Put on our red/white and blue, had breakfast, packed things up and headed out. Another 10 miles today. Ponytail doesn't want to push me(thank goodness),since I am not conditioned like him.
We went through a small corridor of bogs bridges. They weren't needed right now due to the lack of water. Dirt so dry it is cracking. Much like yesterday parts of the trail very overgrown and had to watch your footing under the grass for rocks that were sticking up. Topped Warner Hill. Pretty views of Mount Graylock and the town of Dalton. It was really cool to see the town you were going to be hiking into. The AT goes right down one of the streets. The next 4 miles I swear all I thought of was a burger, fries and a soda. Think we even picked up our pace a bit to get there faster. Can't imagine 95 days of hiking and thinking of that every time you saw a town. That is how many days Ponytail has been on the trail enduring this.
We also went over Day mnt's ridge top. No views but there was a pretty bridge going over a brook.
Didn't see but 5 day hikers all day today on the trail ahead of us. Guess being a holiday most people are at BBQ's.
We were coming to the end of the trail(before pavement walking) and we came across some trail magic. Someone kindly left some sodas and ice teas on the trail. Thank you everyone that has ever given trail magic. All the hikers really appreciate it. They even left a trash bag so you could dispose of the cans and any other trash you may have had.
We finished out soda and then proceeded on across the railroad tracks down over to Depot Street. That is when we met Tom. A true trail Angel. He welcomed us in and gave us ice cream. It did say in Ponytail’s book that we were able to use the spigot and tent there, but what we received was far more.
After the ice cream w/Tom and Wee Nail(a thru-hiker from Alabama), Tom invited us to stay the night in his house. Said we could use the shower(he provides towels), do laundry (he would wait a bit to see if more hikers came so he could do a full load - Get this he even has extra clothes for people to wear) AND we could stay for dinner.
After talking a bit he knew that our car was in another town because we had spotted it the day before. So, he offered to take us to it. Must have been about 1/2hr away. He is just genuinely kind. Didn’t know many of those people still existed on earth.
By the time PTD and I got back (Tom did say dinner was at 6pm) there were 11 more thru-hikers. All would be spending the night, showering and having dinner w/us. Tom says he has been taking in the thru-hikers for about 30 years. He really loves helping people and listening to their stories. The AT goes right by the front of his house.
We had spaghetti, meatballs and sausage, corn on the cob, baked beans, hot dogs and bread. How he had enough food for all is beyond me(he didn’t know that there would be 14 of us that night). Guess after so many years he can estimate. Very calm and organized. Now if we were hosting dinner for 14 at the last minute you know there would be some panicking going on.
After dinner Tom and I (being the only ones that weren’t thru-hiking) cleaned up and did the dishes. All the others gathered on the grassy area in front of the house in the shade and told trail stories. Very interesting to hear.
Later on Tom offered to take anyone to the fireworks that wanted to go. He had several takers. The rest of us stayed back at the house and watched Me, You and Irene till the fireworks started. You could see some of them from his porch.
What a nice surprise for the 4th of July. Will remember Tom and our the experience for years to come. Tom, if you read this THANK YOU again.
We hiked 9.6 miles – Getting hotter as the day went on. You could feel the humidity.
Fashion statement he is not! Bugs were bad, so this is how he copes so they don't buzz his ears.
Tom after setting the table
Part of the crew eating dinner