Hiking North to restock and onto Story Spring

Today is Wednesday and I am hiking 4.3 miles to the car and then going to restock and plan my hike depending on whether I can get a drop off north of the trail.  I got everything packed up and had just finished breakfast when a hiker arrived heading north.  I talked a while with them and then shared my plan about needing to be dropped off north of the trail.  This hiker mentioned that if it worked for me they would drop me off at Stratton-Arlington Road and then drive my car back to route nine for me to hike back to it.  I thought that sounded great but it meant handing my keys over to a total stranger.  I told him I would think about it and had four miles to hike before deciding about what to do.  Then we both realized that someone had left behind a hat and a bag of shirts at the shelter.  I decided to carry them out to my car and try to find out the owner.  Before leaving I filtered some water and saw an orange salamander near the stream and when I left the stream I saw another buddy along the path.  I continued to see ten more salamanders during this one day of hiking.  They were all very cute and seemed to like to walk along the path I was following.  So I hiked the 4.3 miles from 10 AM until 12:50.  Then I repacked my food and clothing and drove to Stratton-Arlington Road.  We decided to stash the hat and the shirts along the trail hung in a tree.  If I passed the owner I could then tell them where they were along the path.  Then I passed my keys to the stranger and he parked my car at route nine.  I now hiked 3.5 miles from 3:30 until 6:30 to Story Spring Shelter heading south.  I met a nice couple at the shelter, and they knew who had lost the hat!  There was a great water source at the shelter and a great number of black flies!  I ate my meal and then set up my tent and climbed inside to set up my pad and sleeping bag due to the numbers of bugs attacking me.  It was a quiet evening and I got into my sleeping bag too early and did a lot of tossing and turning before falling asleep.  Heard some odd sounds in the woods during the night.  Made many visits into the woods that night and it was annoying to constantly have to climb out of my bag and tent.

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