Leaving New York, entering Connecticut and starting the final third of the trail.
An earlyish start, 6:50am, was chosen as I needed 12.4 trail miles plus 1 road mile to get into a town called Kent in order to finally pick up new shoes and resupply, then have time to get back on trail and find somewhere to camp.
This is state number 11 of 14. Only Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are left. Wow. Apart from some incredibly hot, muggy and buggy conditions I loved New York so Connecticut has a lot to live up to.
I managed to go the wrong way when the AT took a sharp right and a side trail continued forward. 800 yards of pure downhill later I checked the GPS and realised I had to walk back uphill. D’oh.
By now it was heating up and would turn into another too-hot and muggy day. Unfortunately there were several challenging steep uphills as well. Hiking uphill when it’s 31c (90f+) is a bit like trying to run underwater – exhausting, unproductive and frustrating. But the fact I needed to get into town, do stuff and get out again meant I had to plod through the midday hours. Not fun. Yesterday I made 13 miles in 6 hours. Today I made about the same in 7.5, 25% slower, arriving in Kent just after 2pm. Kent is an upscale small town with a reputation for being hiker-unfriendly to the point of the laundromat banning hikers completely a few years ago. Apparently the owner relented but will still chastise hikers if they have the temerity to use it. Anyway, it’s not a poor town. This is the first house I saw. It didn’t get worse after that.
I had a new pair of shoes waiting for me at the outfitters plus I needed 2 days of food to get to my next stop. I headed straight for the pizza place and basked in the air conditioning while drinking my body weight in Dr Pepper. Cooled, hydrated and sugared-up I went shopping and picked up my shoes from the outfitter (who seem more focused on cotton dresses and fashion items than hiking) and sadly dumped my old shoes in the trash. I hope I don’t regret it! Thanks shoes, you were swell.
I headed back to the trail about 4:30pm and found a stealth spot about 6pm and called it a day. Three times today I heard what I first thought were rattlesnakes just off trail but were more like just cicadas. I stomped my trekking poles down as I went cautiously forward anyway and they all faded away off to the side.
Tomorrow is forecast to be a hot one again but with no special events I intend to park up at lunchtime and have a proper 2 hour break and hike later instead.