Trail Zealot

Colorado hiking, Appalachian Trail thru-hiking, and more...

Day 31: Moose Mountain Shelter to Happy Hill Shelter

Appalachian Trail
July 13, 2013
Mileage16.8 (448.0) mi
Elevation gain3722 ft
Elevation loss4420 ft

Currently sitting in my tent...

With Hanover on my mind, I got ready quickly this morning. The flat terrain over which I travel makes it hard not to try for personal record speeds. My goal was to average 3 miles an hour for the 10.9 miles into town. I took off too quickly and my breakfast started sloshing around in my stomach. Luckily, I came to the stream where I planned to grab some water so I got a break. 7 drops Aquamira step 1, 7 drops Aquamira step 2, wait 5 minutes. My stomach settled and I was off again. In a few minutes I came to a field. It was really beautiful to see so much open space spread out before me with a little farmhouse in the distance. After the meadow, the trail was fast again with flat, pine needle carpeted ground, perfect for walking. Somewhere along the way I crossed the 20 percent complete mark (woohoo!) and soon I popped out of the woods and was staring at Dartmouth's athletic fields. Weird!

A bucolic meadow
A bucolic meadow

I walked out to the road and followed the sidewalk into Hanover. I passed by college students and families walking with children, all of whom seemed accustomed to a hiker presence. Entering town was an interesting experience in the first place because I have been to Hanover before on a college visit. It was really weird to arrive on my own two feet. I felt pretty proud of myself. I immediately got some town food in my system then went to explore town. I went to the Dartmouth Outing Club's main building, where I could store my pack while I was in town and use free WiFi and computers. I got to work uploading and trying to fix the lost blog entries. I knew I'd have a chance to resupply tomorrow, so I just grabbed a pop tart for the morning at a gas station. After that, I didn't have much to do before my 2:00 Man of Steel showtime, so I meandered around town as I made some much-needed phone calls. It was great to be around so many smiling people (not to mention college girls). Without my pack, I was just a dirty guy with a gross neck beard, so I was basically just a homeless guy. In a word, I looked beautiful. At least I remembered to wash the dirt off my face.

The culmination of my waiting
The culmination of my waiting

After a burrito, I was off to the Nugget to see my movie. I excitedly told the attendant that I had been waiting a month to see this monumental film. She shared my excitement as I bought a tub'o'soda and headed into the theater. As the lights went down and the first preview began, it took everything I had not to clap and shout. I wondered why everyone else was so calm! I decided that the trail blesses you with an increased sense of excitability. It felt like when I watched movies as a kid. I was laughing, tearing up, clapping. I think it was a pretty run-of-the-mill movie, but I couldn't have enjoyed it more. After that experience, I grabbed my pack from the DOC and headed across the bridge into Vermont, blasting my "new state" song as I danced under the overpass. I passed a fair and walked down a residential street that terminated in the trail. I grabbed a bagel from a trail magic box and walked the quick 3.5 to Happy Hill Shelter, where the bugs were bad and I pitched my tent on the soft pine needle carpet. But they're in my tent now! AHHHH!!!!

Interactive map and elevation profile

All photos