I wake up at 5:45 and bring Sherman under the quilt from between my feet. We snuggle and wake up an hour later. Sherman gets up and goes over to greet Ric and Lyn.
Yesterday morning as we were setting out to hike I saw that Sherman was shaking as we left to hike. This morning I try another strategy. I leave the bed and quilt out for him to curl up on until I’m ready to put everything in the pack. No shivering. It is also warmer this morn, so, no confirmation that it was the changed order of packing. This change makes no time difference in getting packed and on the trail, so I’ll continue it as a matter of course. Your welcome, Sherman.

The trail is mostly gradual up and down grades. A few steep sections.
This tree has been hollowed out and shredded by a bear looking for insects.
We stop here to fill up with water. I am so amazed at the magic of water in the wild…
On a break. Sherman has just barked at something in the woods that I cannot hear or see. He does this a few times a day. Whatever it is never comes into view. I have to assume that’s a good thing. A wonderful contribution to our journey from dogland.

The trail as it runs for a couple miles along a lower ridge line.
I keep Sherman on the leash all day today to see how his energy is at the end of the day. Yesterday, when we finished he lay down and went to sleep. An hour later he got up to eat and visit with the others at the shelter and then went back to sleep. He was obviously tired. If I hiked about 12 miles, he may have gone 18 miles with his back and forth on the trial, plus his other adventures off the trail. This difference in mileage is one of the reasons that many people who frequently do long hikes with their dogs recommend they stay on leash most of the time.
I’m listening to a biography of Abigail Adams. An amazing woman. She was a continual stand for women owning separate property, for the education of girls and women, for women having a responsive voice to the politics of the day. She wrote a letter to her husband, John, while he was at the Contennental Congress saying Don’t Forget the Ladies. She wanted it written into the new Articles of Confederation that it was illegal for men to physically and sexually abuse women. She owned he own property. Speculated in the stock and bond market. Sold imported goods from Europe during the war. She died a wealthy woman. Wrote her own will, even though it was illegal that she do so, with one of her son’s as the implementer of her wishes. Her husband, John Adams, President of US #2, assisted her in a couple financial moves to make her wishes possible.
I was listening to a bio of Openheimer, but it wasn’t engaging yet. So, I’ll return to it later.
We arrive at Ralston Rest Shelter for lunch at 3:10. Six hours. The guide says 5.25 hours. Not bad with our many breaks. I offer Sherman food. His dog food and salmon from a pouch. He does’t want either. When our 20 minute lunch break is done, we head south toward Tucker-Johnson.
It’s been many days since the sky has been such a blue…
The trail skirts a house sized boulder.
I love these huge boulders with trees growing on them. They just pull me in… POW!
What the trail looks like today.
A very cool example of moss covering up milky quartz. Not sure why it needs to be kept a secret. The moss knows…
On a break I look down and see this. I initially think it’s sorrel. But it doesn’t have a reddish underside. Can it be clover? In the VT forest?
There are many small streams flowing here. Also many dry ones. The trail is the easiest yet.
On a rest break. I find the second tick of the hike crawling on Sherman’s hair as we get up to hike on.
What the trail looks like in this section. Now THIS is a walk in the woods!
Leaf painting.
I don’t know this tree species. When I first saw them, I thought it was diseased. But, there are many, many of them with branches full of leaves. I find the bumpy tree skin a bit creepy…
As we cross a dirt road, there are these wild flowers that have been protected from the frost.
And these berries.

And this wild rose.
It feels like we are close to the Shelter area so I check the GPS map. It says we’ve passed it. Hmmmmm. We turn around, and watching the GPS map, backtrack to where it says the shelter area is. Nothing but thick woods. Then I remember that the map on Earthmate is an old map and has been wrong before on camp locations. So we go back in our original direction and continue for another 10 min and discover the camp location. It’s now a tenting site. The shelter burnt down in 2011 and hasn’t been rebuilt yet. The GMC keeps running out of funds before they get down the checklist this far.
It took us 2.5 hours to get here. We arrive about 6, which leaves me 30-45 min of light to setup.
Another hiker arrives at dark. Sunny. He’s doing the LT north. He did the AT two years ago.
Sunny found out he has MS about 10 years ago. For the first few years he did all the recommended medications, was angry and afraid. Then he chose to live. He now has 3 children. He smokes weed for his leg pain instead of the prescribed opiate pain meds. And he started hiking. He’s having a life he loves instead of a life of fear. I share about my similar journey with cancer.
We talk about the initiation that a life threatening illness can bring to the heart-mind. A complete re-evaluation of one’s life. In a weird way it becomes the greatest gift. The gift of life.
Sherman and I sleep very well. Makes me question staying in Shelters with other people. It’s not the people, it’s the snorers…