I’d like to start off by mentioning that last night I pitched my tent on an uneven surface in the dark and woke up feeling more tired than before! Having just switched to an alcohol stove (not a good idea in the middle of a trip) it took a long time to make breakfast. I got the water to about warm, not really boiling and I set the entire area around me on fire (don’t worry, the denatured alcohol burns quickly). I finally set out for the day.
Just a few miles later I came across a magnificent pond – Little Rock Pond! It was what I had been looking for all along. Not too big, no too small, secluded, deep and enveloped in an old hardwood forest. Without thinking for too long, I went in. I began to ponder the idea of swimming across to the cliff and jumping off but didn’t want to do it along. It was barely 10AM. I put my clothes back on and cherished the moments of having the moment all to myself.
A few section hikers passed by, barely stopping. Then The Brothers came and we swam across and took turns warming on the hot stone of the cliffs and jumping off. We swam back, ate lunch, talked about various life changing experiences and went on our way at different times. Tom, who volunteered as my lifeguard during the crossings, caught up to me and we hiked through some beautiful White Rocks and pine territory. Camera batteries were dead unfortunately!
Tom and I ran into Wendy and Whitney, two friends who set out to thru-hike the Long Trail as well. We hiked over Bear Mountain and stopped for the night at Minerva Hinchey. There we met up with Tom’s brother and the two section hikers who were finishing that night, as well as Lunchbox, another AT thru-hiker. It was great to be together and hang out at the end of the day. My best day yet.