Day 100, 8/6/23
Dalton, MA to Wilbur Clearing Shelter
20.5 miles, mile 1,597.6
When we woke up this morning trail angel Tom had a spread of muffins, bananas, apples, and cereal on the picnic table in his yard for the hikers who slept here last night. When I walked over he asked me if I would like a cup of coffee and brought it out to me. We all ate some food, drank coffee, chatted with Tom, and watched all the birds at his feeders. I thanked Tom and we went started walking north. We needed to get another day of food to get us to Route 9 where Mom will be picking us up and taking us home for a zero day Tuesday. There is a decent bit of rain coming through the area and we are wanting a little break anyways. A couple days ago when I was on the phone with Mom, Dad was making pickles. Since then, I had been wanting a pickle and the Cumberland Farms had pickles in a bag! I got one to eat when we got to the summit of Mt. Greylock. After getting some more snacks for the day we got back to the trail. I noticed that at the next road crossing in 10 miles there was a Dunkins right by the trail. I hadn’t had Dunkins since before leaving NH over 3 months ago! The motivation of a cold brew helped me to hike the 10 miles pretty quick. On the way there was a cooler with some cold Gatorades in it which hit the spot. The trail went right through a town and Kevin and I were chatting and walking along the street when an old man in his yard asked me if we took a wrong turn because the trail was back a little ways. I’m really happy he said something because we did miss the turn of the trail, but only by a couple minutes thankfully.
We had a decent amount of elevation gain today, about 4,700 feet over the 20.5 miles, with 3,000 feet of it being in the 6.5 miles up Mt. Greylock. It was a good view up there, one of the best we’ve had in a while. There is an auto road up to the summit because it is the highest point in Massachusetts. When we were getting ready to continue on the last 3 miles, a woman asked us with a surprised expression if we had hiked up all the way from the bottom. In unison, Kevin and I both say “we hiked here from Georgia” and she was shocked to say the least and asked us a bunch of questions.
When we got to the shelter the only remaining tent sites were in very close proximity to the privy which is certainly not ideal. Every once in a while I get a good whiff. It still beats sleeping in the shelter though. I have my alarm set for 6am because it looks like rain tomorrow morning starting around 7am. We also have 21.5 miles to hike, and then a 2 hour car ride so I want to get going early.
Day 101, 8/7/23
Wilbur Clearing Shelter to VT Route 9
21.4 miles, mile 1,619
Our timing to pack up and get hiking was impeccable because right at 7am it started to rain. Within the first 10 minutes of hiking we saw a small bear run off into the woods. It was the first bear we have seen since Virginia! It was raining steadily from about 7-11:30am. We hit mile 1,600 early in the day and then hiked another 4 miles up and over a mountain to enter Vermont! The trail in Vermont is just straight mud. Everyone calls this state “Vermud” for a reason. My legs have never been so dirty, and my shoes and socks are soaking wet and caked in mud. There were a lot of times today I was ankle deep in mud and water. Our pace was pretty quick though and I tried to pull out my phone to text Mom but with the rain my phone screen was spazzing out and it took a painful amount of time to put together a single sentence to send to her about what time to meet us.
We didn’t have any views today because of the rain and clouds, and I wasn’t looking much in the woods around the trail because if you looked up for one second you would be slipping and sliding in the mud. The only thing on my mind was getting to Route 9, taking my shoes off, and going home to shower and see my pup Fritzy. I’m beyond excited to sleep in my own room tonight.
I had mentioned in an earlier post about how I want to slow down and enjoy the remainder of the trail. While that is true, today I was thinking that it’s a little difficult to enjoy when it’s raining, muddy, my sleeping pad has a leak in it and I wake up on the ground, the mosquitos are swarming, there are no views, you’re permanently hungry, and still have over 1/4 of the trail to go. I’m grateful that I’m in New England and close to home so I can take a zero when I need it, and right now I need it.
When we got home Fritzy was SO excited to see us. I took a long shower scrubbing all the mud off my legs and feet, shaving my legs, and shampooing my hair 5 times. It had been 6 days since our last shower. Now I’m happily sitting on the couch and can’t wait to get into my own bed tonight!
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