We woke up around 7:30 and it was raining, so like good hikers we said carpe diem and went back to sleep. At around 9, we embraced the fact that it was going to keep raining, and kept lying on our thermarests. Soon after it stopped raining so we scrambled to lack up. We've discovered that doing 15 to 16 miles a day is a sweet spot for us and if we can keep that up, we can get to Maine in time for Jill's wedding and Tyler's grandmother's 90th birthday. We headed uphill from Trimpi shelter at a great clip and didn't stop for lunch until around 2. It was pretty quiet on the trail, presumably people were still heading up to the area from trail days. Just as we were finishing up lunch, the light drizzle turned into a rain. Our first landmark for the day was Partnership shelter and it was still four miles away. We poncho'd up and got to walking.
The rain never got too hard. Our shoes got damp but, at least, not squishy. We passed some ponds that under other circumstances, we would have certainly sat by. The terrain suddenly turned to soft ground covered in pine needles, which is our dream terrain for our aching feet. Partnership shelter is a beauty. It is the Ritz. If it wasn't only ten miles from our starting point, it would have been a great place to stop. You can call local pizza places and have them deliver. There's a shower and running potable water. Legit bathrooms at the nearby visitor's center and a privy clean enough to sleep in..maybe. The shelter itself looks like it could fit about twenty hikers and boasted two floors with a fully enclosed top floor with a window.
A family doing some section backpacking had decided to turn in early rather than go eleven more miles to Atkins in the rain and left a half finished steak and cheese sandwich, an untouched small supreme pizza, a burger amd fries, and some wings. Tyler ate the steak and cheese, with many many thanks before and after, in about four bites.
We mentioned to one of the thru hikers that our kindle was broken so we lost our source for AWOL and the thru hikers companion. He mentioned he could share a file with us using an sd card since we had an Android phone. And so it was that we met Doc from fixedbydoc.com We asked him more about his website and YouTube channel (and his television show which he also let slip). These facts, unlike some of the boasters we met previously, came up naturally in conversation. Turns out, he's real big in the off the grid living world, and he does everything leagally and above board. He's invented a gray water recycling that could be used in any of the state's for federally approved off grid recycling system. His own home, in Pennsylvania, had been up and running for four years after years of research, planning, and cooperation with local, state, and federal officials to make sure they (he and his wife) were not going to get in trouble later. The only taxes he legally has to pay are school taxes (since they use the roads). Otherwise, they are free and clear. He gave us a ton of advice for how to start and, luckily for us, it sounds like they've really paved the way for people coming after them with all the web content they've produced. We can't wait to check it out. He says the first place to start is to write a list of what "off the grid" really means to you, and then you can find a way to make it work. I'm sure our definition will be different, but it's nice to know that there's such a wealth of info out there. Our quick break turned into a little over an hour, but the rain, which had gotten real heavy during our conversation, had slowed, so we thanked Doc for the file and info, and we hit the trail again. Six more miles.
Sadly our excitement and positivity couldn't last too long, the rain opened up again. And this time it didn't seem like it would stop. After our shoes hit squish factor 5000, we decided to stop on the ridge about a mile and a half before Chatfield Shelter. Since it was still raining and we didn't want to bail out our tent again, we decided to try a new tent technique. Since the rain fly on our tent can connect to the poles separately, we tried putting up just the fly, then sliding the tent underneath and attaching it in a rain free environment. It was a bit slow, but a total success. We got our packs in, reasonably damp from being under water heavy ponchos for a while, not a moment too soon. For once, we listened to ourselves and the weather and got the tent set up before the rain got torrential. We were pretty dry, had dry clothes, dry sleeping bags and a dry tent.
We did notice a big pool and mini stream making way for our tent so we sadly had to do some campsite modifications, but after that, we were snug as a bug in a tent without a vent. We slept fairly happily ever despite our usual grumbling about a 24 our rain day (and only that in the upcoming future). But as the AT saying goes: no pain, no rain, no Maine.