We woke up at the Stratton Pond Shelter. We didn’t get very much sleep at all last night. Ryan and I were sleeping on top bunk platform… I think I struggled to really sleep becasue I was scared that I was going to fall off of the bunk. The kids were in the loft, and with each toss and turn, I feared that they would fall.
We got out of bed at about 7:30. Many of the hikers were already preparing to head out of the shelter. Sometimes it is wisest to just wait for the masses to clear in order to avoid misplaced gear or unnecessary chaos. So, that is exactly what we did.
We didn’t clean the dinner dishes, so I set to doing that while Riley went to gather water. Everyone else was diligently gathering up their gear. We all ate bars for breakfast, and passed on the hot chocolate in order to get going.
Riley was taking an abnoramally long time to get water, so Ryan went to find him. For a period of about 10 minutes we feared that he was lost. Thankfully, he came strolling up the path to the shelter, and everyone was able to breathe a little lighter. Losing a child in the woods… now that is a nightmare I dont even want to imagine.
Once we were all together, fed, and ready to head out… a fellow hiker offered to take a picture of all of us.
We set out to make it to Manchester Center today, though we were flexible in our plans. We were OK. We weren’t great, but we were ready to face the day. We weren’t .2 miles down the trail, when Zoey came dangerously close to falling in the frigid waters of Stratton Pond. Now, this is a situation we had addressed the other morning when she fell into the water, pack and all, and drenched her only warm coat. Kids will be kids… yes. But out here, that can lead to dangerous circumstances. We stopped to explain this to her the best that we could. Hopefully she now understands that it isn’t that we dont want her to have fun, but that we want her to be safe.
A few hundred feet down the trail, we were forced to follow yellow blazes as the trail had to be rerouted due to flooding. Go figure!
Then, well then, momma had a cataclysmic breakdown. If you ever thought the statement “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” was a weightless comment, I promise that it is. It might be completely unfair, but it is truth. I guess that would be one of the greatest lessons I learned today as the tension escalated, and morale desintigrated. I have the power to change the course of a day, simply by my attitude. I have the choice to view this as unfair, or to see it as a mighty opportunity and blessing. I really want to see it as the latter. Each one of us has a personal responsibility for our attitudes, but my choice to let those attitudes further affect the whole is really up to me.
Our conversation moved from getting through the day, to a heated discussion about leaving the trail. We were all divided already, and this added to the discord.
We had no choice but to walk down the road toward town. If we were going to leave the trail, we had to get to a parking lot. I am thankful for this dirt road, because we just chose to walk alone… each of us having the chance to think through what we wanted… by the end of the road, we decided to just walk the couple of miles to town. We didn’t know even on that road what we were going to do but we knew that we were going to town.
When we got to Manchester Center, we waited out a flash rain storm in the breezeway of the convenience store, while we all drank a nice cold soda. By the time that the storm had passed, we decided no further than to get our laundry done. While we were there, we decided that we would resupply and make it Rutland before going home. Ryan and I left the kids at the laundry mat, and walked over the grocery store to get some more food. While we were walking, we decided to talk to one another, and realized that we were more on the same page that we weren’t.
We went to Subway for dinner, thanks to Aunt Paula and Uncle Rick, for the visa gift card that they sent. Then we were able to hitch a ride to the hotel. We’ve never hitch hiked before, and the young men that let us all pile into their truck had never driven hitch hikers anywhere… so it was a first time experience for all of us… and we were so thankful not to have to walk another 2 miles to the hotel.
Tonight, we are at the Econolodge, letting our feet dry out and getting some much needed sleep. Thankfully, we had some points that allowed us to get one of the rooms for free, and a hefty discount on the second room thanks to Veterans Advantage.
The trail is hard. There are lots of moving pieces both here and at home that have to be managed. Sometimes the stress of tomorrow ruins our opportunity to enjoy today. We know that we are doing something worth doing, but we are learning that we have to just savor the day that we are in, rather than trying to carry the weight of the next several months on our shoulders. The weight in our packs is heavy enough!!!
We have survived our hardest day… and thankful that tomorrow is a new day, a clean slate, and an opportunity to laugh and make memories together!
Here is a picture from one of the view points today… Prospect Rock