Day 123 – Sunday, July 10: Stealth Camp (Killington, VT) to Wintturi Shelter, 16.0 miles, 1,720.7 total AT miles.

It got cold last night and stayed wet. I woke up and didn’t feel like moving – even with the cover provided by the porch, plenty of rain was falling through the slats. I sat in my sleeping bag and ate snacks, trying to get warm.

I finally got going at 8:00am, slowly packing up. We left our makeshift camp at 9:30. We were hiking slowly – it was cold and wet and the trail was a mess. At 11:00, we stopped at Thundering Falls for a quick break. The weather was starting to improve – and all the rain last night made for a pretty impressive display.

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We left the falls and ascended Quimby Mountain, our only real climb of the day. The forest was green and damp, but the weather was cool. After a slow start, it was quickly becoming a great day for hiking. We put our heads down and plowed forward. We assumed Black Santa was behind us – we just didn’t know how far.

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But Greyhound and I were making great time. After taking virtually no breaks all day, we stopped at The Lookout, a cabin with an observation deck on the roof. It was 5:30pm and we’d covered 14 miles on the day – not bad for such a late start.

The sun was intermittently shining through the clouds. I dropped my pack in front of cabin and immediately pulled my tent out to attempt to let it dry. It seems I’ve been doing this a lot lately. I spread my wet socks across warm stones and hung my jacket in a tree. The forecast said that this brief sunny spell wouldn’t last long.

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We decided to eat dinner there – we both cooked outside chatting with a section hiker on the front porch. I mixed a can of buffalo chicken into my pot full of queso Rice Side (my favorite combo so far). I suggested we take our meals up to the observation deck and eat dinner up there. The views were awesome – I could definitely see storms on the horizon.

We hurriedly ate and packed up – the tent wasn’t in bad shape at all. As we were leaving The Lookout, the rain threatened to start up again. But the trail was flatter than it’s been in a while – we started hustling to get to the Wintturi Shelter about three miles away. As soon as we see the sign for the side trail, the skies opened up. We ran down to the shelter and threw our packs inside. I quickly looked around – aside from another hiker already in their tent, we had the shelter to ourselves. Or at least until Black Santa and the group from the hostel shows up.

We found a clothesline and hung up our wet clothes – finally got a chance to put my clothespins to use. We waited around until dark before assuming no one else was going to make it down to the shelter. I hung up my half-dried tent and reorganized my backpack. The last four days of heavy rains have left everything permanently damp – even my external battery feels a little wet.

After eating a good pile of snacks, I finished organizing my backpack and began updating my AT Guide with notes from the past few days. I went to bed tired and kind of ready to get to Hanover, NH.

* * *

We should be arriving in Hanover on Tuesday morning. And, for the first time in a long time

Note: I’m running out of dry bandages for this burn. It still hasn’t completely scabbed over – at least it’s clean and not infected.

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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