Miles Today: 17.7
Mile Marker: 1,362.8
This morning I hit the General Store for a breakfast sandwich and an energy drink to start my morning. I spotted some fresh baked donuts and added two to the order. The North knows how to bread. Those were the best, heartiest donuts I've ever had, and the sandwich bagel was perfect. I was the last one to leave, but I caught up to the guys at the first watering hole. Cheese mentioned a hot dog stand, and I couldn't help myself. I booked it the next four miles to get there for a late lunch. When I reached the road crossing a lady asked me if I was a thru hiker and if I would like a cold drink. She gave me a Coors Light and oddly enough a jello shot. Her name was Melissa, and she was super kind. She offered a ride into town, laundry, lunch, and a shower. I told her Cheese and Einstein needed a ride to town and waited for them to get there to flag them down.
On the way to dropping them off she dropped me at Mitch’s hot dog stand. I wasn't sure what to get from the menu, so I asked Mitch. He asked where I was from and if I'd ever had a hot dog before. I said Texas and yes, but something tells me you're about to lay something new on me. He said he'd make me a roadside dog and I wouldn't regret it. The man was not wrong. It may have been that it was 2:30 or that I had done 12 miles without lunch, but that was the best hotdog I've ever had. The dog itself was incredibly good; but it also had garlic, sauerkraut, sautéed onions, and mustard. The combination was incredible. I immediately ordered another. With a full stomach I got back on the trial and was met with the “Stairway to Heaven”. A 900 foot climb straight up rock “steps”.
The rest of the day cruised by, and I got to the rendezvous shelter at 5:00. I was ready to keep hiking, but Hop Along texted he decided he's going to wait for DaVinci to catch up tomorrow and then go to NYC. I decided to wait until he caught up and hike with him for a bit. Tomorrow I'll lose him, Cheese, and Einstein. I'll likely catch up with Cheese and Einstein after my zero in a few days, but I'll lose them again when they get off trail for a few days to go to a wedding. It will be a bummer to go back to hiking by myself, but that's the nature of the trail. We've all ultimately got our own priorities out here. Right now mine is to get to Fort Montgomery and get my new shoes. The ones I have now will have 680 miles on them by the time I replace them. The tread is gone, the foam is dead, and the toe box on both of them is ripped to shreds. 400-500 miles is about all you should expect from trail runners. Especially when you're backpacking with them. So I've got to say I've been incredibly happy with these. Well done Brooks Cascadia 12s.