river. On the other side of it was a party hosted by Columbians and Dominicans. They waved Muffins and Still Don't down and beckoned them to join. On his way accross the river water was splashing all over Muffins and his pack. Some of it wetted its way through his "waterproof" camera housing. The Canon G1x took on a couple drops and croaked. Disaster of the highest order. Muffins is crushed and morning the loss.
Mr. Dallas came up the party. Looked at the river, and then back at the party, and then back at the river. He hesitated for a minute and walked on away from the party intimidated by the rushing current.
And so we celebrated 1500 miles with busted gear, empty pockets, and a cold front that brought rain and 55 degree lows to Riga shelter mere miles from MA. Four states remain.