June 17. As I left town and walked a mile back to the trail I ran into another hiker. We talked for a bit and I asked his name and I told him I am Tarzan. He said “Tarzan! I have been hiking behind you for weeks! I am glad I finally caught you!” I have been getting this a lot lately. There is another Tarzan on the trail and most of the time he was a good 2 weeks ahead of me. Recently though, he took a few days off and hopped back on the trail only 2 days ahead of me. This has created some confusion. I explained to this hiker that there are two of us named Tarzan and that he may mean the other one that was ahead of me. I knew that was who he meant because I knew his name from the shelter logs and I knew I had been behind him this whole time. When I mentioned that he probably meant the other Tarzan he responded “Ah, naw…that other Tarzan is way behind us!” Hmmm… Ha! I let him know that I really was the other Tarzan and for sure the other one was ahead of us and as I hit the trail I wasn’t sure if I felt bad that people thought I was so far behind, or good that I would be surprising a lot of people, including the other Tarzan, when I caught them. I hiked on and ran into a few people I met several days ago including 2 Marines hiking to raise money for the Wounded Warriors program. One of them was my pace and we walked together for the afternoon and talked about gear and what we had started with, what we switched to, and what we still wanted. Around 7 PM I made it to my planned camp site, a 14 mile day with a 6 hour resupply in town. Most of the rest of the crew were hiking on 3 more miles to the next shelter. I didn’t feel like I needed to, I made my planned destination and I really didn’t want to tackle two more climbs today. I stopped and set up camp and talked to the ridge runner (an ATC employee who works all summer on the trail) for over an hour about gear, what he started with on his hike, what he changed to, and what he still wanted. All in all it was a great day! I got my town food, hiked some good miles, and talked about gear. Can’t beat that!
June 18. I woke up a little later again today, I packed my gear and was on the trail by 8 AM. I walked up and over the mountain I debated tackling the night before and decided I was glad I had stopped! I hiked through the morning and by noon had come to the Falls Village, CT and could have taken a short walk into the small village and had lunch at one of the two restaurants. I decided instead to eat my cold mashed potatoes and pushed on. Just after lunch I caught up with the Marines again. We stopped at a waterfall to take some pictures and then I hiked on with the guy who is my pace and we talked about cars, jobs, school, business…and before we knew it in just under 2 hours we had covered around 8 miles over a mountain! That brought us to Salisbury, CT and they were getting picked up to do an event that night at the local VFW and I walked into town. It was less than a mile and I hit a town center with a few shops, bistros, and fancy places. I decided to keep it simple and bought a few slices of pizza from the deli in the grocery store, a root beer, and a box of oatmeal cream cookies for the trail. I ate the pizza and drank the soda and with nothing left to be done in town I headed back to the AT. The town stop was short, just about an hour, but it was worth it! I hiked on with the plan to get over Bear Mountain and to a campsite. Bear Mountain was not too bad of a climb up and it had some great views, but the descent down was tough! At the top of the mountain I passed 1,500 miles, not bad! At the bottom of the mountain I left CT and entered MA, another state down, only 4 to go! I walked about a mile along a mountain stream in a ravine and it was one of the best sections of the AT I have been on so far. I hit camp, set up my tent, ate some snacks, and crawled in, a bit tired from the 28 plus mile day, happy to lay down!