Day 138- 8-6-15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 9.8 miles today (1511.2-1521.0). Today’s hike started with a steep, rocky hike up and down Mount Everett. The kind of rocky where the trail is just one big rock where you need to find a foot hold in it, not just little rocks piled up. The view from the top was nice, so that made up for it. A lot of the hike today was a blur because we had our eyes on the prize- getting into town! We stopped for a snack along the way which was a big mistake- we were swarmed with mosquitoes! We had bought some Doterra bug oil, but it was no match for the number of mosquitoes swarming us. The pharmacist in Kent had given us some Bug Away wipes, which helped a bit. I guess there’s a trade off- flat, unrocky terrain, but it goes through wetlands. Wetlands are some of my favorite part of the trail, but they can get really buggy, especially in the summer.
In Great Barrington, MA, we went to Price Chopper (a grocery store chain) to resupply and ate the largest sandwiches I’ve ever seen. They were supposedly footlong subs, but they appeared to be entire baguettes filled with fresh sliced meat and cheese. Fuego ate his whole sandwich and I saved half of mine for later. Our original intention was to get back on the trail, but the community center in town allows hikers to shower and camp there for free, so we decided to stay. Plus, wifi!
Day 139- 8-7-15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 17.6 miles today (1521.0-1538.6). The trail today started with a bit of a climb. At an overlook, we ran into East and Mezla, who we haven’t seen since Shenandoah National Park! We stopped at a shelter for lunch and as we hiked out, I realized I didn’t have either of my knee braces with me! I’m pretty sure I left them near the tent platform in the woods behind the community center in town.
On the way to the next shelter, a SOBO (southbound) hiker warned us of a recent aggressive bear encounter at our intended campsite. We decided to hike another four miles to the next campsite and by the time we got there, it was packed! On the trail, the big NOBO and SOBO hiker bubbles are colliding right now, so shelters and campsites are more full than usual. I really like running into the SOBOs. They have hiked all of the trail that we haven’t hiked yet, so they are a good resource for trail conditions, water availability and cool things to make sure to see.
Fancy Pants: We hiked 15.8 miles today (1538.6-1554.4). It’s been pretty chilly at night, so we haven’t been sleeping well. We’re excited to get our sleeping bags back in a few days! The hike before lunch today was pretty uneventful. Fuego and I were talking about our plans for after the trail, and we joked that it felt like speculating about life on another planet! It seems so far removed from our life now, but it’s really less than two months away.
A SOBO had told us to check out the Upper Goose Pond Cabin, so we decided to stop by for lunch. It’s a fairly large red cabin in the woods right on the pond. I wish we were here for the night! A caretaker is there and they serve blueberry pancakes for breakfast. The current caretaker has a lab mix who was carrying a leftover pancake around the cabin, trying to find the perfect place to eat it. She was so cute! After lunch, we saw a sign for free beer and pizza at a trailhead parking lot. I was so full from lunch, so Fuego decided to check it out and I decided to hike up the mountain and wait for him. Of course the first time that we split up on the trail and the first time I turned down trail magic, our friends are the ones hosting! We camped along a creek with Wind, Lorax, Bluto, Young Gun and Rainbow. Wind, Lorax and Bluto had a bunch of fresh veggies from town and roasted them on the fire to made a pasta dish with fresh sauce. It was delicious!
Fancy Pants: We hiked 14.7 miles today (1554.4-1569.1), 9.5 miles of which were slackpacked. Seems like we’re having a trend here with chilly mornings. Definitely in New England now. We stopped at “the cookie lady’s” house for a break. There, Young Gun got in touch with Rob Bird, a trail angel who was staying in the area. Rob picked up our packs and we slackpacked to Dalton, MA. Hiking without a pack is always great! From Warner Hill, we had our first view of Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts. We talked to Wind and Lorax on the hike down. They plan to move to Utah when they get off the trail, but like us, are still undecided on what type of jobs they want to pursue in the long run.
In Dalton, Rob picked us up and took us to the cabin he rented so we could shower before dinner. We loaded into the van and headed to Old Country Buffet. I hadn’t been there since high school, but it was delicious! It was Rob’s last night in town and he paid for everyone’s meal as a celebration. Thank you, Rob!
Fancy Pants: We slackpacked 8.8 miles today (1569.1-1577.9). Rob took us to the Dalton General Store where we bough the best breakfast sandwiches we’d had in a really long time. We met up with our friend Kush who had Mushu and Janezilla’s car and was offering to slackpack hikers. Everyone else slacked up Mount Greylock, but we stopped in Cheshire, MA. Our friend Dani from college gave us contact info for her aunt in Cheshire who is letting us stay the night there. Elizabeth moved back to Cheshire from NYC for a slower pace of life and also to care for her mom, Pauline. We ate some raspberries from the garden and they were the biggest, juiciest raspberries we’ve ever had! I also had the best sleep I’d had in at least a week.
Fuego: we hiked 14.7 miles today (Mile 1577.9 – 1592.6). We woke up early so we could have Elizabeth drop us off before work. It was raining and the forecast said 100% rain for most of the day. We had cereal for breakfast and headed out soon after. It rained the whole time while climbing up Mt. Greylock. I eventually stopped trying to dodge puddles and just hiked through them. We were soaked and it got really cold once the wind kicked in near the summit. Thankfully there was an old small cabin by a pond where we could snack and warm up a little. Once we made it to the summit the rain started to lighten up which made things way better. Unfortunately, there was no view due to the clouds, but at least we hit the highest point in Massachusetts. Climbing down we both slipped on separate occasions with our feet up in the air and landing straight on our packs. No harm was done, so we got a good laugh over it. We also summited Mt. Williams which was cool for us.
Coming down the mountain towards Williamstown I contacted Bluto, Wind and Lorax. They decided to take a zero at the hotel and they invited us over to stay for the night. We were so thankful because we were soaked and we couldn’t afford a hotel room on our own. Hotels are not cheap and the taxes are brutal.
Once we got to town, we stopped by Papa Johns first. This Papa Johns offered 50% discount to thru hikers! We got the largest pizza and ate all of it on site with no problem. As we walked to the hotel, an old man pulled over and offered us a ride to the hotel without us sticking our thumbs out. At the hotel was Bluto, Wind, Lorax, Young Gun, Rainbow, El Mundo, and Spaghetti. This was the most packed hotel room I’ve ever been in, but it made the room cheap for everyone. Getting showers and dry clothes on was the highlight. We lounged out all day in the room and it was perfect.
Fancy Pants: In order to keep my mind occupied while hiking today, I wrote a poem, sung to the tune of “On Top of Spaghetti,” (or “On Top of Old Smokey” for those of you who will point out that ‘On Top of Spaghetti’ is not the original song).
Without further ado, here’s the Fancy Pants original…
On Top of Mount Greylock
On top of Mount Greylock,
Being pelted with rain,
But we’re still smiling,
And trying not to complain.
Our fingers are pruney,
And our toes are too,
With 2″ of rain today,
Not much you can do.
At the highest elevation since Shenandoah,
And the highest peak in Mass,
This 3500 foot mountain,
Totally kicked my ass!