Make it to Jonesville before the post office closed, hopefully rally to make it up to Bamforth Ridge shelter for the night.
Pictures of sunrise on top of Mansfield “Chin”. Unfortunately it was a pretty cloudy sunrise, but still an awesome morning.
As I noted in the schedule for today, my main goal was to make it to Jonesville for my mail pickup. Some one had told me (maybe it was the guide book?) that the post office closed at 3 and was kind of unreliable, so I was going to have to make a decent pace to get there in time.
I started off in a rush, but because I thought I could get water somewhere on the summit and because the water source near Taft was a bit unreliable I didn’t fill up before I left. When I got to the summit, I met a really kind hiker named Cricket who offered me a liter of water and said there wasn’t much water ahead. I was really tempted, but I turned her down. It was early and I wasn’t sweating much yet so I thought I’d be ok.
Turns out I was ok, but Butler also had no water so I didn’t get water until Twin Brooks, which was a decent source. The terrain was tough, but after the summit rock scramble stuff which was fun, it was only moderate. I made decent time but again ran out of water on the climb up Bolton. When I got to Bucannan, I was really thirsty but the walk to Buchannan was .3 miles downhill that I would then have to turn around and walk back up. Because I was worried about making it to Jonesville in time and I had no guarantee that there was water there, I skipped the refill point.
This turned out to be a really, really bad idea. I don’t think I’ve ever been as dehydrated as I was then. I was getting dizzy, light-headed, and considering very stupid things like getting off the trail to look for water. The only thing that probably saved me from something worse happening was that the trail was brand new (from the recent reroute for the new bridge over the Winooski) and fairly flat. I was able to stumble along without much difficulty. Eventually I reached a stream when I started coming down the valley into Jonesville and spent a while there guzzling water and filling up.
I got down to the road and did a fast march to Jonesville and made it just before 3. Turns out they were open until 4:30, so I didn’t have to kill myself getting there. Oh well. As I was sitting there feeling completely exhausted and still not fully recovered from the dehydration, in walks Shea and Four Eyes. They were northbound thru-hikers who had finished the AT that season and had come back to the LT to finish the thing off so they could use the joint AT/LT part as part of their LT thru-hike (apparently it has to be in the same year).
They were planning on tenting at the Squires house, a lovely couple who let hikers stay at their house for free. They invited me along. I probably would have normally said no and pressed on, but I was pretty done and I had already given up on making my goal this year. I joined them. It was a great time. I was only 5 days out of civilization, but the trip to the grocery store and 3 liters of gatorade and sparkling water I drank was mind blowing. We spent the night chatting. Four Eyes slept in the shed, and I got to use my tent for the first and only time on the trip. The Squires were amazing people and I am very grateful for their hospitality.