I woke up to rain. Because how else could the road walking get any worse? It was mostly light rain so I just had my jacket on and not my rain skirt. Suddenly it started coming down much harder though, and my pants were soaked before I could even move to get my rain skirt out. An older gentleman actually pulled over to see if everything was alright and I had to tell him, “Yes, sir, I’m hiking on purpose right now.”

I finished section one (Far North) of seven on the route today. It ended at Union Falls Pond Dam, which had a lovely view. It stopped raining for a bit there so I could actually enjoy a break.

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As I finished the last few miles of road walking after that, I thought about getting down to Quinoa‘s place in Lake Placid to take a break. I would reach it with two more days of hiking, but I actually have blisters from all this pavement, which is something that almost never happens to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cell signal to call him. I walked past a campground, closed for the season, that had some pay phones outside, but I didn’t have any change, and how much does a pay phone cost these days any way? I thought about hitching down, but it was kind of a long hitch so I told myself to suck it up and just get there later.

After about 47 miles of road walking, I finally jumped into the woods. And not on a trail either, but straight to bushwhacking. I’ve never done any bushwhacking before so I was a little nervous, but I had my map and compass and guidebook, and gps on my phone for backup.

I reached a different branch of the brook than I was aiming for but it still led me where I needed to go. It was fairly brushy so it took me about an hour to do half a mile. I was so happy to pop out on the snowmobile trail I was looking for. First bushwhacking: success! It was fairly short as far as cross country sections go but it gave me a little more confidence to do the longer sections coming up.

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The snowmobile trail led to a closed state campground at Taylor Pond. I planned on just camping there any way after 16 miles, but there were some kids hanging out by the water so I asked if I could catch a ride with them into town. They were headed to Wilmington, halfway to my destination, so they said sure. We finally reached a place where I had cell signal to call Quinoa and it went right to voicemail. I left him a message and just hoped he was at work and would be turning on his phone soon. I still couldn’t get a hold of him when we got to Wilmington so they took me all the way to Lake Placid. Still no Quinoa, so they dropped me at a motel.

I decided to wait a little longer before getting a room in the hopes that he would call me so I wandered down the street looking for a place to hang out. There was an open pizza place so I went in on the off chance that they knew him. Hikers do love their pizza. They did not know him but said I could hang out and wait there. I called some motels for prices and had just realized I never ate dinner and stood up to get a slice when Quinoa walked in!

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I barely recognized the town version of him but it was definitely him. He had never been to that particular pizza place before, and in fact had walked by his favorite pizza place to get there. Trail magic! We got a pizza and headed back, and I am all set for a rest day.