6/27 Upper Goose Pond to Washington Mt Road (11.1 miles)
We did a short day as Stitch’s friend was picking her up as she is going off trail for a week for a wedding. We got pancakes made for us in the morning by the caretaker which was awesome, but there were a ton of people there, so we had to also go to have a second breakfast.
Stitch’s friend picked us up around noon, and we headed to the motel to shower before going out to lunch. Garfield was starving himself to do a good challenge in town, but sadly they were closed by the time we got there. We went to a nearby restaurant where Rob Bird (trail angel for TN) met us. We were very excited to see him. He comes up to MA for July every year to do more trail magic. It was awesome to see him again, and we ended up going to a local pub afterward for drinks.
6/28 Washington Mt road to Kay Woods Shelter (6.6 miles)
We took a nero today because I am meeting my dad and friend at Mt Greylock on Friday and only have about 18 miles to cover. This also gave us more time to spend with Stitch before she left the trail. Hopefully less daily mileage on our part will make it feasible for her to catch up with us when she returns to the trail. We will probably keep doing shorter days in order to make it easy for her to catch us.
We got a late start and headed over to the local diner for Garfield to attempt their food challenge. It’s a 4.5 pound omelet that must be eaten in 30 minutes. Garfield wasn’t feeling nearly as hungry, so doubted that he would be able to finish it. He got about 1/2 before deciding that he couldn’t finish it. It was the first challenge he has been unable to complete, although was definitely the hardest. Rob Bird joined us for breakfast as well.
After breakfast we went back to the motel and started a card game of Machi Koro, which was a lot of fun. We didn’t get to finish before we had to check out but I definitely enjoyed it.
We got on the trailhead at about 1pm and said what we thought were our goodbyes. It was very sad and we will definitely miss Stitch but hopefully it will only be for a couple of weeks. We were walking pretty slowly, only to be surprised by Stitch and her friend , along with Rob at the next trail crossing, waiting with trail magic. We said our final goodbyes, hung out for a bit and then continued on to the campsite.
The campsites have been quite full. I think the proximity to cities and the 4th, along with great weather has enticed my section hikers to come up for short stints.
6/29 Kay Woods Shelter to Cheshire MA (11.8 miles)
Garfield and I had a short day today so I can hike up Mt Greylock with my dad and my friend tomorrow. It rained pretty hard last night for the first time in weeks, and I didn’t do a great job staking out my tent last night so the bottom of my sleeping bag was a little damp in the morning.
We stopped in a gas station for a breakfast about 3 miles into the day and shared our typical half gallon of chocolate milk. We haven’t been able to find any whole chocolate milk for several hundred miles. Apparently northerners must not drink it, which has been a shame for Garfield and I because it has a lot more calories.
The day was pretty uneventful with the exception of a great view shortly before town. We got into town at around 12:30pm and went to a local sandwich shop for lunch and I dried out my tent. It’s amazing how quickly it dries when it’s sunny out.
After that we headed over to a gas station for ice cream. We ended up hanging out there until about 4:30pm waiting for the church hostel we were staying at to open. We shared 1.5 quarts of ice cream and planned out our next 10 days so Stitch can catch up with us.
On our walk back Rob Bird drove by us and asked if we wanted to head over to Dalton with him and grab a pizza. We never say no to a ride to pizza so we hopped in his van and ate way too much pizza.
We are staying at a very nice Catholic Church that allows thruhikers to stay the night in some of their rooms on the floor. Nothing to fancy, but it’s a very nice place to stay.
Gear Update: After serving me loyally for 604 miles, my second pair of hiking shoes are being retired. These didn’t last as long as my last pair, I think this mainly has to do to all the rocks and because my other ones were pretty destroyed. I am replacing them with the same hiking shoe. The plan is hopefully for this pair to take me the last 611 miles of the trail.
6/30 Cheshire MA to Sherman Brook Campsite (16.3 miles)
We got off to a later start this morning since my dad and my friend Will were driving from Boston. They were bringing Garfield and me new shoes, which were much needed for the both of us.
The climb up Mt Greylock was much easier than I had expected. It was long, but that made it relatively gradual, without many big steep uphills. It was awesome to catch up with my dad and friend, along with sharing some of our trail stories with them.
There were great views from the top of the mountain, so we hung out at the top eating lunch for about an hour.
After lunch we decided that we would extend our planned hike to get all the way into North Adams. The climb down was quite a bit steeper, but still not too bad compared to other parts of the trail. When we got to the bottom, my dad and friend got a shuttle back to their car, while Garfield and I walked to a grocery store about 1/2 mile from the trail to resupply. My dad and Will came back to pick us up and we headed to a restaurant to get dinner, which was very good and filling. After dinner they dropped us off at the trailhead and we headed into the woods to camp for the night.
I tried setting up my Zpacks tent on a wooden platform when we got there. Since my tent isn’t free standing (needs to be staked out) a lot space to be set up well. The platform was not big enough for me to set it up well. This is one of the downsides of having this lightweight tent that doesn’t have its own poles, sometimes there are places it just doesn’t fit.
7/1 Sherman Brook Campsite to Seth Warner Shelter (5.3 miles)
Garfield and I got off to a very late start (10 am) since we did a bigger day than we had planned yesterday. We plan on moving slowly through Vermont so I can meet some friends next weekend in Rutland VT and so Stitch can catch up. It was pretty nice to get such a late start and just hang out and relax in the woods. I wouldn’t want to do it all of the time, but it was enjoyable.
A few miles into our hike we crossed into Vermont. It is very nice to have completed yet another state.
We got into camp at noon and hung out for awhile before eating lunch. We played cards for a few hours. I was glad we carried them in for these next few short days. It started raining in the early evening, and was supposed to continue into the night.
7/2 Seth Warner Shelter to Hell Hallow Brook Campsite (14.7 miles)
It poured rain last night so I was very glad that I had a spot in shelter. Thankfully it all cleared up by the time we woke up. There was a short climb in the morning that led to a great view. Other than that the morning was pretty uneventful.
We got to a shelter around 11am and were thinking about eating lunch there, but since it was the 4th of July weekend and we were coming across a big road crossing there was a good chance for trail magic. We decided to push on the last 4.5 miles which included a steep downhill to the road. We were very fortunate to come across some great trail magic of vegetable burritos and cold drinks. Garfield and I both enjoyed 3 of them since he ended up with a lot of extras. We ended up hanging out there for 2 hours. Near the end another trail angel came over and was passing out ice cream to thruhikers. I felt very lucky and appreciative to have gotten it. It really made my day even better.
We were planning on only going another couple of miles to the shelter, but when we got there there weren’t a lot of good tent spots. There was a stream a couple of miles away that had an unofficial campsite. We decided to try and stay there for the night.
The stream ended up being a pretty good place to swim, so I went downstream to hop on in. It wasn’t too hot out, but it felt good to rinse off. We had a very small dinner since we were both still full from all the burritos, and got in bed early since it was a little chilly out
7/3 Hell Hallow Brook Campsite to Black Brook Campsite (18.4 miles)
Today was relatively uneventful aside from getting to the top of a mountain that had a fire tower with awesome 360 degree views. We haven’t had a great view like this since the south, so I really enjoyed it.
The trail in VT had been muddy, even though there has barely been any rain. It would be much less pleasant if one had to go through after several days of hard rain. I feel very fortunate that the weather has been pretty dry for us.
We went a little farther than expected since it was a nice day and the shelter we planned to stay at didn’t have many good tent spots. We found another great tentsite right beside a brook.
7/4 Black Brook Campsite to Spruce Peak Shelter (15.7 miles)
We started the day with a climb up Stratton Mountain. The peak was not above tree line, but there was a fire tower that gave great views in all directions. We spent quite awhile at the top of the tower taking in the great views. Such a treat!!
Afterwards. we headed down to Stratton Pond. The ponds on the AT this far have been very large and have seemed much more lake like. It was still early in the day and a little bit chilly, so I decided to skip swimming.
The goal is to have Stitch catch up to us by the end of VT. We are going to take two neros this weekend so I can see family friends. We will take two more probably near the border, which should have her caught up to us by July 17th, which is very exciting.