Day 109 – Sunday, June 26: Stealth Camp (Red Trail) to Stony Brook, 23.3 miles, 1,474.3 total AT miles.

I woke up around 6:00am feeling great – whatever tore my stomach up had passed. I had cell service as I was fairly close to town and decided to send a few quick emails from inside my tent. My keyboard is officially done – I typed on my screen and grew very frustrated at my inability to write quickly.

I ate a few protein bars before exiting my tent. I packed quickly, taking my tent down at roughly the same time as Greyhound. We hiked north knowing we were getting closer to crossing into Connecticut. I like crossing states off the list, a huge sense of accomplishment.

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The terrain was nice and we made good time. I ran across trail magic (a banana and a soda) right before hitting the Connecticut border. I paused with Greyhound and a pair of section hikers and took a few pictures.

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The terrain ahead looked relatively easy – it was 9:00 and I had already covered five miles. Greyhound lived up to her namesake and took off ahead. I lingered to make a quick phone call before hiking on. I crossed the Ten Mile River at 10:00am and didn’t let up.

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Kent, CT lay eight miles ahead – I remember reading about Kent, that it was a nice, little town. I hustled along, enjoying the nice weather. Right before I hit the trailhead at CT 341, I found a cooler hiding in the bushes. I unclipped my hip belt, grabbed a cold drink, and walked over to a group of hikers that were mulling next to a few parked vans.

I saw Greyhound sitting by a cluster of trucks parked on the side of the road. As I walked over, the smell of burgers filled the air. I waved at Greyhound and looked over at the grill. To my surprise, Owl was providing trail magic to us thru-hikers! I hadn’t seen him since Damascus, VA or hiked with him since Hot Springs, NC. It was nice catching up with him.

I left my pack with Greyhound and made the short walk into town. Kent was nice indeed. I grabbed some snacks from a gas station and enjoyed a cold drink in the shade. There were a lot of bikers in town and every single restaurant seemed packed. As I made the quick walk back to the trailhead, I spoke with Champa – Savage, McDoubles and himself were taking a zero at a hostel (of sorts) run by a family friend. They’re staying tomorrow night as well and he wanted to know if I wanted to stay. All I’d have to do is finish today strong and have another decent day tomorrow – I’ll get a free shower and place to stay. I made it back to the trailhead at 2:30.

More hikers had arrived to enjoy the trail magic in my absence. I chatted with a few guys, but became increasingly aware that I still needed to hike another eight miles or so before stopping. It seemed like most of the other hikers were content with staying next to the grill. I approached Greyhound – she wanted to make more miles and was ready to go. The two of us set off at 3:00pm.

We stopped at St. Johns Ledges at 5:30 to enjoy the view before decided to press three more miles towards Stewart Hollow Brook Shelter. Greyhound almost exclusively stays in or tents near shelters. Last night’s stealth camp was an anomaly for her. I convinced her to press the extra mile and camp near Stony Brook. We set up camp and had a quick dinner.

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I told her about Champa, Savage and McDoubles staying at the hostel and asked if she wanted to join. Her face lit up – she seemed excited. I guess a detour off trail wasn’t in her immediate plans and she jumped at the offer. We stayed up kind of late talking again and decided to get an early start tomorrow.

* * *

Black Santa is leaving Brooklyn tomorrow afternoon – he wants to get back on trail and start catching up. I estimate he’ll be about 40 miles behind when we both set up camp tomorrow – he’ll be stealth camping and I’ll be staying at the hostel with Savage, Champa, McDoubles and Greyhound. He feels better too, by the way.

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

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