Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Last Hike of 2011.... sniff sniff...

Sad, yes.  But, we have some great memories as we get all winter stiff from lack of hiking.   I just can't take early morning winter stiff from a tent, so BC closes up the hiking shop before the nights drop in the 20s.

The Keffer Oak greeted us as we enjoyed perfect fall weather and a 27 miler with youngest son, Adam.
Another big tree! 

We passed the massive Dover Oak in July in NY.

What a treat to spend hours hiking with our favorite Virginia Tech student! 

Ahhh... fall colors...

My two favorite men take a pack break before a fairly taxing climb. 
Ok, I really taxing climb. 
Cute Husband and I reached target heart rate as 20 year old Adam leapt from one boulder to another.
But, the sightseeing was worth the lung busting...

We crashed at the Sarver Hollow Shelter where Adam built a nice fire for us and the Southbounders who shared the shelter with us. 

The lovely couple who were Southbounding introduced us to "Hiker Butter", which is basically a jar of peanut butter that you eat from and constantly add new ingredients- such as marshmallow fluff, peanut M&Ms, pretzels.  CALORIES!

Hiking Happiness!
The next day led us up to the Audie Murphy Memorial.  Mr. Murphy was the most decorated soldier
of World War II and the memorial sits close to where he died tragically in an airplane accident in 1971. He earned and received every decoration for valor that this country had to offer plus 5 decorations presented to him by France and Belgium.

What an amazing man and hero. 

Cute guys check out the maps.
I enjoy the rest of this Planters delight...
Happy legs with mountain sun on his face.  The perfect hike!  We enjoyed a huge dinner at Cabo Fish Taco and crashed at Adam's apartment while he pulled an all nighter studying.  Thanks Buddy!
Cute Husband and I headed home the following day and enjoyed the most wonderful touristy stop on the way home...
A Blue Morpho at the Natural Bridge Butterfly Garden .  We remember these beautiful creatures from Costa Rica, where Warren proposed.  It was overwhelming when one actually landed on my hand.

No hiking boots here, but we did get to play tourist before the droves of other tourists descended on the Natural Bridge spectacle.

Here I am practicing my Ophelia Mad Scene. Act IV Scene V.

It is a crazy scenic place...

Thomas Jefferson actually owned this big piece of rock at one point.
Ok, Cute Husband, where to next?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We walked across Connecticut!

Cute Hubby and I have been itching to spend a week on the trail and the thought of walking across the state of Connecticut as we inched closer to our 800 miles on the trail mark was just too good to resist!

I love this picture Warren made of the view from the covered bridge in West Cornwall.  We spent the night at a popular hiker motel, The Hitching Post after a 6+ hour car ride to get us close to the trail.

Our shuttle driver took us to Pawling, New York to pick up the trail at the Dover Oak where we started hiking North.

Wow!  One big tree, two big back packs...
The last of the trail in New York goes through a marsh and we heard familiar birds such as a Common Yellowthroat calling from the reeds.
We did a pack adjustment at the the only train station on the AT.   Thru hikers often take advantage of this stop to head to the big Apple, but with temperatures in the 90s in the woods, we didn't find many queuing up for the opportunity to use public transportation.
Goodbye New York!

Hello Connecticut!
One of the most wonderful things about our CT hike was getting to spend time with some North bounders who were willing to slow down and hike with us to conserve energy in the heat.
Meet Brother of the Wind and Cool Shoes.  Cool Shoes is actually a South Bound section hiker who was about to complete her hike of MA and CT.   She is an amazing woman who teaches in South Carolina and survived a plane crash in the '90s.   We missed her the second we said goodbye. 

We kept running into Brother of the Wind over the next few days, and I am forever grateful for his lesson on the PCT method of bear bag hanging.
Warren checks out the beauty that is a Connecticut stream.

"Schaghticoke" (ska-ti-coke) means "the place where the river divides" in Mohegan, a Native American language. We passed through a reservation by the same name. 

The heat broke after we woke at Ten Mile River Lean To (our first lean to!) and the rain started.  

It drizzled, dripped and poured for the majority of the day, which made climbing down Saint Johns Ledges (AKA - a tremendous tumble of boulders) one of the biggest challenges of the hike.    

We were then rewarded with a clearing of the sky and a 2+ flat hike along the Housatonic River to the Stewart Hollow Lean To.   We caught up to Seven, PC, Moses and Gravity who were taking a short day due to the rain.

A fearless chipmunk watched us from a branch as we headed out the next day.
A very short next day, which included a shower, another night at the Hitching Post and lunch, dinner and breakfast at the Cornwall Country Store.... ice cream!   beer!   grinders!

After restocking and rehabbing for a night, we headed out for our longest day of the trip - 18 miles with good hiking weather and manageable terrain.

Somewhere along the way, we used our Murray beads and celebrated our 800th mile on the trail!

Sweaty packs resting.
We crossed the Housatonic River again - Connecticut is so beautiful!
We stumbled into Limestone Spring Lean to and decided against going down the cliff to camp at the shelter.   We found the perfect stealth camping spot and set up the traveling LoveNest as we hugged each other with pride at our accomplishment.

My mountain man....

I gave thanks for such fun at the Giant's Thumb on Raccoon Hill...

We walked through the outskirts of Cannan and ran into Gravity again as we prepared for the ascent up Bear Mountain.
The trail was a little harder and a little higher, but the views were nothing short of spectacular. 

I'm happy to be a few steps closer to Sages Ravine Brook Campsite and a few steps closer to taking my boots off.
Yup, more gorge-osity...
Cute Husband summits Bear Mountain...
The summit was cake compared to coming down the boulder pile that is Bear Mountain.
We walked across Connecticut!

The next morning we celebrated with oatmeal and coffee at Sages Ravine, enjoying the series of breathtaking cascades and small falls.

Hello Massachusetts!

We climbed over the challenging Race Mountain, which gave us a taste of the new state, and with great sadness at the near end of our adventure,  found our blue blaze to the car.
Race Brook Falls was a tortuous way to end the hike. 

The blue blaze to the car gave us various amazing views of the falls- making us pine for more hiking, but the trail was overused and steep and not AT mile countable.

I managed to fall in the creek with a 1/2 mile more of hiking.    Much better than falling in with 50 miles left to hike.

And, then because it was our vacation after all, we treated ourselves to a luxurious stay at the Manor House Inn.   The proprietor, Karl was kind enough to ignore our filth and smell.

Thanks Cute Husband for our Connecticut adventure - we did it!