We shared the shelter with Shepherd last night, who currently has his truck near the trail. He parks at a trailhead, does a four or so day section hike, then hitches back to his truck to go to the next section. I met Shepherd back at Trail Days and had just recently run into him again. He mentioned this morning that his truck was at the next road if we needed anything. After hiking out, I realized I could go pick up my new pack in Stratton, and ran back to the shelter just in time to catch him. Everyone else wanted to go to town today too so we arranged to borrow his truck. We’d all get to town easily, I could pick up my pack, and Smiley and Lost would get the truck down to where Shepherd was coming out of the trail tomorrow.

It was a 4.6 mile hike over Old Speck Mountain and down to Grafton Notch. The sun finally came out today and there were gorgeous views of the fall colors from the mountain. I met Magellan, a 77 year old woman out day hiking, who has thru hiked twice before and currently holds the record for oldest female thru hiker from her 2007 hike.

We got down to the parking lot and into the truck. Luckily Shepherd had a Maine atlas in it because I had no signal to get directions on my phone, and there was no street sign on the road we needed. We really are in the middle of nowhere out here so there is no direct route anywhere. It took 45 minutes to get to Andover, where we found the Cabin hostel where Smiley had his mail drop.

I finally had a signal to check directions and found out it was an hour and a half drive to Stratton. Again, we are in the middle of nowhere. That was way farther than I planned on driving but we were already in town with the truck so I figured I might as well go. My current pack had a stay pop out last week and has been very uncomfortable. It’s still a four or five day hike to Stratton so it would be nice to have my new pack for that.

First we all went back into town to grab lunch at the Andover General Store and Diner. Then I dropped everyone else back off at the Cabin and went on to Stratton. There was beautiful foliage all along the drive and I saw a moose! I made it into Stratton to pick up my new pack and ran into some hikers there that I hadn’t seen in a while since they are a few days ahead of me on the trail. I chatted with them a little bit, resupplied at the grocery, and got on my way again. On the way back, I stopped at a scenic overlook to watch the sunset.

I finally made it back to the hostel in Andover late, and still had to eat dinner, shower, do laundry, and play with my new pack. Driving around all day is not how I pictured my relaxing nero, but at least now I have the pack and am resupplied. It would have been a hard hitch into town to resupply since the road the trail crosses sees very little traffic, but having a vehicle near the trail is always more trouble than it sounds like.