Seventeen: More food, high mileage days, and into Connecticut
July 31st, 1983
Woke up late and pigged out once again courtesy of the monks of
Greymoor. I don't remember what I ate, but I am sure it was a lot!
The day was hot and humid, but the trail was easy even though at
one point it contained 5 miles of continuous road walk. While on
the road walk, I remember crossing a large highway with cars zooming
by that seemed quite dangerous.
Paul and I easily covered eighteen miles and arrived at Ralph's
Peak Hikers Cabin by 6:00pm. There was an overgrown field that I
walked through with a mowed path going right to the cabin. As I
reached the cabin I saw the ride-on lawn tractor beside the trail.
Earlier in my hike I remember going through some tall grass in the
morning and getting soaked from the early morning dew so I was pleased
to see the path had been well maintained. The place really turned
out to be more than a cabin. I was thinking it would be more rustic
like maybe a log cabin. Instead it was a suburban house with a working
stove and refrigerator. It was actually a cinder block building,
but had been converted into a hostel, and it seems like everyone
was here tonight! The place was jumpin'. As I walked into the cabin,
I was greeted with watermelon and ice cream! The caretakers are
great people - they also bought us beer. I was told by the caretaker
that there was a bicycle that I could use to go into town with for
supplies. I didn't need supplies so I didn't bother.
was such a short hike from the cabin to the monastery that I really
wanted to get going, but the cabin was so inviting and my friends
were there. I thought that it would have been nice if these stops
were spaced further apart.
told that Ralph, the person who the cabin was named after, had been
a thru-hiker in the past. When I asked where he was I was told that
he was off on a hiking trip. He hiked back in 1975.
August 1st, 1983
I left Ralph's Peak Hikers Cabin a bit late due to a restless night
that caused me to try to get a little extra shut-eye. I don't know
why I had a restless night, but these days felt more like day hikes
- where you hike all day and have a nice shower and plenty to eat
before heading to bed. It was almost domestic.
Having had such a poor night, I was fortunate that today was a really
easy day. I hiked sixteen miles, ten of which were road walk. I
ended my day at Murrow Park where there is a pavilion. The management
charged me a buck for a shower and the privilege to sleep in the
(Possibly general store in Holmes, NY. L-R Eric Olson, John Beckstrand,
Marcel, Marcel, Tim Platts, Bruce Berlin, Terri Zimmerman, and Paul
(L-R Marcel, Marcel, Tim Platts, Bruce Berlin, Terri Zimmerman,
and Paul Nichols)
tent was a hand-me-down, one person Eddie Bauer tent given to me
by my cousin Sonny. Made of rip stop nylon, it was a small pup tent
that was wide at the head and tapered toward the feet. Faded red
in colour, it stood with one pole in front and one at the rear and
both poles were held up by one guy line each. There were six loops
to stake it out and one guy line on each side to hold the sides
of the tent out. When you got in you had to maneuver yourself around
the centre pole being careful not to knock the front of the tent
down which I did from time to time. It also had a small window/vent
at the foot and a zippered front doorway both of which were fitted
with no-see-um netting.
August 2nd, 1983
Turns out that I had problems sleeping in the pavilion last night.
First, I pitched my tent near the pavilion because the bugs were
swarming all over it. Then it started to rain, so I ended up pitching
my tent inside the pavilion and got a lousy night's sleep. Pitching
a stake up tent on a concrete slab is definitely a problem, so the
setup was a bit shakey, but I managed the best I could. I also owned
a Sierra Design tent which I left at home, but it was made for alpine
climbing and was heavy plus it took up a lot of space. On the other
hand, my Eddie Bauer tent lived in the bottom of the main compartment
in my pack.
up late once again to make up for lost sleep, and pulled an eighteen
miler into Kent, Connecticut where I stopped at the post office
expecting to receive a care package. It had arrived - and so had
everyone else! They all eagerly crowded around as I opened the package.
We all munched it down and then immediately headed for pizza and
beer courtesy of a local
My mom made these awesome care packages with all manner of goodies.
She regularly made penuche, brownies, and prune bread. Also, the
packages had letters from home and whatever I had requested from
my folks while at the previous PO stop. These packages were a lifeline
for me. Many times I heard from other hikers that their packages
were not sent on time so they would have to wait in town to get
them, or forward them to the next stop and miss out on much needed
supplies. My mom and dad were great at logistics, and I never had
to wait for the packages to get to me. They were diligent and caring,
and that made all the difference for me. For me, every PO stop was
like Christmas day as a child.
is a picture of all who were in Kent that day somewhere. It is a
wonderful image of Fuzzy Jim entertaining us as we hung out in back
of the PO.
we will tent behind the post office.
one of my town stops, perhaps Kent, I placed a paper bag with my
photos inside behind a store or a P.O. near a dumpster. We had been
hanging around the dumpster while we systematically threw out as
much of the packaging from our store purchases and care packages
when I suddenly had to go get something. When I came back, the bag
was gone. I believe that the dumpster had at just that inoppoportune
moment been emptied, and mistakenly the bag was picked up and thrown
into the trash truck as well. It may very well have been here in
Kent where that had happened. I knew that my parents would be picking
me up in Kent, so why would I have send my film back home in the
mail? They never received them and never picked them up. If you
have not noticed, photos are missing from this part of the trip,
so I think this must have been the place it happened.
August 3rd, 1983
Today is a day of rest, from hiking that is. I did laundry, wrote
letters, did shopping, repacked my pack and even had some time to
just hang around. Everyone else left early this morning. Paul hung
around, but then left about 4:00pm. He is anxious to get home for
some rest and relaxation as well. I had padded time into my rendezvous
to be sure that I would get there in time. I had no way to get in
contact with them should I be delayed. Timing was of the essence
in these matters since phone contact can only be made during a town
visit. A wasted day
meant a zero mile day.
(Letter sent to Pep, my grandfather)
Mom, dad and Dia will be coming to see me tomorrow. Can't wait!
August 4th, 1983
My parents and Dia got in about 11:00am and it was great to see
them. We went to Macedonia State Park for a picnic, and then ate
some Haagen Dazs ice cream. They bought the ice cream in town. Haagen
Dazs is premium ice cream so it was indeed a treat.
(My parents, Simone and Francis Montville and me)
(Kent Falls, Kent CT)
(My mom, Simone, Dia, and me)
It was great to hear from those at home, made me feel as if I was
there. Eventually, they dropped me off at the trail head late in
the afternoon, and I hiked to Chase Mountain Lean-To. It rained
on me a bit, but my spirits are quite high. Years
later my mom told me that she cried when I left them that day as
it was raining quite hard.
(My parents dropping me off at the trailhead)
(Rhode Island Red heading north from Kent in the rain)
Tonight is the first night in a long time that I have a lean-to
to myself - what a nice change it is!
August 5th, 1983
up at 4:45am and put in a 20 miler today.
I met "Mister Connecticut" doing some trail maintenance.
He has a gruff exterior, but inside he is a hell of a guy. He and
I talked for roughly an hour about the trail, drugs, drinking and
many other things. I called him Mr. Connecticut because he was in
charge of trail maintenance for all of Connecticut.
leaving him, I hiked to the package store at Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut
where I drank my free beer for having hiked all the way from Georgia
to the package store. All the hikers know about this place by the
time they arrive there. One beer of your choice for free! It was
blistering hot - so I selected a large can of ice cold Fosters Lauger
(the largest beer in the store) which I guzzled down even though
it tasted like skunk piss. At the package store I met my first two
south bound thru-hikers, it was a male and female couple. I don't
believe that I ever got the names of these southbounders, but afterwards,
it was off to the grocery store for Haagen Dazs and two Hostess
the gate. One of the man made wonders along the trail that I experienced.
I hiked by it during a road walk today. Hiking along the one lane
backroad was shady, so I didn't get the full intensity of the sun
and was pleased at that. The gate, embraced by a several trees,
formed the entrance to a home. The house it guarded stood on the
lot as a small, unremarkable structure. As such, what caught my
attention was the very unusual and quite large entry gate which
had the unmistakable shape of a harp. Made entirely of wood, it
featured a lacquered clear coat to accentuate the grain of the wood
which flowed as if it were sculpted. I have often thought of going
back to see it again.
(Massive Maple gate on Great Hollow Road, CT)
I continued on toward the Y.C.C. lean to where I expected to stay
tonight. Upon my arrival at about 7:00pm I was unhappy to find it
full of screaming kids. The shelter was right off of a nearby road.
Consulting the databook, I saw that just down the road about .3
mile there was a water pump, so that is where I elected to stay
and tent. I hope that it doesn't rain because the weekenders don't
seem too friendly; however, even a wet tenting experience seemed
better than having to share the shelter.
August 6th, 1983
Did another twenty miler today. Along the way I met a southbounder
who stayed with Paul last night. That puts him about ten miles ahead.
No need to catch him though for I am quite content hiking solo.
Opportunity knocked for me at the Corner Diner on the A.T. near
Falls Village where I was able to eat some veal parmesan. Today
was extremely humid and I even got rained on a few times, but it
wasn't much. I am hoping that it doesn't rain tonight.
The bugs were unreal today! They were biting me from the second
I got out of the tent this morning until just a few minutes ago
when I got back into the tent which is pitched near Limestone Spring
and it is 6:17pm. There were a few dozen mosquitos perched on my
front door netting just waiting for me to exit. From time to time
I would hit the netting just to aggravate them. Hats off to the
man that invented no-see-um netting! There were so many other bugs
that you could hear them flying around in the dark silence.
Lying here quietly in my tent near Limestone Springs I can hear
the drone of thousands of bugs - and I am not exaggerating! I can
also hear thunder in the distance.
from Barrack Mountain in CT)