Polycro rainflies.

I’ve recommended polycro tarps several times.

Here is one in action.

It had shock cord at the corners (connected with a sheetbend knot) and a ridge line.

In this case I set up a copper Spur 2p tent up under it in the rain—set up dry and was dry in the morning.

The tarp weighs less than the extra weight a wet tent has.

I would usually set it up a little higher so that there is a little airflow between the tent and the tarp. The pitch of the tarp in the picture was not optimal.

The way the available trees and such were it was hard to reach up high enough to get the space given the rise I got from the tent platform and how tired I was that night.

The picture was taken the following morning. That is my food dry sack brought back to the tent and my backpack sticking out.

You can also make this into an ultra light tent by using just a bug net with the tarp and using the tarp like you would use the outer layer of a tent/rain fly. Ounces for pounds.

For a ten dollar window film kit (I get the heavy duty ones) it is a great item to have available.

For more, including links on how to make one and other uses for polycro:

And someone else doing the same thing (photograph used with permission):

That is a larger 20’x10’ sheet of polycro but the same principle.


This is the sort of heavy duty window film you can buy at Home Depot or Amazon to make your rainfly with.

You can fold over the edge seam over a small plastic washer instead of making a grommet or using a sheet bend knot.

Ok. So we still have about 77 miles left.

So we had a zero at a wonderful cabin


And met with friends.

So the plan was to hike through Falls Village, Connecticut, catch a shuttle back for ShireCon 2021 and then finish.

Kind of like a couple years ago on the trail.

Good news first. Our grandchild who was exposed to Covid got through quarantine and tested negative.

But that was reason enough to go home early and put family first.

So. We have from Cornwall Bridge to Bear Mountain. Route 4 at 1481 was where we got (and got to experience knee deep fording at 1481.4.

Win hiking where the trail goes through a crack in the rock.

We had a great stretch of hiking, including the only wheelchair accessible part of the trail.

And parts that were not.

Our target is 1404/Bear Mountain, New York. about a week, without trail legs.

I’m sure we can find a week somewhere.

But that is my update.

Last night

Quoting my wife. Used with permission.

Last night, we were laying in the shelter. Just the two of us. I was reading and Steve was asleep already.

Something screamed some weird scream in the forest.

Then, there were coyotes yipping and howling in the distance. Sounded like quite the party.

And an owl and his buddy started wooting — and the coyotes quit.

Then the frogs decided to hold some sort of Saturday Night Jamboree.

Add a mouse up in the rafters that was chewing and chewing. The more I heard of the chewing, the more I worried about my backpack that was hanging on a nail from a low rafter.

Finally, stumbling out of the sleeping quilt, and waking up Steve, I move my pack. Then I move Steve’s pack.

We both snuggled back down. The frogs started up again. And the mouse was back to chewing.

All that was missing was a Whippoorwill.

I should add that the coyotes went on for a long, long time.

On the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts

The drivers here are very kind. Stopping and waving us across roads and such.

Two days ago we met the last of the NOBO (north bound hikers) who were sure they could make it to Katahdin without flipping (which is where a hiker catches transport north and then hikes back to wherever they flipped from).

Yesterday we met out first NOBO who was planning to flip. He was headed to Manchester Center and planned to flip up to Katahdin and then hike south back to Manchester.

We’ve also met some SOBOs (south bound hikers). Two had been part of a nine person hiking group until a trail “demon” “helped” them.

They got to the bridge at Hanover. The demon kept encouraging people to keep jumping until they were all injured. Some of them it took a few jumps, some got badly hurt their first jump.

I could tell the one kid really missed their hiking group or trail family. She may not make it past Massachusetts.

Also heard that more “thru-hikers” are skipping more of the trail. It used to be lots skipped the Wildcats—it is too easy to grab a hostel shuttle on one side and “return” to the trail on the other.

But this year a bunch skipped northern Virginia. The same people then skipped Pennsylvania. You can see how that goes.

They’re finishing the trail while people who were in the same bubble have 500 to 600 miles left to do.


It was about two years ago we were headed South (SOBO) in Vermont. Kept hearing people call it “Vermud” but it was wonderful with long stretches of soft, flat trail.

Of course that was also a mini drought.

Now it isn’t such a drought.

All that wonderful trail? Turns into mud.

Miles and miles of mud.

On the one hand I’m glad to get the authentic experience. And the rain and temperature drop are purging the mosquitoes.

I understand the nickname better, but I am ready for the beautiful trail section again.

Still really like Vermont though.

BYW, two years ago we were at this point:


September 5, taking a zero

Our first day we did three miles, stopping at a shelter as the rain poured down at 6:00 pm. Probably the cushiest shelter on the trail, with a door, wood stove and only two other people.

The next day we did nineteen trail miles (more with dealing with bogs and to and from shelters, privies and water sources).

Then we did about eight trail miles.

The next day we hiked eleven trail miles (and under twelve actual miles) into the trail head for a shuttle to Bennington.

Today we take a zero. Picked up resupply for our next stint which will take us through Cheshire which is on the trail and has more resupply and a free city campground.

September 1

Airport yesterday.

Win made it in at 1:15 am. We were on the road by 7:30.

JB picked us up in Tuxedo, NY and drove us to the VAST parking lot where we had hitched into Manchester Center when we headed home in 2019.

The weather shifted. Heavy rain to start at 6:00 pm instead of over night.

So we went Manchester Center to Spruce Peak Shelter. Had pepperoni quesadillas for dinner and filtered and topped up water

The weather shifted, lots of rain, so we called it a day. Lots of driving and shuttle time behind us, solid rain and, of all things, a wood stove warming this shelter up.

Time to finally catch up on sleep.

But it was a good day.