Cruising On: Days 41 – 52

Note: I’m behind again with this blog, but I’m trying to catch up! If anyone’s curious, this post ends with me in Vermont, but I’m writing from Maine!

Mile 497.8 – 627.9, 6/11/19 – 6/22/19

Day 41: 11.7 miles

Great Barrington to Mt. Wilcox South Shelters

We got a late start out of town. We split up to hitch out, since 5 hikers, even just showered ones, is a lot to ask of someone. Buckles and Hotman got a ride that seemed relatively normal, while Max, Twinkletoes, and I got a ride from a guy named Shaggy. To put it mildly, he really lived up to his Scooby-Doo namesake.

On trail, we all walked together for a bit. Saw a big ‘ol snapping turtle.

Shortly into our hike, we got to the 500 mile mark for Twinkletoes, Max, and I. Big thanks to Hotman for taking this great picture of us.

The rest of the group then went on ahead and I took my time, enjoying the nice pine needled filled trail and taking pictures. I was walking along, looking at the ground to not trip over roots when I heard a noise ahead of me. I looked up and there was a huge bear on the trail! He looked at me for maybe a second before running off into the woods. Guess my 5’2 and 130 lb self was enough to scare him off.

Then lunch at a shelter, where I bragged to the others about my bear sighting. Guess it pays to be slow sometimes. The rest of the walk was cool. Lots of ravines and about a mile and a half before the shelter a nice lake where we all hung out for a bit.

The shelter was the interesting loft and bunk style that was all through Massachusetts. I’m a big fan of any shelter that’s a change from the usual lean-to style.

In the shelter, we discussed the issue of Max’s lack of a trail name. Ultimately, Twinkletoes said something along the lines of “we somehow found the only salty Canadian on trail” and we knew we had found the name. Max’s one request was that his trail name was only one word. We ignored this and proceeded to name him The Salty Canadian. He goes by Salty for short though.

Day 42: 16 miles

Mt. Wilcox South Shelters to Upper Goose Pond Cabin

I woke up at 5 today, but didn’t get out of bed until 6, when I heard Devin getting up. I tend to just follow what other people do when I’m in a shelter. I never want to be the first one up, waking everyone else up. Then, on to walking. At a dirt road crossing, someone had left a cooler with beers and diet Pepsi. So of course Salty, Buckles, Hotman, Schmutz, and I all had a drink at 10 in the morning. Gotta get those calories somewhere. Schmutz is a NOBO who I last saw in New York. I had assumed he was way ahead of me, but apparently he had gotten Lyme and had to get off trail for a bit. He said he got diagnosed in Connecticut, which luckily is where he’s from, so he was able to go home for a few days while he took the antibiotics. First person I’ve met who got Lyme on trail, but I’ve heard of more.

A little while later, there was another road crossing. At this one, the people who owned a farm next to the trail had set up a stand, with snacks and soda. I got a Coke and some Cheez-its.

Then it was a pastures walk, with cows!

The shelter tonight is actually a cabin, with a caretaker, right by a nice lake. I soaked my feet in the lake while Schmutz, Hotman, and Buckles took a canoe out. It was a really peaceful way to end the evening.

Day 43: 17.6 miles

Upper Goose Pond Cabin to Kay Wood Shelter

The bunkhouse in the cabin was pretty nice to sleep in. We all slept in (for hikers), waiting for pancakes and coffee at 6:30. The caretaker does this every morning. Our caretaker was Nancy, and she explained to us that she was a volunteer, and she’s been caretaking for a week every summer for years now.

Then, off hiking. It threatened rain all morning, finally starting around 10 or so. It was cool, but not cold if I kept moving.

Passed the road the Cookie Lady’s house was supposed to be on, but Hotman, Salty, and I were all too scared to wander up to the house that we thought was hers, so no cookies for us. Later we learned that Buckles and Twinkletoes had gotten cookies and hot chocolate…

Buckles and Twinkletoes sped on to Dalton, but Salty, Hotman and I stopped at the shelter 3 miles before town.

Day 44: 16.7 miles

Kay Wood Shelter to Mark Noepel Shelter

3 miles into Dalton, where Twinkletoes and Buckles had stayed at Tom Levardi’s house. Tom is a trail angel who’s been letting hikers tent in his yard for years now. I had a snack there then we all walked to the coffee shop in town. I just started walking with my coffee while everyone else sat around for awhile.

I had a package at Chesire, where the Post Office closed for an hour at noon. So, I did the 8.6 miles in like 3 hours, which is really fast for me, making it to the PO 5 minutes before it closed. I had a meatball sub from a nice little stand near the PO while I waited for the rest of my trail fam to catch up.

Then, it was halfway up Mt Greylock to the shelter, where we had some good laughs during dinner.

Day 45: 14.1 miles

Mark Noepel Shelter to stealth campsite

We all took a lot of breaks today! First, we walked to the top of Mt. Greylock, which was cool since it was the first time on trail we’ve gotten into subalpine territory. At the top, we examined the view from the top of the tower and then went to the lodge and had a second breakfast.

Then it was downhill a long way. Then road walking that ended with a footbridge crossing a river. We sat on the bridge for a long time, Buckles icing her shin with the 10 (I think) lb bag of ice that Twinkletoes had lugged from a grocery store he had twinkled off to. We stayed there til like 5, at which point we walked a few miles to the Massachusetts-Vermont border, and then to a stealth spot by a stream.

Day 46: 9.6 miles

Stealth campsite to Congdon Shelter

Got out of camp to rain. Got to the shelter 3ish miles away, where Buckles and Twinkletoes decided to nero (for Twinkletoes) and zero (for Buckles, who had pushed on here last night). They wanted to rest up so tomorrow they could do 30ish miles tomorrow, so Buckles could do a 50k on her 50th day.

Vermont really lives up to its nickname Vermud, with mud everywhere. Pretty impossible to stay clean.

Got to the next shelter, where Hotman and Salty were eating lunch. We all were sick of walking in the rain, so we decided to end here for the day and just up our mileage the next two days.

Spent all the rest of the day in the shelter, just hanging out. Pretty nice.

Day 47: 18.7 miles

Congdon Shelter to Kid Gore Shelter

Yesterday we had been told by some guys going south about trail magic about 5 miles north. They said it was still gonna be there today too, so we all left camp hoping for hot coffee and hot food. We had a really steep descent, but at a parking lot at the bottom there was the trail magic! A guy who thru-hiked the AT in 2016 had attempted a PCT thru this year but broke his leg, so now he was doing trail magic with his wife and giving out the stuff that he bought for his resupplys along with hot food. We had sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches and coffee, plus fruit. Salty, Hotman, and I stayed there longer than we should have.

Then, it was ups and downs and mud to the top of Glastonbury Mountain, where we saw Twinkletoes and Buckles on their 50k day. Then on to a shelter with a nice view. The past few days we’ve been meeting Long Trail hikers, which had been interesting.

Day 48: 19.9 miles

Kid Gore Shelter to William B Douglas Shelter

Got hiking. Saw another fire tower on Stratton Mountain. Saw Buckles there but no Twinkletoes. Nice views at Stratton Pond then on to the shelter. It was Salty, Hotman, Buckles, and me, no Twinkletoes since he went on ahead to the next shelter, since he wanted to do 50 miles in two days.

Day 49: 5.8 miles

William B Douglas Shelter to VT 11/30

Very quick walk to the road crossing. Buckles got turned around and Salty was slow, so Hotman and I got a hitch in from guy who was dropping someone off just as we came up. First to Starbucks to meet up with Twinkletoes and then on to an outfitter, where I bought a new shirt, since the one I started with had gotten pretty shredded. Lunch and then resupply, picking up the rest of our crew, and some other hikers, as we went. Then we got a ride to the Green Mountain Hostel, where the others were staying. I had to get off trail for a few days to support family, so at the hostel I just got a shower and then was picked up by my brother, who made the big drive from Rhode Island and back.

Days 50-52

Spending time with family

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