The alarm sounds at 6:30am. Want to be at the Post Office by 8:30 AM when it opens. I gather everything and arrange it in easily packable piles. I empty the backpack except for an almost empty food bag and another bag with items to be mailed to Bob and Chris. Sherman and I head for the Price Chopper grocery store. It’s about a 30 minute walk. I buy some more tuna in foil packets, 3 liter sized Smart Water bottles and some bite size Snickers and Hershey bars. Now, we’re off to the post office. About a 15 minute walk.
There are 3 neon maple trees in the parking lot in front of the post office.I get some good photos with the sunlight coming through them.

fullsizeoutput_242dI love these colors! The set my whole body vibrating. I wonder if they’d have the same effect if trees were always this color? The green pines are stunning when they are the minority mixed in with their brilliant red, orange, yellow neighbors…
There are three boxes for us at the post office. The resupply one I originally shipped general delivery. Another resupply I had sent general delivery to Bennington that I called and asked be forwarded to Manchester Center, The saving us another resupply stop, and a box of things I thought I might need I asked Bob and Chris to send. Takes about an hour to sort through all of this, take what we need, pack up but we don’t need and send it back to Bob and Chris’s.
Now we need to get the trailhead. I call the phone number I have for a local taxi. He says $25 to pick us up at the post office, take us to the motel where I will load my pack, and take us to the trailhead. I say OK and check about Sherman. He says no dogs. I tell him he’s only 15 pounds, doesn’t shed, and will sit on my lap. He says OK.
He picks us up in about 10 minutes. Drops us at the motel where I quickly pack up everything with speed being the primary consideration instead of efficiency use of space. Sherman decides that he’s hungry and starts eating. He obviously has no concern about the taxi driver waiting. A good lesson… He’s just doing what he needs to do. Period! Then we head to the trailhead. He drives past it, then turns around and drops us off. I give him $30.
I repack some of my stuff and put Sherman’s pack on him. He stands still and resists walking. His pack is the heaviest it’s been. He slowly walks with me toward the trail. I feel sorry for him and unzip each side of his pack and take a handful of his food out and throw it into the woods. This brings the weight down to where it feels to me what the prior high weight was. He seems to agree and we walks on.
Today is an easy hike. About a 3 miles to Spruce Peak Shelter. The trail is a beautiful meandering pointillist painting on a 3D canvas. At one point it remember driving through the plains of Canada where I got into a zone where I felt like I was driving through a vast abstract painting.
fullsizeoutput_242f I have such appreciation and gratitude for the thousands of volunteers who built these trails and keep them maintained and updated. Having clear directional signs in the middle of the woods is quite amazing. I’ve kept a log of problems on the trail to share with the GMC when we’re done. I have maybe 2 dozen places where marking is not clear or a new tree has fallen and blocked the trail. Stuff like that. Out of the 10s of thousands of items they manage: blazes, signs, bridges, bog bridges, shelters, etc. my problem spots are minuscule. Thank you GMC. Big gratitude energy wave…
fullsizeoutput_2431 The trail now looks like this much of the time. Initially the growing leaf cover was disconcerting. It felt like my clues and bearings were being buried. Now it’s become a comfortable blanket. The sense of the trail has gotten softer and much more subtle. It’s become a whisper in the body. A quiet movement of the heart.
fullsizeoutput_2434 The occasional white blaze of reassurance. Yes… this is the way…
The trees becoming bare allows the surrounding hills and mountains to be visible. No longer hiking in “The Green Tunnel”
We got to the shelter about 1pm. Spruce Peak Shelter is a 4 sided shelter. It has a sliding door to close us all in. And it has a reputation for night time mice play.
There is a couple there who had also spent the night in Manchester. Queen and Timber. Wonderful connection. Sherman loved them. And they him.
As I unpack and organize our stuff I feed Sherman. He eats again.
Another hiker arrives late afternoon. Fine Line. She’s hiking the Appalachian Trail south. She’s very funny and open hearted. Sherman likes her immediately.
We have a wonderful afternoon in the woods. Relaxing and talking. I feed Sherman again about 6 and he eats again. Oh, oh… Was it a mistake to throw that food away at the trailhead? Has hiker-hunger finally hit Sherman? I have to watch his food intake and save the 4 tuna packs I have for him. Definately don’t want to run out of dog food.
Sleep calls us all about 7:30. I occasionally hear what sounds like mice on the other side of the shelter. Sherman does his job of keeping the mice away from us just by being there.