Day 162: Mile 1670.1 | Stealth Campsite near Blue Blaze to Old Job Shelter
We finally followed through. My alarm clock went off at 4:55am. In the dark, I gathered my belongings and packed up. I ate a ProBar as I waited for Miles to finish packing. We set out together, him in front, guided by headlamps. Soon, a faint glow began to light our way ahead. Eventually we came to a grassy, open ski trail and the AT lead us the last half mile to the summit of Bromley. We sat on the deck of the chair lift and at our breakfast. I got my sleeping bag out and put on both my puffy coat and my rain coat. The morning air had a chill to it.
We sat together, content, and waited for the sun to rise. A few other hikers who were camped at the top of the mountain began to stir and they came out to watch too. Groggy eyed, we watched the sky turn from deep blue to a lighter blue and then, vibrantly, the sun filled the sky with the most beautiful layers of warm color. There were few clouds and the clear sunrise was awe inspiring.
After the sunrise we meandered on. Miles kept a better pace than me so I let him go ahead while I took my time over Styles' Peak. I had very little food and motivation left. Our hope was to get into Rutland tomorrow morning. As long as we had less than 17 miles left to get into town the next morning I felt comfortable, though. I passed some older male hikers who had been leapfrogging Miles and I for about a week now. We chatted about the weather and they asked where my companion was. I let them know he was ahead of me and I was hoping to catch him soon.
About 16 miles into the day I still felt good but I stopped for a snack at Big Branch Shelter, after crossing a very cool bridge. It amazed me how quickly I could complete 16 miles when I got up early. It was nice, but I knew I wouldn't be so happy getting up in the cold and the dark every day. They stopped me and told me my "boyfriend" (they'd never learned his trail name) was back at the last shelter. They thought they saw his tent set up there. I didn't want to leave him in case he didn't have enough food to get to Rutland, so I went back to the last shelter.
What I thought was the blue blaze to the last shelter, the Old Job Shelter, turned out to be a two mile trail to an older shelter that was no longer in use. About a half mile in I stopped and gathered some water from a clear stream, the river closer to the trail wasn't as clear. I sat and filtered it while I looked at the guidebook. I realized this blue blaze was a much longer side trail than I thought and if Miles wasn't at the other end of it I felt like it would be a waste of two extra miles. So after I filled up my water, I went back toward the AT.
I didn't feel like going back to the last shelter, two miles back, and I decided to stealth camp within view of the trail so that I could see him coming. I was tired after waking up so early and I didn't mind stopping even though it was only 1pm. So few people had my tent that I knew Miles would know it was me when he saw it. I carried my four liters of water back to a flat spot nearby the junction of the Old Job blue blaze and the AT. As I staked in my tent I heard some trekking poles clicking. It wasn't Miles, though. Once I had almost set up my tent he finally came around the corner!
He told me he was back at the Lost Pond shelter, two miles back, using the privy but he had never set up his tent. Those guys were mistaken. He asked how far we'd gone, I told him, and we decided to set up here for the night. In the afternoon sun, I dried out my muddy shoes and socks and lounged in my tent. The river nearby was such a beautiful sound and this campsite was so flat.
Miles went to go get his water on that blue blaze I had gone down and another girl who decided to camp nearby went with him. We all went to bed early, it was still light out! I finally caught up on my sleep.