Sunday, September 5, 2010

Foiled, I Never Get To Suffer: AT Section 5.3

“Would you like a hot cup of tea? It’s no trouble.” Dennis the ridge runner had welcomed me to the Mt Wilcox South Lean-to the evening before. I was about to say no, but before I did he added, “I think I have some Earl Grey.”

That did it. There went my stouthearted plans to drink my tea cold. The ridge runner had found my Achilles heel, Earl Grey. I’d left my stove and tent at home to lighten my load. Here I was, braced for a rugged adventure and I was being spoiled yet again.

This always happens to me. I go out in the woods to suffer, and someone comes along making everything easy and comfortable. I’d got one cold sip of tea down before hot comforts dangled before me.

“Yes, thank you,” I said.

Dennis grabbed his super light-weight stove and his water purifying glow stick and prepared to boil water. His purifier looked like a miniature lightsaber from Star Wars. I wanted to zap aquatic bad guys too. It looked really cool. (I want one, I want one, I want one.) Dennis had impressive gear, right down to his titanium cutlery. And he was willing to share.

We talked about all kinds of gear. It wasn’t long before we were on to bags. I have a fancy light weight sleeping bag designed especially for women. As far as I can tell this just means it’s short. My feet have no wiggle room. To make matters worse, the zippers at each shoulder only go one third of the way down the bag, leaving a flap that folds down, much like the backside of a union suit. I told him as much.

In my old bag, if I got too hot, I’d unzip to loll one leg out. Now I had to wriggle both legs up to my chin to free them. Inevitably I grow chilly again, knees back up to the chin, reinsert in cocoon.

The ridge runner recommended buying a Megalite bag by Western Mountaineering and checking out gear reviews in Backpacker Magazine. (Apparently you should try a bag on before you buy it. That might have been a good move before I bought the bag I have.)

It was a yummy cup of tea, but nothing in life is free. Now I have new list of expensive wants.

[The events recounted above occurred Sunday August 8th 2010 during my 5th outing on Appalachian Trail. I was making my way from Beartown State Forest to the northern crossing of Jerusalem Road, 11 miles up the trail. Hear about my wild and reckless behavior in part one. Learn about my strong feeling on oral hygiene in part two. And have no fear, the saga will continue.]


  1. This is great. Always nice to encounter kindness, especially out in the wild.


  2. Annie, I love this one, very well written. I'm glad you had a good solo trip and it's nice to hear stories of people taking care of each other.

  3. Solo trips are great, but not nearly as great as hiking with a special buddy. Miss you!

  4. Saloma,
    As a kid, I thought "nice" was almost an insult. Now i think nice and kind are underrated.