06:52. Meeting Little Bear of Chicago
Tony’s Deli was quite an experience. It had rained for more than six hours the day before while I was hiking so just about everything I had was wet. The need to get inside the Deli for warmth and food was great. I squished when I walked and my hands were so wet I couldn’t open a drink bottle. Luckily my sleeping bag had stayed dry so I at least warmed once in it. We were allowed to set up our tents outside the Deli for $2.00. 50 feet on one side was a U.S. Highway complete with an excessive number of 18 wheelers. About the same distance on the other side was a train track. All night passenger trains were whizzing by each time blasting the horn as it passed. It was so close I could feel the wind off the train as it roared by. Hawkeye was in a hammock and he even experienced not only the breeze but was actually rocked by the force of the passage.
Little Bear was in the drum line for the Chicago Bears for several years so her name is related to the football team. For the last 7 years she has been a flight attendant for United.
07:38-07:44. There was a Crooked Man
I actually managed to keep up with Hawkeye most of this day. Initially we hiked through several fields that were still very much being used as farm land. The countryside was beautiful albeit wet. By now both of my boots are compromised. I can see my left foot through the top of the boot, there is no tread and the sides are torn away by the rocks. If there is one blade of wet grass out here it’s gonna find a way to my foot.
08:53. The Hole Story
I won’t say that when I’m not hiking I don’t notice things. Martha Roberts, the Dali Lama of hiking, has always called me Grasshopper because I evidently seek knowledge like the Kung Fu character on TV years ago. That’s another way of saying I can be nosy.
But out here you seem to notice more… small things… Interesting things….. insignificant things……sometimes you even stick your head in them.
09:53. The Owl of Wingdale, New York
Hawkeye and I were busy trudging along when suddenly there was a thunderous sound of wings taking flight. He saw it well before me since I was in my normal mode of memorizing my feet. He got a great view of a huge owl as it flew about 100 feet and then perched on a nearby tree. You’ll have to take my word for it….the black blob in the picture is actually an owl.
10:12. Trail Magic Never Gets Old
Minutes later we came upon a road….and trail Magic. We never need prompting here although I notice that Hawkeye tends to select the healthier options. It’s not that I don’t scarf up a good orange on occasion… I just tend to select the soft drink with a bit of a bite while he shies away from those. I guess that’s why his teeth are happier than mine.
10:48. New York’s Last Hurrah! A Broken Bridge
We had not seen a soul on this day until we came upon a solitary male sitting on this bridge above a creek reading a book. The only sound was that of the water running below his feet. Unlike the troll who would not let anyone pass over his bridge he invited us across with fair warning that it was more than compromised. The support beam on the right was gone so Hawkeye ventured forth on the left offering to be the sacrificial lamb. After all….. you can’t always trust a troll. I offered to wait until he was safely across before I added my weight to the endeavor….. he sarcastically thanked me… the crossing was uneventful…… the troll kept reading…. we had interrupted his musing.
11:27. Welcome to Connecticut
Not far from there we passed into the region of my birth…. New England…. the State of Connecticut. I have virtually hiked the mileage to my original home several times…. but this time I was actually accomplishing it.
12:56. The Housatonic River, Sherman, Connecticut
We first came upon Ten Mile River but it soon dumped into the Housatonic River. This bridge was our access across Ten Mile to the continuation of the AT along the Housatonic.
13:07. Time to Chill
It was a blistering hot day and because we are imperfect humanoids whereas not long ago we were complaining of being wet…. we were now complaining of being hot and craving water. Or maybe we were just realizing that we were stinking up the pristine forest.
I saw it before I heard any clue. Hawkeye had an obsessive interest in finding a break in the foliage between the trail and the river. Finally he stopped. There designed just for him was a trail to the water’s edge. He lit up…. there was a gleam in his eyes….”I’m going in”!!!!! The next thing I knew his pack and clothing was in a pile on the bank of the Housatonic.
13:27. Leaving it on the Shore
I had no choice….. pure peer pressure overwhelmed me although I do remember at least glancing back to the trail to make sure that there was not an order of nuns or an elementary school class trip wandering by before I disrobed. I must admit that it felt wonderful! I even rubbed some dirt off.
A bird dive bombed us a few times until Hawkeye realized that it was a bat. He comes by his trail name honestly. Like the owl he noticed the bat first although I must say that I would probably noticed the nuns or elementary school children first.
13:48. The Housatonic River in South Kent, Connecticut
Not far above us the river became wild and scenic. We had selected the best place to bare our souls.
14:16. Hawkeye at Covered Bridge Leading Into Bulls Bridge, Connecticut
There was need to resupply so we hiked an extra half mile and crossed the Housatonic on this covered bridge into the Village of Bull’s Bridge. It was a one store town. But it was a prep wrapped chicken sandwich town and that was good enough for me.
14:18 Our Resupply in Bulls Bridge
As usual I selected a soft drink…. more than likely a Root Beer… he went for something like a tea…. or Gatorade. I felt the guilt overwhelmingly me…… well…… not really.
16:49. This Be Connecticut
So this was Connecticut. At least here along the river flatter…. friendlier…. green….. not a nun or elementary school in site although quite a few Mercedes and BMW’s had begun to appear. Their drivers seemed to take notice of our homeless appearance. I regretted that I didn’t have a tin cup to offer in a subservient manner.
17:18. A Reminder of Who Shares the Trails with Us
We finally wandered away from the river and back to the forest. The trail meandered back into New York one more time for two miles because we had missed one more rattlesnake and there was a cliff or two and a ledge that the AT wanted us to see.
By the end of the day we finally settled in Connecticut once and for all. I couldn’t pronounce it but I could sleep on it….. deeply!