We ended up having a great night's sleep at the Winturri Shelter, as the low only got to about 64, which is kind of perfect, with the lightweight bags we are sleeping under right now. We decided to get an earlier start, because the day was so long and warm (I hesitate to use the word "hot," because I am very aware of how hot it is back home, and we are nowhere near that) yesterday, and we wanted to get as much hiking done in the cool of the day as we could.
The day would be kind of tough, with the first half of the day having an lot of good size roller coasters, and the second half of the day being more dowhill than up (always a relief). About 4 miles into the day, we came to a road that had a country store on it, and they had posted a sign on the trail, "Ice cream, soda, etc, only 190 steps up the road." We of course, headed that way, but soon discovered that it did not open til 10, and we got there about 8 in the morning. There was a beautiful clear creek there, and so we stopped and filtered water.
We hiked on, and noticed that about lunch time we would cross a second road that had the Cloudland Market on it. When we reached there, we walked up, and there was a closed sign out front, but a hiker was on the front porch with a cold drink. He told us that the restaurant was closed because the owner was on vacation, but that they were selling cold drinks and ice cream. Not a total loss. It was a really warm day, and so we really enjoyed anything cold! We ate our usual lunches, and then finished it off with the cold treats.
At one point, we passed a group of trees in the forest that had rubber tubing connecting them. The only thing we could guess is that it had to do with making maple syrup. Later, when we reached town, we found out that our guess was correct. They connect a vacuum to the tubing and actually suck it out of the trees, and it travels through the tubing so they can collect it easier.
There we're a few more highlights to the day - we crossed our last fence stile on the trail, and we stopped and soaked our feet in a truly perfect stream. The rocks were just so perfect for resting on!
We hiked on, and the rest of the afternoon wasn't so bad, but the mileage was off from what our guide said, and we could tell the day was a lot longer than we were expecting. We finally reached the small village of West Hartford, Vermont, where people were swimming in the river below as we crossed the bridge. We had been told we should jump from the bridge (mostly by the younger hikers), but we were most focused on food and tenting. We had been told the Full Belly Deli was located here, and that just a few doors down, we could tent in the backyard of a couple that had a commercial sign company, that the husband was a former hiker, and catered to the AT hikers passing by his house. All of this was correct. We soon found ourselves at the home of a very generous couple, who had turned their large shady backyard into a hiker's paradise, complete with swimming hole (fed by a creek) ,fire pit, and lots of brightly colored adirondack chairs. We pitched our tents, and walked back down to the deli and had a really delicious supper. I was just beat from the day before, and after we returned to the tents, I called my mom to check in, and literally, closed my eyes and went to sleep. I remember looking at my phone, and it was 8:11. Everyone else sat outside around the fire pit until about 9 (so I was told), and the owners, Kathy and Captain Stash sat around and visited with everyone. Those sure were some super nice folks. Sunkist and Roller ended
up camping there also.