Blogs 79-49

Day 78...Mountains of Vermont

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For the first time in a while, I wasn't the first one up in the morning.  Camo had gotten up a few minutes before me. I packed up quickly and we hit the trail together.  It was a fairly steep downhill section of the trail to cross through North Adams, MA.  If only I was going through town closer to lunch time. There is a Papa John's that offers 50% off for thru hikers.  I think the owner was a thru hiker himself.

There wasn't any rain today, but there was a ton of muddy sections on the trail, which turned my dry socks wet and my 'clean' shoes dirty.

A little before noon I crossed into Vermont, now only three more states left to hike; Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. I found a lovely spot for lunch with a good breeze to dry out my soggy feet and water logged socks.

As the day continued, I hiked until about 8 pm.  When I arrived at the shelter, believe it or not, I was the only one staying there. Later, I did meet a spontaneous traveler named Laura.  She had once booked a plane ticket to Puerto Rico, drank a little too much, and forgot about her trip. Three months later, she recieved an email reminder to check in.  She was surprised -  but went anyway, not have any idea what she was going to do.  Turned out to be a lot of fun.

I was very tired and it was cold, so I ate as fast as I could and I crawled into my sleeping bag.

Miles: 31.1

Wilbur Clearing Shelter to Goddard Shelter

Location: Latitude: 42.97391, Longitude: -73.07220

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Day 77..Mt. Graylock

I woke about 10 minutes before my alarm went off. It was a foggy, damp morning. I am only 3 miles outside of Dalton where I planned on buying a couple days worth of food. I was more stiff and sore from yesterday than I have been on this trip. I took some time to really stretch out. 

When I walked into Dalton, I first headed for what I thought may be a grocery store.  After taking a few wrong turns, I finally got there and it turned out to be only a gas station. I was very disappointed, but I had heard from Ice Cream that there was a brand new Dollar General a little past Cheshire MA, 8 miles up the trail from Dalton.

It started to rain when I was about 2 miles out from Cheshire, MA.  It was 11 am-ish. It continued to rain throughout the day until 5 pm.

The trail ran right past the post office, where I had a package waiting. There was a very nice lady working at the post office, who was very helpful. After I had picked up the package which included a new pair of hiking shoes, I needed a dry place to prepare my plans for the next few days. There was a church up the street with a covered entrance, so I stopped there to get out of the rain. After making a few calls, one to my Dad, who along with my sister Kate, was in the middle of hiking up Little Costilla, a mountain in New Mexico. I got back on my way. 

The Dollar General was only a half mile from the post office. Since there had been no trash can at the post office, I carried my old shoes to the store to throw them away there.  Being new, it was a nice Dollar General. They had a electrical outlet outside that I used to charge up my phone and external battery. It also had a trash can out front and hiker box beside it. While shopping I met a lady trail named Cheddar. We talked mostly about the food we have been eating as we shopped, she said "You know it is a bad thing when you walk into a store and nothing looks good." I have started to try to add variety by incorporating more meat and dried fruit to my diet, and the costs sure have gone up. 

After buying about 3 days worth of food, I hit the trail. There was a considerable uphill section about 3 miles long. Not much fun in the rain. Luckily, it wasn't very rocky. The trail went right up to a war memorial on top of Mount Graylock, as you can see in the picture - it is well named. Mt. Graylock is the highest point in MA.  After that it, was back down hill, around this time it had stopped raining. When I got to the shelter, I met Camo and Poppins. 

I hit the sack early this evening, so hopefully I can get in a big day in tomorrow - if there isn't much rain.

Miles 23.5

Kay wood shelter to Wilbur clearing shelter.

Location: Latitude: 42.66780, Longitude: -73.17007 

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Day 76...Bobcat, Memories, and Ice Cream

Early in the day, I hiked over Cobble Hill and met a man named Bobcat. He was on his second thru hike of the AT.  Bobcat has already hiked more than 15,000 miles of long trails. He had started on his latest Appalachian Trail journey on June 7, and was headed north. He and I talked while hiking for a few minutes, until he had to go to dig a cat hole. The next time I saw Bobcat was after I had finished eating lunch and was about to start hiking again. He hiked past me, then I again passed him as he stopped for lunch.

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The terrain was less difficult, so I was able to backpack at a good clip. When I was about 1 mile from my destination, a man passed me and said that the shelter was full, as there was a big group there. I was worried as it had been a long day and the next place to stay was in a town called Dalton MA, another 3 miles beyond the shelter. The only place in Dalton that I could make out was a hotel that was very expensive. I decided to risk the shelter (It was off the trail .2 miles).

When I arrived at the shelter, there were four or five tents set up, but no one actually staying in the shelter. While cooking dinner on the picnic table, I met Memories and Ice Cream, both from Germany. They were very nice. They had a package waiting for them in Dalton and they were debating whether to get up earlier, so they could get to the town and eat breakfast before the post office opened. Or to wake up a little later and go to the post office first. These are the type of hard choices we have to make daily on the trail.

Ice Cream and Memories had set up their tent, so I was the only one in the shelter...again.

Miles 33.4

Location:Latitude: 42.45183, Longitude: -73.16146
Wilcox Mountain South Shelter to Lay Wood Shelter.