After leaving Pittsfield, I had a pleasant day of hiking. Although the trail was wet from the rain the day before, I managed to keep my feet relatively dry.
I met day hikers Steve and Suzanne and hiked with them for awhile. I caught up with them when they stopped for lunch, so I took a lunch break with them. Then I caught up with them again when they had a snack, and Steve offered me a delicious banana muffin. It was good to spend time with hikers on the trail.
Because the temperature was expected to drop into the high 30’s that night, I had decided to stay in Upper Goose Pond Cabin, where I would be warmer. The cabin is above the pond and has a dock and canoes available for use. Although I arrived too late to take out a canoe, I enjoyed stretching on the dock.
The cabin is maintained by volunteers from the Massachusetts ATC. The first floor of the cabin has a fireplace in the dining room/living room area. Although the second-floor bunk room is not heated, it was certainly warmer than my tent.
Spring water, which needs to be filtered, is provided by staff in containers on the back porch. On the other side of the cabin, there is a container of pond water treated with bleach for washing dishes. Guests cook outdoors at a picnic table, but may eat indoors. Staff cook indoors and provide guests with pancakes for breakfast. I wanted to get an early start the following morning, so I did not plan to stay for breakfast.
That night, Detour, who had completed an AT through hike in 2019, was the volunteer on staff. I enjoyed talking with her. Also staying at the cabin, were the Englishman, an English teacher, who is section hiking, and Tropical Dr. Seuss, who is a flip-flopper. The Englishman started out in the dark, which he said he enjoys doing. I started at dawn as I wanted to hike 7 miles to a road crossing by late morning.
Visit With Karen Eve
My daughter Karen Eve, trail name Monster, drove 2 hours from Boston to meet me at a road crossing for a visit. She brought delicious food—dolmas, fresh fruit salad, an apple, hearty fruit juice, nut and dried fruit mix, candied ginger, and Justin’s peanut butter cups. After the feast, she gave me a wonderful foot massage.
Then we hiked together for one and one-half miles, through wetlands, woods, fields, and to a view. We climbed over stiles and walked through a cow pasture.
Then she returned to her car and Boston. I continued to North Mt. Wilcox Shelter, where a couple, whom I had met in Monson, was already camped. They were now hiking north.
Meeting Casper And Spark
It was a cold night. I am finding it difficult to get up on the cold and dark mornings. I considered my options for lodging. While hiking and mulling over possibilities, I met Casper and Spark, pictured below.
Casper told me she adopted Spark at age 4 months, had him neutered, tested him ot as a hiking companion, and at mile 700, brought him to the AT. Spark weighs 7 pounds, which Casper refers to as “7 pounds of seratonin.” Spark rides on her shoulder or in a pouch. Casper also carries up to 2 pounds of cat food at a time. They both seem quite content.
I decided to stay at the Sheffield Lodge that night. Owner Susan picked me up near a monument for the last battle of Shay’s Rebellion, a yearlong rebellion of poor farmers against the post revolutionary war taxes imposed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Susan was very accommodating. At 6:30 a.m., she served me a 3-course breakfast of fresh fruit cup, meza platter of humus, avocado, and olives, and a frittata. At 7 a.m., she returned me to the trailhead, prior to serving breakfast to her other guests.
I passed Casper and Spark on the trail that morning, but I haven’t seen them since. I summited Mt. Everett, which had hazy views, and then Mt. Race. I hiked through Sage’s Ravine, and forded Sawmill Creek barefoot. Then I crossed into Connecticut.
The ascent after Sage’s Ravine was difficult and reminded me of rock slabs in southern Maine. Then I summited Bear Mountain, the highest peak on the AT in Connecticut, which has a stone monument.
The trails in Connecticut, as in Vermont and Massachusetts, often travel through former homesteads, with stone walls frequently, and stone foundations occasionally, visible.
Although fall is here, I continue to find summer flowers, like the Black-eyed Susan, featured above, the many varieties of aster, and the uncommon and delicate rock harlequin below.
The trails have had some rerouting either due to high water, a bridge being out, or blockage by downed trees. Today I forded Macedonia Brook barefoot, just before Route 341, near Kent, CT. I had to get to the post office before it closed at 12:30 p.m. to pick up a resupply box. Two shuttlers were unavailable.
I stuck out my thumb when I got to the road. Fortunately, Annie and Terry, who live in the area, picked me up. Not only did they drive me to the post office in Kent; they also drove me to the Hitching Post Country Motel in Cornwall Bridge. Thank you!
Yes, after three nights of camping, I am spending another night indoors. It has been raining since mid-afternoon. Hiking in the rain in 50-degree weather and setting up a tent or even staying in a shelter in the rain in lower, nighttime temperatures is not pleasant or comfortable.
The rain should stop tonight. I have a shuttle arranged to return me to the trail tomorrow morning. I should be entering New York in 2 days!