July 31st 2018
Lye Brook Wilderness – Peru Peak Shelter (mile 1661.9)
15.9 miles
Total miles: 1683.5

It was so warm last night compared to the night before. Sleeping at a lower elevation really makes a difference. We were up early because it was a town day.


The idea was get to Manchester, eat food, resupply then get out and do another 10 miles. I left first with Shred and we had 5.8 miles to hike to get to the road. We got the first 5 done really quickly, Shred was clearing the spider webs, we were chatting and keeping a really good pace and then the last mile was a total struggle. My stomach was letting out deep rumbles every few minutes. I had no energy left. I felt like one of those wind up toys that was coming to the end of its wind. Shred took a little fall into a stream and got his feet wet. It was pretty funny. We had spent all morning trying to avoid the mud and avoid falling over. 

We got to the road and tried to hitch straight away. The others were just behind us but 5 is too big a group to hitch with and we knew the others would get rides. It only took a couple of minutes for a very nice lady to pull over and squeeze us both in her car. She had her bicycle in the car but she made room. She took us right to the door of the breakfast diner we had been recommended. We got to town at 9am. 

Up for Breakfast in Manchester is a popular little spot and we had to wait for all of our party to arrive before we could get a table. They weren’t far behind and they all got rides quickly and easily. Breakfast was so good. Peaches was upset that they didn’t have biscuits and gravy on the menu but this wasn’t a biscuits and gravy kind of place, plus we are definitely not in the south anymore! 


With my chocolate milk I had smoked salmon, wilted spinach, poached eggs on sourdough toast topped with zesty holendaise and it was delicious. My only mistake was not adding avocado. I was so full, and having visited the bathroom on my arrival, all my troubles were taken care of. After breakfast we headed over to the outfitter and Shred spent a very long time buying another layer because he was worried about it getting cold. I wondered around the store and saw about 10 things I wanted but didn’t need and couldn’t justify the ridiculous price of some of the Patagonia things, as nice as they were. I had to leave the shop before I bought something I didn’t need. There were a bunch of hikers in town, some AT people and some long trail people and some southbound ATers who I chatted to outside. There seems to be a really nice crew of people southbounding. 

We also ran into Hamster who joined us for a day a little while ago, and he joined in our movie game we played. He was in town with his wife and they were doing their next section up to Katahdin. We arranged to hang out with him later. 

We walked down to Pricechopper where we resupplied. We only had to get two days of food but it was still agonising. I ended up with 3 cliff bars, some Kind bars, a bag of crisps, a pot of hummus, some fruit snacks, some mini Twix and a Gatorade. The worlds biggest Gatorade at nearly 2 litres. This will go with the food I had left over which was a Twix bar, a cliff bar and 2 packets of peanut butter. Shred bought a packet of tortillas and he gave me 2 so I’m able to make a peanut butter (and I’ll scrounge some jam off him too) wrap. 


We then went down to the Ben and Jerry’s shop. They sold Ben and Jerry’s in the supermarket, a pint for $2.99. In the shop it was a scoop for 4 dollars. No thank you. So we found somewhere to hang out that had outlets so we could charge our phones. We hung out there for about an hour and I tried to catch up on some communication but I am really finding it hard to keep on top of everything and in touch with everyone. I saw I had a donation from a lady called Brenda welcoming me to her state, Vermont. What a lovely treat! 

In hindsight the giant Gatorade was a mistake. I had filled one of my water bottles so so I could take it with me and then I still had to drink a litre of it which after that big breakfast was just too much. We walked back up the road for about half a mile to go and meet Hamster. It is so hot in town and everything is so bright. The light bounces of everything and the pavements are too bright to look at. I was hot and bothered and too full and struggling to see and needing a wee. I wasn’t in a good place! 

We hung out with Hamster and his wife for a while and he bought beers for us, Jukebox and I don’t drink beer so the rest of the group got 2 each. The time was ticking by and we were struggling to make a decision about what to do. No one was very keen on hiking 10 more miles today, but we kind of needed to to keep on track. I knew I would feel better once we got out of town and into the trees where everything is cooler and not so bright. 


By now it was 2:30pm. We had been in town for hours. There had been talk about getting lunch in town which we hadn’t done yet and we weren’t really sure if we were hungry but knew we would regret not getting something when we were half way up the climb. I decided I was going to get a sub and pack it out. We had passed a subway earlier and I was just going to go there and get something cheap and plentiful. But a place called Zoe’s Deli had been recommended to us so we all traipsed back down the same road, past the Ben and Jerry’s store and we found the diner. 

What a great decision. The food was absolutely delicious. Jukebox ordered a salad and decided to eat in so I got my sandwich to eat in too. I got Swiss cheese, turkey, lettuce, tomato, carrot and avocado cream on a spinach wrap. The ingredients were good but the avocado cream really elevated it to a different level. It was 100 times better than a subway sandwich. 


The food has improved dramatically the further north we go. I ate the first half of my wrap and I used that time to debate the pros and cons of packing the other half out. Without doubt the wrap will be at its best right now, while it’s fresh. But I was pretty full so is it beneficial to eat the whole thing now and would I appreciate it more if I ate it later? After it had been in my pack and in the heat for a few hours it wouldn’t be as good so I decided to just eat the whole thing. I enjoyed every mouthful even if I felt exceptionally full at the end of it. 

The people in the Deli were really nice and let us all fill our water bottles. Twenty past three now and we still had to hitch back to the trail. Jukebox and I packed up and went across the street to try and get a ride. After just a few moment a car pulled over. There was room for all 5 of us and Jukebox and I got inside while the other 3 jumped in the pick up bit at the back. They were lovely people with ambitions to hike the trail one day too. They live nearby in a town called Jamaica. There is also a Peru and a Moscow around which sounds so strange!


Manchester was a super friendly trail town and I imagine they see a lot of hikers come through with the AT and the Long Trail passing close by. I did feel like I got quite a few odd looks though because I am so dirty. My legs are covered in dried mud. I’ve stopped noticing the dirt. 

We got back to the trail at 3:40pm. So late and we still had that 10 miles to do. We decided to hike together, apart from Professor. He has his own plans for the next couple of days. He wants to test himself and try a 40 mile day so he’s going to do that tomorrow and meet up with us in a couple of days. 

We struggled our way up the 3 mile long climb. The grade wasn’t really that bad but we were all very full and I felt like the level of my food was up to the top of my throat. We had a hot and sweaty climb made easier by having people to chat to and share the pain with. When we got to the top of Styles Peak we found that it was a skiing area. There were a few signs around for ski runs and a big chair lift at the top. We went and sat on one of the seats of the chair lift which we weren’t supposed to do but, eh. There was also a hut at the top and we discussed staying in there for the night and just doing a bigger day tomorrow but the hut was stuffy and the area was buggy so we chose to move on. 


We moved on down the trail, a steep descent followed by some wiggly ups and downs. Our evening turned into a big singalong when one phrase – turn around – prompted a rendition of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart. We went through various songs and showtunes and it definitely helped to pass the time. 

We descended to a road crossing which was the start of our second big uphill. Shred had to go and release the hostages and we carried on. Chatting and singing in the moments between the ones where we were struggling to breathe. There were some really intense steep section on this climb and it was pretty exhausting. The three of us were just walking along and chatting about life and Shred snuck up on us. He made Peaches scream which made me think she had seen a snake so I leapt in the air and let out a shreek too. My heart was pounding.

We struggled our way to the top of the climb and we were rewarded with an alright view and the fact it hadn’t rained. Now we just had to go downhill and find a campsite. There was a shelter but you have to lay to stay and there was a campsite which you also have to pay for. We wanted to avoid these. Apparently they use the fee to avoid overcrowding by putting people off staying at these sites. So we were going to look for a stealth spot.


On the way down Jukebox and I saw some poop which we thought could be moose poop. I’d like to see a moose but I don’t want to come face to face with one on the trail. When we arrived at the shelter there was no one there. Just a guy called Chemist who wasn’t planning to stay there. No sign of a caretaker and certainly no overcrowding because we were the only ones there. 


So we decided to call it a day and stay here. It was getting dark and hard to see anything in the dense forest, we were only half a mile short and this was as good a place to camp as any. Shred, Jukebox and I set our tents up on the wooden platform using rocks to stake out the fly. There weren’t too many tent space options but Peaches managed to find one to set up her tent which needs staking out. 

We are all please we made it here and it will make our next two days easier. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 84