NY 17A to William Brien Memorial Shelter – 21.7 miles
After breakfast at the hotel, we head back to the trail head and we say goodbye. These goodbyes do not get easier. Next week they will be at Bethany Beach and Ryder wants me to go with them. We explain that I can’t, but we will go to the beach when I get home. Lindsay and I stand embracing one another for a few minutes. I don’t think I will see them again before I finish this thing. That’s hard to think about since I still have 800 miles left.
About 10:15 AM, I start walking down the road to the trail crossing and turn left toward Maine.
Midday, I pass day hikers, two women and a man, hiking south. The gent asks if I am thru-hiking as one of the ladies exclaims, “Look at his legs!” and the guy says “I am not looking at his legs” and she follows up with “I am!” We chat briefly and he takes my picture and name for his blog. He doesn’t want to hold me up any longer since he noticed how fast I was moving. He gives me a mint chocolate chip Clif bar and a banana. The banana is delicious. I don’t think I’ve had one in a while!
For the first time [of the hike], I notice how bad the bugs are.
I feel good physically. There are a few tough (slow) rock climbing sections, but I was hoping to make it one shelter further than where I end up. I get to the shelter at 6:30 PM and decide to stop here. I’ll get an early start tomorrow and go for 35.3 miles. I am alone at the shelter. I thought there would be others here since I passed hikers earlier and also thought some would have caught up because of my zero day.
I feel lonely when I arrive here. Days like this one are hard; when I go from being with family to having no family and no one around; from a high of being with family to the low of being completely alone out here. I’m feeling a little low right now, but I’ll be better tomorrow. I just need to refocus.
AT: follow the white blaze on the rock up ahead. It’s a tricky little spot but I’m not taking my pack off to climb it.
This “easy way” signage can be found occasionally along the trail. Don’t take the easy way.