July 31: up around 6 and a good breakfast with Stacey and Natalie.
Then Stace have us a ride back to the trail. Natalie made us promise not to stay on Glastonbury Mpuntain, as it was featured in her Weird New York book as a place of strange occurrences. We said we would.
Though we did cross Hell Hole Creek.
We did a lot of climbing today. Stopped for a break at Goddard Shelter which had the Zax by Dr Suess written out on the privy wall- the northbound and southbound Zax who are at odds with one another. Very apropos, as we are starting to run into SOBOs now. When we got to Story Brook Shelter, our stop, it was filled with SOBOs. Haven't seen a shelter this crowded since the Smokies! Vermont, you are a whole new beast.
July 30: we had a short day of hiking planned, so we slept in a little and got hiking at 8. It was cold on the morning! Glad I could stay on the sleeping bags bit longer. We did the 4.3 miles into Bennington, complete with a steep rock descent to the road. We saw Button waiting for her mom there and chatted a bit. We sat down in the grass by the parking lot and before long, my college roommate, Stacey arrived to pick us up! This trip has been like a reunion all along the way. I have spoken to, messaged, and texted Stacey, but haven't seen her in years. We went to the post office to pick up a package, to the grocery to get drinks and snacks for the night for 2 hungry hikers, and then to pick up Stacey's daughter from work. We ate at a nice cafe, and then went into Manchester Center to the outfitters. Success! Subaru got a new pole tip and I got a new copy of the AWOL guide. Then it was off to the homestead. So much to talk about, so much to catch up on! The afternoon flew and before we knew it, it was dinner time. Stephen, Stacey's husband arrived shortly later, and it was an early night for us all- everyone had early starts in the am.
July 29: We got up this morning with plans to go to the laundromat, but we found out it was closed. May have been able to go another day without laundry had I not put my sopping wet clothes on top of my other clothes on the laundry bag. Luckily, the hotel owner said he would do laundry for us. Unluckily, it cost $8.00 per load and took until almost 11:00 to get done. So we got a late start out of town. Road Runner opted to zero in town. Back on the trail at 11:00. We went down the street, across a river, up another street and up somebody's driveway (????) to get back in the woods. We started the day in the woods with a long, steady climb. We climbed and climbed and climbed! A few steep parts, a few rocky parts, but for the most part, gradual. We got passed by Ponybear and Indy (I'm so slow) but met up with them at the Vermont border. Vermont! 3 more states to go! We ate lunch at the border on a rock, swatting mosquitoes away. Then we stepped into our 12th state. Vermont started out real forest-path-y. Pine needles, some rocks, lots of mud, lots of roots, and flat parts interspersed with ups and downs. This is the terrain my feet like! And everything smelled like piney Christmas trees! We stopped again for a snack at the power lines and for the first time in a long while, felt a bit chilled in the wind when we stopped moving. We ate, studied the book, and tried to figure out what we should plan for in Vermont. I took the lead hiking after that. We descended, through a bog, past a pond, by many streams. More ups and downs, and then the climb up to the shelter. We had a nice surprise at the shelter- Funkytown was here! And trail magic left at the shelter- s'mores fixings. It was a nice evening of hanging out and catching up, making s'mores, Bootless played the guitar and he and FireHazard sang. Then I saw that below me in the bunk was Double D, who we hadn't seen since Harper's Ferry. Nice night.
July 28: today is the day of our big climb. We also hope to get some miles in, so we leave camp by 6:30. We descend into the town of Cheshire; Subaru had been hoping to visit the outfitter, but on Sunday morning, there are no signs of life save for a bicycle race on the street. Nobody but hikers and bikers! We find a gas station open on the other end of town, close to where the trail re-enters the woods. So we stop for sodas, chocolate milk, and snacks. Subaru has his first whoopie pie ever. Back on the trail, we begin a long gradual 3000 foot climb. Overall, the terrain is still pretty agreeable and rock free. A couple steep parts, but overall gradual. About 30 minutes before we summit, it starts raining. About 15 minutes later, it starts downpouring. We reach the summit lodge drenched and chilly. Inside, we hang our packs, change into dry clothes and hang our wet clothes by the fireplace to dry. We go to the dining room and have hot chocolates and hot lunches. As we eat, the rain stops and the skies clear. Happily, we actually get a view instead of the cloud banks we walked in with.
Then we begin our descent. At first, it's pretty mellow, though wet. Then we hit some steep areas where I occasionally turn around and lower myself down backwards, ladder style. The terrain levels out and we have a 2-3 mile level walk into the town of Williamstown. About 40 minutes before we arrive, it starts downpouring. The trail dumps us out onto a street in a residential neighborhood and we take cover in the front entrance of a school as the rain turns into a thunderstorm. Flipping through pur book, we find a hotel that will pick us up and we call from the school. Williamstown Inn is one of the nicer hotels we've seen pn the trail. And the staff is really nice. They tell us about a Mexican reastaurant, Desperados that has certain dishes free to hikers. Of course we head over!
Great day of hiking. Great night of eating. And a warm, comfortable bed to sleep in.
July 24: We decided to hit the trail early since we had ended early the day before. Packed and hiking by 6:30. We soon found out that our early finish yesterday was a blessing in disguise, as the next campsite and next shelter were very buggy. As was the trail. Lots of boardwalks, lots of mud, lots of mosquitoes. Lots of Deet. Not a lot of rocks, though, so that made my feet happy. We came through a park on our descent from Mt Everett to trail magic, which is always nice.
Foggy view from Mt Everett
Trail Magic. Then we went by a gorgeous, totally swimmable pond. Figures, since it was drizzly. Where were these ponds when we really needed them? A bit more steep terrain, and then out onto the road to Great Barrington. We got a text from Road Runner that he was zeroing in GB, we had caught up! Plus a text from Pachouli that she had pulled a couple zeroes, getting treatment for an infected chafing wound. Ouch! We got a hotel room, showered, and walked to tend laundromat, which was conveniently located next to the grocery store for resupply. Back at the hotel, we dried out our tents and other wet gear, and then headed out with RR to The Gypsie Joynt for dinner. What a cool place! It was decorated like a 60's hippy hangout and had a great, diverse menu. I funded up going veggie with veggie chili and veggie hash plate. The lentil patty was to die for! I gotta find a recipe for that after I get back. It was open mike night there, so we had some good entertainment while we ate. Cool town.
July 27: Sub & I leave the campsite at 7:30, Road Runner having his coffee, he will catch us later. This morning, we go 3 miles to visit "the cookie lady". She lives right off the trail and has blueberry bushes, ice cream & soda for sale, and often plates of homemade cookies for hikers. We arrive moments after they open in the morning, another hiker is tenting on their yard. Though the cookie lady is not around this morning, her husband, the cookie guy is. We grabbed a bucket and picked 2 pounds of blueberries, then bought a soda and ice cream each.
The next miles are flat and fast- we go over some boardwalks and on some forest paths. Then down a long winding descent into Dalton. The trail goes through town and we stop at a sub shop where we join Road Runner for subs. After we eat, then we have a big climb. We are trying to go a little faster, as we have seen a few weekend groups on the trail and we want to ensure ourselves a spot at the campsite. As it is, we are the first ones to arrive. A little buggy tonite, glad to be in the tent.
July26: Early start, as we had planned the night before- hiking at 6:30. Stopped for water first chance we got, after that, water was quite plentiful. We actually walked through some wetlands over boardwalks for a while. We stumbled across some trail magic- Little Debbie honeybuns and oatmeal pies- and sat on a log to eat. Passed by another swimmable pond, but again, the weather is so picture perfect and fall- like, it seems like the thing to do is walk as much as possible. Next summer I will have to stay on a lake in a cabin to make up for it. We go down a steep descent and then end up walking over the footbridge over the Mass Pike. Woo hoo!
By now, my feet are absolutely killing me and I've figured out its the insoles I bought in Great Barrington. I take them out and put the original insoles back in after soaking my feet in a stream for a few minutes. We go over an unwelcome rocky, roller-coastery section and then stop for water, as our intended shelter has an unreliable water source. At the shelter, October Mountain Shelter, we run into a couple weekenders and a couple section hikers. Plus, we have once again caught up with Road Runner. Another crisp night- good for sleeping.
July 25: Sub &I had a couple errands to do around town, so we ate the hotel provided breakfast, walked down the road to the post office and outfitters, and then returned to the hotel for checkout. We started hitching and who should pull over to give us a ride, but Miss Janet! Miss Janet runs a hostel in Erwin, TN and takes in dogs when their owners hike through the Smokies. And here she was, driving her psychedelic van around Mass. We surmised that she must follow the hikers north on her van, providing shuttle service and dog care, and then return to TN when the southbounders arrive. In any case, I was happy for the ride. As always when leaving a town, the day began with a big climb. We ran into a bunch of trail maintainers, teenagers, sporting Tshirts that said "the Greenagers". Pretty cool. We hung out with them for a while at a viewpoint. Terrain is getting much less rocky, my feet are grateful. I still get sore on the balls of my feet, but less so than before. I guess sore feet are just par for the course. We end up at a shelter with a bad water source, but those feet are telling me we've done enough for the day. We ration the water and decide to stop at the first water source tomorrow, 1.5 miles away. We are sharing the shelter with a group that started at the end of February! Gotta limit those double zeroes! For the first time in a while, I sleep inside, rather than on top of my sleeping bag. Getting further north.
July 23: Up and walking through downtown Falls Village at 7:30. Sleepy little town- nothing open and no cars on the road at this time. We walked through a park, into the woods, and again followed the river for a few miles.
Started getting a few gentle ups and downs, and then a steep climb over rocky terrain to Connecticut's highest point, Bear Mountain. (Another one. Hang tight, we have a few more Bear Mountains to climb!) Then it was over Lion's Head, not as high, but much steeper climb.We stopped for a snack at the top, but noticed the clouds were rapidly moving in so we hightailed it off the peak. Rain came gently at first- felt rather good after all the heat we've been experiencing- but then turned into a downpour with thunder and lightening. We pulled into a shelter to wait out the rain and finish our interrupted snack. After the rain petered out, we finished the steep, rocky descent down from Lion's Head. Going was slow, as the rocks were still wet and slippery from the rain, slowing our pace way down. We walked into a ravine next to a river, crossed the river and lo-and-behold:
I was in my home state!
As you can see, I was quite happy about it! We continued along the rocky ravine, and I started getting tired with sore feet. Even though we did not have full packs yesterday, the 24 miles had worn me out. We ended up stopping earlier than planned at Laurel Ridge Campsite, where we turned in early on elevated tent platforms amongst the wet, wet trees.
Hi, I'm Heather, AKA "Pink Lady". Welcome to my blog. I'm so excited to share my adventures as I embark on a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. While you're here, be sure to check out the charity I'm hiking for: Devoted2Children a great organization which funds a home for orphaned children in Haiti.