I got off to a lazy 9:30 am start, and made great time on the remainder of the flat trail along the Housatonic River, before the trail veered somewhat steeply uphill, with a bit of a rock scramble, and then back downhill towards CT 4.
As I was going down the steep hill towards the road, several trail runners passed me. One of them slowed down to my pace, and we talked a bit on the way down. The people that had just passed me, plus several more still behind me, were part of a hiking group, the Connecticut Trailmixers, currently in the process of running the AT in Connecticut over two days.
As it turned out, their support car was meeting them at CT 4, and I was invited to join them! They had water, Gatorade, pretzels, watermelon, bananas, M&Ms, cookies, and other snacks that they were all too happy to share with me. It was a little early for my first break, but I wasn't going to turn down such awesome trail magic as this.
We all chatted for a while as we ate and drank, posed for a group photo, and then eventually, we were on our way. I was the only thru-hiker who happened to be in the right place at the right time for this, so it was kind of special getting trail magic that no one else got — or even saw evidence of. (CT Trailmixers, thanks again so much for sharing your support supplies with me!)
A few miles later just after Caesar Brook Campsite, I took a cathole break, which morphed into a snack break. While I was waiting, ETA ("fire guy" from way earlier) passed, and we chatted for a bit, before he pushed on. The temperature continued to be hot, and I was in no rush to push on.
A SOBO that passed me shortly later said there was trail magic at the next road crossing (W Cornwall Rd), and sure enough, there was. In a large tub was a significant cache of snacks, peanut butter, and candy, and a second tub had band-aids, toilet paper, and some other supplies. I really wanted water or a soda, though, so while the magic was appreciated, I continued on without taking anything.
I took a break at the Pine Swamp Brook Shelter, and then continued on, making it to the Belters Campsite around 6:30. ETA and I chatted for a bit more, and I came to better understand the whole misunderstanding behind the "Did you poop on the trail?” incident. Apparently also, he ran into Beast in Front Royal and the two of them had a good conversation.
The Belters Campsite had a few mediocre tentsites. I shared a site with a SOBO, Moldy Beans, who was hammocking. Between water being slow to gather from a slow-flowing shallow spring, and my chat with ETA, I didn't get finished with dinner until after sunset, almost 9 pm!
The trail today was pretty nice, except for the hills. Which is to say, except for the heat, I had a good day.