Day 61

Lucy and I are ready to go by 8:30 and we coordinate with Julie to drop Lucy’s car off 8 miles down the trail so she can drive back to Greenfield. I will continue another 6 miles and get picked up at the next road crossing. We’re slackpacking today and I’m always grateful for the opportunity to trade in my 25 pound pack for a lightweight day pack. After dropping Lucy’s car, Julie dropped us off in downtown Hanover at about 10 o’clock where the trail passing straight through. It weaves its way through town and past the Co-op where Lucy found her fermentation company’s (Real Pickles) products and then on the edge of the athletic fields of Dartmouth College.

Almost immediately after the fields, we stepped into a pine forest with a trail that started climbing up and up over moss covered boulders. We climbed about 900 feet to the peak of Velvet Rocks but there was no view so we stopped for a snack and continued back down. Passing though a bog with a boardwalk. Lucy commented on the old falling down rock walls and the history of the land use in the area as sustainable farms of which the forest has reclaimed. Around mile 7 we were both overheating and tired. To avoid grumpy hiking we stopped for another snack and brainstormed silly songs to keep us entertained until we reached Lucy’s car about 3:30pm.

I said a sad goodbye to Lucy and stepped back into the woods alone. I’m not sure when we’ll meet back up again. I’m thankful Lucy has been willing to do so much driving to join me for short hikes between busy work weeks. I started a steep climb up Moose Mountain. I passed several hikers down below at the creek setting up tents for the night. I got an unexpected second wind and charged up to the summit to see a decent view at the top. I continued the ridge walk passing a vacant shelter. No one there yet for the night. Probably won’t be anyone since the water source there has dried up. After passing though a pine forest at the top I began the final decent of the day reaching Goose Pond Road at 6:15. Julie’s daughter JJ drove up to pick me up about 6:30. JJ had just returned from a 2-month trip in the Alaskan backcountry leading students on outdoor adventures for the summer. I return to a home cooked meal and good company before crashing for another night of good sleep in a soft bed. Back to the tent tomorrow night. I’m so grateful for Julie’s generosity and hospitality as I’ve been passing through the area.

Miles: 1749.8 – 1763.8 (14)

Total: 663.4