I wake at 5:45 to watch the sunrise develop from bed.
Today is a race with the rain. There are weather forecasts that say rain starting as early as 1pm and other saying at 4pm. We’re hiking with Queen and Timber.

They start at 7:30. We start at 8:10. Our initial target is 4.6 miles. Goddard Shelter. When we get there, we’ll re-evaluate and either stay or push on. First we go over Glastenbury Mountain.
fullsizeoutput_24a1 On the top is this sign. How can a trail me One-Way? Or, is it really to keep us away from the intense covering of lichen in the trees?
fullsizeoutput_24a2And again, there’s on view from the top. And again, there’s a fire tower. And again, it’s all clouded in.
Sherman and I pass Queen and Timber on the trail and arrive at 10. They arrive about 15 minutes later. We choose to push on. The skies don’t look like rain at present. And if the forecast for 2 or 4 is correct, we’ll just beat it. Queen and i head out first. Timber wants to get some water from the creek. And, we hike faster than he does.
I haven’t talked about this yet… There’s a common hiking phrase, “Hike your own hike.” This allows people of very different skills, intentions, ages, beliefs, etc. to be a fluid community. Coming together during breaks, overnight, or just to walk together for awhile, then to individuate and hike their own hike. I find it a good guide for life in general. We may be on a similar path, but we’re all doing it alone. Alone – Together.
We’re making great time. Sherman is off leash and having a great time. (I use a hands-free leash that has a circle around my waist with two attachments. One has as leash on it. The other is so I can wrap the leash around my waist and clip it in place.)
fullsizeoutput_24a6 Sherman on a break.
fullsizeoutput_24a5Queen on a break.
Then at 1, it starts to sprinkle. We come to and cross Hell Hollow Brook. I wondered where that Brook was. As we started the trail south from Manchester there was a sign that said WARNING: Hell Hollow Brook bridge is out. May require a dangerous river crossing or necessitate turning around. Today the rocks provide an easy way to cross the river.
fullsizeoutput_24afQueen crossing Hell Hollow Brook with her hiking umbrella.
By 1:30, it’s a constant penetrating rain. I have on my raincoat. Sherman wouldn’t wear his raincoat, so I left it a Bob and Chris’. Now, I’m second guessing myself. He’s not happy. I put him back on his leash. In about an hour the rain has penetrated to his skin and he’s cold. He wants to slow down which will only make him colder. So, I put both hiking poles in one hand and take his leash in the other. I’m having to pull him gently to get him to walk with me. He wants to stop. But stopping is not an option. There’s no where to stop. The shelter is about a mile ahead. After keeping enough tension on the leash that he walks with me for about 15 minutes he seems to have warmed up and he rushed out front agains, leading our walk. We get to the shelter at 2:15
My first task is to get him as dry as possible and figure out a strategy to get him warmed up and dry. I take off his pack. He shakes and shakes the water off if him. Then rubs all over the bed platform. When he slows down a bit, I have one towel that I stole from the motel in Manchester. It gets him dry to the point that he’s not wet. He’s now very damp. I get out the moisture barrier I have for when he’s wet to protect the quilt and wrap it around him. He likes it. So, I leave him with Queen while I go back into the rain to the stream to get water. When I return he’s sitting up looking out the shelter into the woods. I change from my wet clothes into my only dry ones — my sleeping clothes.
I sit by the table, put the moisture barrier on my lap, put Sherman on my lap and cover him up. He curls up. In 10 minutes he’s very warm. I open up the package and let out the steam and let his warmth drive off a little water. When his fur cools off, I cover him up again. We go through this cycle more than a dozen times. By the end he’s a slightly moist dog. He’s hungry and eats. Then I sit on my bed and curl him up against my legs on the barrier. I cover and uncover him a few more times and he’s dry except his head which he always left out as he curled up. The whole process takes about 3 hours.
fullsizeoutput_24b3Sleeping and all snuggled in, dry and warm. A happy hiker dog.
The weather report is for rain starting again tomorrow afternoon lasting for 3-4 days with possible periods of snow flurries a couple times on the weekend. I write to Bob and Chris asking them to come get us in Bennington tomorrow. We need to get dry. So, i the morning Sherman and i will hike the 1.5 files to VT 9 and hitch hike or cab it to a laundromat to get all our stuff dry. Then we’ll hang out until Bob and Chris make it down to pick us up.
When the weather breaks, I’ll drive back to Williamsville, MA and leave the van at a motel. Get a ride back to the trailhead on VT 9 and hike the last 15 miles to the end of with trail. Sound crazy to jus not stop here? Maybe. But the trail is not done until it’s done. A pot is not done until it’s fired and the bottom’s been cleaned and smoothed out. A concert is not complete until the last song has been sung. Same.
So it is… Two dry beings going to sleep.