July 5th, 2013
As I mentioned in the previous post, the Bearded Woods, Bunk and Dine is a one of a kind hostel. The place is super clean, provides both dinner and breakfast and laundry service shuttles and slack-packing. The house is located about a 1/2 mile from the AT on a wooded hillside outside the village of Sharon in the Connecticut countryside. The owners located the house over two years ago when searching the area to start a hostel.
The former owner had suddenly become ill and passed on, leaving the house wide open and soon in disrepair. It was general knowledge also that the former owner fed the local bear population and Hudson and Lu have fairly frequent sightings of bear in their yard. One notable visitor is Billy Bob, a full-grown male bear who basically believes that this is his mountain.
Out of the abandon house, Hudson and Lu have created a neat place offering most of the comforts of home to those who enter. Lu is a great cook and both she and Hudson have enjoyed meeting hikers years hailing from 38 states and 6 countries in the 2 1/2 years of operating the hostel.
You may have noticed today’s destination is home. Over the past week I became bothered with a sore on my shoulder right under my backpack strap. At first I thought I must have gotten a sunburn but after getting to a bed and breakfast and thorough inspection with a mirror, I realized it was much worse than I thought. Apparently the Deet spray I was using over the past month had caused a chemical burn and the backpack strap caused heat and friction, resulting in a deep chemical burn. The strap was also not very clean and the wound had become infected with pus oozing out and was very painful. There was no way I was going to be able to continue wearing the backpack and get the wound to heal and get rid of the infection.
Denise and I talked Wednesday night, deciding to wait until morning to see if there was any improvement in it by the next day. But by morning I could see that it was not going to heal even in a week, so I made the decision to end my hike and called home.
I enjoyed the hiking tremendously, the scenery, the adventure and most of all of the wonderful people I met along the way. Sometimes I think that too often we hear about the negative acts people do but here on the trail I have seen how kind, generous and giving people are to perfect strangers. I think this was the greatest gift that the trail gave to me.
I plan to return to finish the hike in sections with Denise slack-packing me. When I think about what part of the trail I enjoyed the most, it was the days that she was there with a hot cup of coffee to greet me at the end of the day, or eating dinner with her at a local eatery, or going to the local drive-in theater with her. I appreciate everyone’s support, comments and interest in my hike. I feel truly blessed to be a part of it all.