Day 121 – Friday, July 8: Little Rock Pond to Governor Clement Shelter, 19.7 miles, 1,690.2 total AT miles.

I woke up to dampness everywhere. My tent didn’t leak – nothing seeped in from below. I was still soaked from trying to set it up in the rain the night before. Greyhound’s tent fared worse – she had a few puddles seep in. I put on wet clothes and started packing up. We were hiking north by 7:30am.

At 9:00am, we came across a field of stone cairns. Black Santa hates cairns. A brief spat of destruction ensued. I couldn’t stop laughing – the only other person present was a startled day-hiker who kept repeating “Oh no!” over and over again. There was another field of stone cairns a mile or so away – Black Santa went easy on these.

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After all that rain the night prior, the trail was beautiful. I ran across a Red Eft – some sort of a salamander. I’ve been seeing these guys intermittently since North Carolina.

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It was 12:30pm, we had already hiked 12 miles on the day, and the sun was starting to shine. We crossed the Clarendon Gorge and headed down VT 103 towards a restaurant listed in the AT Guide. We came across Qu’s, a little place located close to the trail head. The owners were super accommodating – they gave us drying racks to let us take up their front lawn.

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We sat on the patio and ordered lunch – I ate wings and the meatloaf dinner. The food was exceptional. They gave me so much meatloaf and mashed potatoes, I ended up having enough leftovers for dinner. After about an hour of relaxing on the porch and enjoying our meals, we started packing up our now-dry tents – my socks had even dried out a bit.

Black Santa borrowed the owners van to make a quick run to the local market – when he returned, the three of us set off. I checked my phone before entering the woods – more rain was forecast for tonight. At least my tent is dry now – that’s truly the important thing.

The three of us were looking forward to hitting another AT milestone – at some point this evening, we should be less than 500 miles away from Katahdin. After a few tough ascents leaving Qu’s, we finally started making good time again on the level terrain. And at 7:00pm, we hit the mark – only 500 miles left in this crazy adventure.

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Black Santa sped off towards camp – Greyhound and I lagged behind. When we arrived it was getting dark and looking like it might rain. Black Santa was set up in front of the shelter – and there weren’t any other campsites close. We ended up tenting behind the shelter – there was plenty of room for two tents.

After a delicious dinner of meatloaf and mashed potato sandwiches, I went to sleep. Today was tiring.

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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