Damien has been having an allergic reaction to an unknown allergen - maybe down? maybe evergreen trees? - for the duration of our trip. The symptoms are puffy and itchy eyes. This has become an ongoing issue for Damien, whenever he’s in the woods, for the last 5 years.
He’s been using medication in the woods and eating an anti-inflammatory and immune-building diet at home and on the trail. Even so, his eyes have been getting progressively worse on this trip. Poor guy.
This morning his eyes are really bad. One eye is almost closed, it’s so puffy.
So we’ve made the decision to end our hike a day early, using the side trails on Mansfield to leave the Long Trail and get down to the car this afternoon instead of tomorrow.
This will be our last day on the trail.
Day 8, another day begins on the Long Trail.
Watching the sun rise from Puffer Shelter, south of Mount Mansfield.
We shared the shelter last night with 3 other hikers, 2 Nobos and 1 Sobo.
I had a bad sleep last night. My sleeping mat has a leak. In fact, it had a leak from the start of the trip. The first night I had to add air 3 or 4 times in the night.
I didn’t check my gear before I left, my bad. My pillow, borrowed from Brienne, also didn’t hold air.
The sleeping mat situation has gotten progressively worse so that last night I had to blow it up every 1.5 hours, ugh.
Note to self: check all your gear before you head out in your next trip.
Because of my interrupted sleep I didn’t get up to watch the sunrise with my shelter mates. I was too cranky about my poor sleep but I took this photo from my sleeping bag. This is an amazing morning view.
I wash myself at the end of most hiking days, unless it’s too cold or rainy or we get into camp late and just don’t have time. But most often I do a sponge bath with my wash cloth, some trail soap and a cup of water.
Tonight we have a flowing creek at camp, a luxury for washing up.
Washing every day makes me feel human and I love going to bed clean.
Even though I wear the same smelly dirty and often wet clothes (from rain, sweat or both) every day, I sleep dry, warm and clean.
It’s pretty chilly tonight so as soon as I finished washing it was tights and warm layers for the evening.
First day with new shoes.
I didn’t realize when I left Montreal to hike the Long Trail that the tread on my shoes was wearing thin. On Camel’s Hump I realized how thin the bottom of my shoes had worn.
It was not particularly safe and when I realized how thin my soles were I lost my confidence on the rocks (in part because I lost my footing a couple times).
So when we went into Waterbury for our resupply I also bought new shoes. Damien called around to see what was available and we found a decent Saucony trail runner with only 4mm drop, on sale even!
I was nervous about wearing new shoes partway through a hike. I’m so used to my new balance minimus - a brand and model I’ve been wearing for years.
But I’m happy with these shoes after a day of mud and rocks and roots. So much better traction. Will test them on Mount Mansfield tomorrow.