We woke up in the woods behind the Dartmouth soccer field with wet tents, a wicked margarita hangover, and the sounds of girls soccer practice. A dozen or so hikers were in various stages of breaking camp; hanging tents and other items to dry. DB and I left everything where it was and moseyed over to the cafe for breakfast. A number of hikers were there ruminating about reasons they should zero and stay another day. Hanover is a really cool town. A hiker named Tengo Hombre said that he was on his third zero there and that he took his tent down each day but never quite got out of town. We call these places vortex towns. You just can’t get out. By the time Dancing Bear and I broke camp and dried everything out, it was 1130. We agreed that we should at least get the hiker free slice of pizza at Ruminati’s before we leave. We ran into JP and Dove there and enjoyed a couple beers and slices.
And then we escaped the vortex and hiked out at about 1:30. We left many hikers behind, but we got out. Luckily for us the hiking was quite easy. One 900 foot ascent over a mile and a half is the worst that we had to contend with. We hiked a pretty easy eleven miles and then ducked into a shelter jammed with some sort of Dartmouth kumbyya orientation trip. There were about a dozen of them eating tacos by the campfire. I threw my chicken tenders on the fire to warm them up and a bunch of them asked me if that was meat. I said yeah, theyre chicken tenders. They were drooling over them so I asked whether they had meat in their tacos. They said oh no that would not be inclusive to someone who might be vegetarian. So I said: “you mean you all are going to go without meat because one of you might be vegetarian?! That’s fucked up.” I guess that I have become that cranky old guy that doesn’t understand the younger generation because three of them simultaneously said to me “dude, it’s 2017, what’s your problem?” One of them was one of kids drooling over my tenders. I shrugged and shared my tenders with Dove and Deathstar while the kids commenced to discuss– at length– what was the fairest way to determine who should clean the bean pan. I left for my tent while that weighty debate wore on. Happy trails.