AUGUST 18 and 19. Although it’s wonderful out on the trail, even when it’s difficult, I need to go into a town every few days to get more food, take a shower, revise gear, and take care of internet tasks! It’s easy to consider that the trail and the town are two different worlds, separate and incompatible. The more I adopt a Hiking Lifestyle, however, the more the two worlds blend, becoming dependent on each other and equally important in sustaining me wholly. Here’s a taste of how a town stop works.
About 6:30 p.m. John and I reached the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and Maine S. R. 15. We had already decided that we would go ahead into town rather than spend another night camping out near the trailhead. Even though our food bags were almost empty (We had a couple of servings each of hummus and mashed potatoes), the attraction of having a quiet, restful night on the trail inspired us to poke into the side trails near the road, looking for a tent site. Road noise, however, had already penetrated the forest, canceling out the allure of staying out. We emerged from the forest and encountered the road!
In Monson, a popular hiker destination is Shaw’s Hiker Hostel. John called there to request a pickup at the trailhead, with “Poet” responding, “We’ll be right there!”
By 7 p.m. we were at the hostel, getting a tour and choosing a room. It was an easy choice between a double bed in the hallway loft and a double bed in the Mini-Bunk room where no other guests were staying. Poet welcomed us and we carried our packs up to the room. Now, our town stop could begin in earnest!
For me, focus is the key between having a restful and productive stop and a frazzled, incomplete one. It’s easy to get caught up in the social hubub of the hostel, meeting everyone, watching T.V., getting online, etc., but then the important chores can get skipped. We focused and stuck with the priorities we had discussed on the last mile before town.
1. Plug in the phone and battery charger
2.Choose clothes from the “loaner rack” to wear while ours are in the wash
3.Take a shower (prewash socks in the shower!!!)
4.Unpack and stack gear neatly on a shelf
6.Do gear revision tasks (this time it was to remove the door flap from the tarp to reduce its weight by a few ounces)
7.Deep clean the cookpot and spoons
8.Start communication tasks – Facebook, organizing notes, etc.
9.Take a walk down the one street in town to the one open gas station for sandwiches and ice cream.
10. Get to sleep around 11p.m.
11. Wake up at 5:30 and outline the day’s tasks, creating an intention for rest and ease
12. Join in the breakfast at 7:00 – it’s a big one!! Eggs, homefries, pancakes
13. Spend one more hour resting on the soft bed before 9 a.m. room checkout
14.Choose and organize the gear we are willing to send home (lightens the packs by 2 pounds!)
15.Shop at Pete’s Place for additional food to bring our food weight to 15 pounds for our 5-day section (She has fresh local apples and peaches, old fashioned oats, pouches of chicken!)
16.Go back to the hostel and shop at Poet’s Gear shop for a few more food items
17.Complete the packing and weigh our packs (4 pounds less than last section, whoohoo!)
18.Visit the local library to write this post
Now, it’s going on 3:30 p.m. and we feel ready to go back out to the trail. We’ll make an easy beginning to our next section by walking only 3 miles to a campsite near the East Pisquataquis River, giving ourselves another restful night. One more stop at the hostel for a last shower and settling our bill with Poet and Hippy Chick, hostel proprietors will make us completely ready!
Town stop done and satisfying! Back to the forest and walking in Nature!