Today was our last day on trail. It ended up being a half day of hiking.
When we awoke there were three deer eating in the tenting field. They kept their distance, but continued grazing.
It was cold this morning. I didn’t want to get out of my quilt.
We climbed up Shenandoah Mountain. There were views overlooking Canopus Lake. At the summit there’s an American flag painted on the rock slabs in memory of the 9-11 attacks.
I was excited to see the RPH shelter. I’d seen it on many AT videos. It didn’t disappoint.
The RPH (Ralph’s Peak Hiker Cabin) shelter is close to a road, so you can order pizza or Chinese delivery.
RPH had mowed lawns, a garden, tables, chairs, and a covered patio. And of course, the famous feet coming down from the ceiling. There’s a convenient water pump as well. The sign does say to still filter the water.
We met a group of three section hikers, Rock Hater (formerly Rock Hopper), Grandaddy (formerly Grandaddy Longlegs), and Just Greg. We talked for awhile. Two of them were former thru hikers.
We encountered a few light sprinkles, which was much better than the forecasted rain, high winds, and thunderstorms. This was the sunniest day overall during our hike.
Several months later, when I looked at the photos the of the vegetation at RPH, it was much more sparse than I remembered. The gardens at RPH had looked so vibrant and alive to me after a long Maine winter. Seeing plants springing to life in APRIL! gave me hope that spring would soon come to Maine.
I didn’t recognize our car when we arrived back at our destination, the AT parking lot off NY Rt 52. I thought we still had further to go. We hadn’t seen any hikers, except at RPH. I saw our car and thought, “Someone else is out hiking. We might run into them!”
Now our car is very plain and common, but the bigger reason is that we came into the parking lot in a different way than I was expecting. In 2018, I had finished a south bound section hike at this same parking lot. But the trail had gone right through the parking lot at that time. A small, reroute had happened since then and the parking lot is now slightly off trail. It doesn’t take much to throw me off.
After arriving at the car, we cleaned up as best we could and headed to the Mountain Top Deli, a half mile down the road from the parking lot. We both had meatball subs for lunch before driving home. Our trail miles today totaled 10.1 miles.