After running into Mammoth and deciding to walk between the triple crown, I came across a trailhead with a map kiosk. (where the trail passes the train you can take into NYC I think) The map showed a zoomed out view of the trail, and coming up soon was going to be one of the closest points on the trail to the Atlantic. Just inside CT the trail passes near to US7 which is almost a straight shot to a beach, in the days leading up to Bull’s Bridge I scrambled a plan with the little resources I had. Basically the AWOL AT guide, which pointed that there was a convenience store a little bit down the way. Got up, set a cache and headed out before dawn to the convenience store, figuring I’d find a map there and plan my route and where I’d pick up extra food since this was off my ration plan. Everything worked out fine, for the most part, US7 turned into a limited access highway by danbury, without me noticing and I got kicked off by a cop. Just sorta wandered south through danbury asking directions every so often till I happened upon an Eastern Mountain Sports.
The EMS was a bit surpised to see a thru-hiker walk this far off trail, there was a staff member who was an AT ’14 thru-hiker, Pockets. Another thru-hiker, K2 stopped in to EMS while I was there, he was taking a break near home and was surprised to see that I had walked from trail. Pockets bought me a dinner on her break and pointed out a place a little farther along the way where I’d be able to stealth camp. She had me come to her parents house the next morning for food and laundry, it was excellent! They had a ton of big dogs who were great and I’m sure loved the smells of the world I was trafficking around with me. She drove me back out to my route and I kept trucking on through NYC exurbs. I got kinda lost coming into Norwalk but after a little wandering I got a ride from a couple of people who’d been sitting out enjoying the summer day, Henry and Benny (Benny had an accent and I am not sure if his name was Benny or Bunny…) gave me a ride to the beach, I had gotten close then made a wrong turn and crossed a bridge away from the beach.
Pleassantly surprised at how early I made the beach, I could get a fair bit of rest before tomorrow’s return trip. I spent the afternoon hanging out with the lifeguards as they cycled through their break schedules. Foolishly telling them I’d have this blog up soon after finishing the AT, took almost 2 months for it to start working. They gave me a Norwalk Lifeguard shirt and wished me well, as they got off shift and the beach was vacated. I cowboy camped just above the high tide beneath a clear sky. In the morning I woke and readied to leave before the dawn, and at first light I waded out and started back towards the Pacific. Before getting off trail I had hoped to make it only 2 days of trail if I could, I made it in 3, quicker than I should’ve expected, got better help dodging the offlimits portion of US7 this time, and made the AT near dark. It was a whirlwind, I practically ran a lot of those miles, finally picked up replacement tips for my trekking poles, randomly saw K2 like 30 miles off trail, and just met a ton of helpful friends.