Kent, CT to Manchester Center, VT

 

Photos: http://www.allenf.com/gallery2/main.php/v/AT2009/DaltonToManchesterCenter/


Kent CT to Silver Hill Campsite

 
Wednesday, 7/15

AT Miles = 10.2 / 1466.1
Other Miles = 0 / 49.7
Total Miles = 10.2 / 1505.8

This morning I woke up in mid-town Manhattan -- at Lexington and 51st Street -- and tonight I am going to sleep at Silver Hill Campsite on the AT in Connecticut. Quite the transition!

After three wonderful days of good food, good drink, jazz clubs, Central Park, harbor cruises, Times Square, and etc., I am now back on the trail. It was really hard to say goodbye to Jodi this afternoon and watch her drive away. The urge to go with her was powerful. I was actually looking forward to there being some other hikers at the campsite so I would have company to keep me occupied, but alas I am here alone tonight. I started reading "The Monkey Wrench Gang" while we were in NYC, so once I finish my chores and get camp squared away for the night, I will crawl into my hammock away from the pesky mosquitoes and lose myself in the adventures of Doc and Bonnie as they level billboards along the desert highways.

I used to bring Anju camping here quite often when she was young, so this place holds many sweet memories for me. Anju, you remember camping at Silver Hill, don't you?

--
"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Monkeywrench
Allen Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Thursday, July 16, 2009

No Blog Tonight

 
Hanging in my hammock listening to an approaching thunderstorm. Hopefully I'll get a chance to catch up tomorrow.

--
"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Monkeywrench
Allen Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Silver Hill Campsite to Riga Lean-to

 
Thursday, 7/16 & Friday, 7/17

Thursday:
AT Miles = 19.1 / 1485.2
Other Miles = 1.5 / 51.2
Total Miles = 20.6 / 1526.4

Friday:
AT Miles = 7.5 / 1492.7
Other Miles = 0 / 51.2
Total Miles = 7.5 / 1533.9

So, where to start? Yesterday was an okay day; lots of up and down, lots of humidity, lots of mosquitoes, lots of miles. There was a road walk of about 3 1/2 miles yesterday afternoon. A bridge the AT crosses is undergoing construction this summer and the vtrail has been detoured. The state even put up a whole series ofd those refective detour signs with a white blaze on them to denote the route. That was pretty cool, but road walking basically sucks. It really wears on the bottom of your feet.

I was in a pretty bad mood all day. I've been having a hard time mentally ever since New York. Then I got down to Limestone Springs Lean-to last night, which is way down in a swampy hole with swarms of mosquitoes, and my mood took a turn for the worse. I managed to get camp set up, do all my chores, and eat my dinner. Then we heard the rumble of approaching thunder and soon the first rain drops started to fall. That's when I crawled into my hammock with my book for the evening.

Soon after the real storm hit. Yowee! Rain; lots and lots of rain. Wind; lots and lots of wind. Then, just to mix things up; hail. Small hail. Big hail. Some of the hail chunks hit my little silnylon tarp so hard I was afraid they were going to rip right through it. There was so much rain the ground was just running with water everywhere. I am So glad I deon't use a tent. I surely would have been swamped. The storm finaly ended and my nest was still intact, so off to sleep I went.

When I woke up this morning it was warm, still, and 100% humidity. If mosquitoes ran the world this is the weather they would create every day. I almost took off wityhout eating breakfast, but decided had to eat so did so while walking quickly in circles to try to avoild the swarms of mosquitoes. Then I wasoff heading for Salisbury.

I passed Old Goat and Check Six on the way to town. While walking the road into town I passed the White Hart Inn, which had a sign outside proclaiming "Breakfast Lunch and Dinner Served Every Day". Yes!

The White Hart Inn is a rather fancy place that caters to New Yorkers with money that come up to the country on the weekend, and I was sweaty and dirty and stinky, so when they asked if I preferred to eat inside or on the porch, I chose a table outside on the porch. Just as I was sitting down Old Goat and Check Six came by and decided to join me. We had a wonderful breakfast that was a bit pricey, but worth every penny.

By the time breakfast was done, it was somehow almost 10:30. I left the Inn and continued my walk into town where I went to the grocery store and shopped for the next 5 days to Dalton, MA. After packing all my food away in my pack, I sat down and ate a pint of Ben & Jerrys New York Super Fudge Chunk (1200 calories, a great mid-morning snack) that I had also bought.

By now it was almost noon, and I headed back out of town and back on the trail. From Salisbury the AT climbs to the summit of Lion's Head, the southernmost summit of the Taconic Range. A bit north of Lion's Head is Riga Lean-to, with a nice view to the east over Twin Lakes and the hills beyond. When I got here there was a nice breeze blowing, and I decided to set up camp and dry my stuff out. Well, I did that, but now the breeze has died away to nothing, and the bugs are getting a bit nasty.

7 1/2 miles today is pathetic, but I want to relax and enjoy the afternoon reading my book. I hope my head gets back into this hike soon, or I will be facing trouble. So, I didn't even make it out of Connecticut today, but I will tomorrow. Massachusetts, here I come!

--
"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Monkeywrench
Allen Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Riga Lean-to To Hemlocks Lean-to

 
Saturday, 7/18

AT Miles = 10.0 / 1502.7
Other Miles = 0.4 / 51.6
Total Miles = 10.4 / 1544.3

It rained last night. A lot. Again. Pretty much as soon as I got all my stuff hung out to dry, the clouds rolled in and the first of several storms came through.

I was up and out early this morning. There were too many mosquitoes to stand around eating breakfast, so I took off at 6:15 and ate breakfast when I got to the summit of Bear Mountain, where there was a bit of a breeze and therefore fewer mosquitoes.

Today presented a bit of a dilemma. I could either hike 10 miles, or 25 miles, but nothing in between. In between is a big low lying swampy area full of mosquitoes, so guerilla camping in there was out of the question.

I was thinking I was going to do the 25 miles, but I forgot how tough the three mountains -- Bear, Race, and Everett -- are. And with all the rain, all the rocks were wet and super slippery. So, it was 10 miles for the day.

By late morning the clouds were finally being burned off and the sun was breaking through. I stopped on the summit of Everett and just hung out in the sunshine for a while, chatting with a group of Boy Scouts from Rhode Island out for a weekend backpacking trip. While I was there Early Bear and Little Dipper showed up and we chatted a bit.

When I left Everett, since I was almost at the days destination, I took a small detour to Guilder Pond to swim. Early Bear and Little Dipper were there as well, as also were a few locals. There was a big rock ledge that sloped down into the water, and after taking a quick swim I lazed about in the sun long enough to get a bit of a sunburn on the back of my neck.

It is now a bit after 4:00 and I have set up camp, washed myself and my socks, and hung everything out on a line to get rid of some of the dankness. The Boy Scouts are here as well tonight and I look forward to some nice conversation.

Tomorrow I have a 19 mile day planned, so hopefully I will start getting in some miles again.

Oh, I passed the 1500 mile mark today. Only 675 miles left; a cake walk!

--
"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Monkeywrench
Allen Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Hemlocks Lean-to to Mt Wilcox South Lean-to

 
Sunday, 7/19

AT Miles = 19.7 / 1522.4
Other Miles = 0.2 / 51.8
Total Miles = 19.9 / 1564.2

Whew! Finally, I made some miles. I guess I can thank the mosquitoes! They were unbelievable today, and the only way I could cope was to hike full speed ahead. Once the trail came down off Jug End, it crossed a big low lying, wet area before climbing back up ibto the hills. The trail was fairly smooth, thankfully, and I could put the hammer down and try to outrun the hordes of mosquitoes. It seems that whenever I let my pace slow below about 2.5 mph, the swarm would descend. With negative reinforcement like that, I kept my speed up! I cranked out the first 7 miles, to where the trail crosses Rt 7, in a bit over three hours. There I stopped at a garden center type place that has some cold drinks and snacks for sale, and is friendly to hikers. I spent a half hour there drinking a cold Pepsi, eating chips, candy, and crackers, and availing myself of the luxury of a flush toilet. Then I filled my water bottles and headed back out to do battle once again with my pesky little opponents. Th
ere was a sign where the trail left the road saying that the trail was sometimes flooded and dangerous and if so describing a detour to use. Well, that's useless information. Tell me if the trail is currently flooded and if I need to use the detour or not.

As it turned out the trail was fine, and I again hiked at top speed and made the next 7 miles to Tom Leonard Shelter in another 3 hours, at 2:00PM. Here I stopped to eat lunch, and left a long entry in the shelter register for the Boy Scouts I shared camp with last night, as I knew they were bound for Tom Leonard today. I hope they coped with the mosquitoes okay. I really enjoyed their company last night.

Tomorrow I will be heading for Upper Goose Pond Cabin. I have been looking forward to this since I started my hike. At Upper Goose Pond Cabin the caretaker cooks blueberry pancakes for breakfast every morning. Yummy!

Have I mentioned the camera dilemma yet? I think I did tell you all that I killed the display on my old camera back in New Jersey, when I let the camera sit in a few incles of water. So Jodi bought me a new camera and brought it with her to Kent last Sunday. While we were in New York City I charged up the battery and played with it a lot while checking out all of the features, and I took a bunch of photos while we were in the city. Then when I got back on the trail I used it some on Wednesday, and when I next tried to use it on Thursday the battery was dead. I should have thought to recharge the battery after playing with it so much in NYC, but I didn't. Duh! Yet again, I am the victim of my own stupidity. I won't be able top charge the camera battery until I get my bounce box in Dalton on Wednesday. So of course now I pass something I want to photograph at least a dozen times a day.

Oh, Jodi told me that Alberto Contador won the first mountain stage in the Tour de France! Good going, Alberto! I must admit it would be nice to be sitting on the couch in front of our 60" plasma TV watching the Tour in HD with Jodi at my side. Ah well, choices must be made, and with choices come consequences.

--
"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Monkeywrench
Allen Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Mt Wilcox South Lean-to to Upper Goose Pond Cabin

 
Monday, 7/20

AT Miles = 15.8 / 1538.2
Other Miles = 0.5 / 52.3
Total Miles = 16.3 / 1580.5

Wow! The mosquitoes were something else last night. Right after dinner I climbed into my hammock intending to read my book, but the swarm of mosquitoes just outside of the netting was amazing. Even the noise they made was very distracting. So I gave up on reading and listened to my radio with the earbuds. With my eyes shut, I could neither hear nor see the vicious little bastards as they flung themselves against the netting in their attempt to suck me dry of blood.

I didn't even try to eat breakfast before leaving camp this morning. I shoved a Snickers bar and a granola bar into my pocket and took off, eating as I walked. I hiked the 16+ miles to the cabin here with only one break, which I took when the trail crossed a field at the top of Pine Cobble just before Tyringham.

With the lack of breaks I made it here in record time, but I was exhausted when I got here. Upper Goose Pond is a beautiful pond, and the cabin here is great. It was not built as a trail shelter, but rather used to be a private cabin that is now run as a hiker cabin. There are volunteer caretakers here and for a small donation ($3 for camping outside, which I am) you get the run of the cabin, spring water carried from across the lake in a canoe, and a pancake breakfast in the morning. There is a bunkroom upstairs in the cabin, but I chose to set up my hammock outside as I know I will sleep better there.

I took a swim in the pond after I got here, and I do feel better for having done so. Unfortunately the weather looks like we are likely to get a storm tonight. When the weather is wet I can't wash my socks, since they would never dry.

The mosquitoes are taking a toll. My ankles are an ugly mess of scabbed over mosquito bites. Why my ankles? I've no idea. I theorize that they nestle down in my socks where I can't see them, and suck my blood at their leisure as I hike along.

I expect to be in Dalton early on Wednesday morning. If I can find a place to stay there, I will take a zero day and catch up on laundry and other chores. My clothes haven't seen a washing machine since Vernon, NJ, back on the 4th of July.

--
"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Monkeywrench
Allen Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Misery

 
Wet. Muddy. Cold. Feet are a mess. Fell and hurt my knee. Hiking 1 mph.

Heading home to sleep in my own bed for a day or two and try to regain some perspective.

"I shall return."

--
"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Monkeywrench
Allen Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Upper Goose Pond Cabin to Dalton, MA

 
Tuesday, 7/21

AT Miles = 19.7 / 1558.8
Other Miles = 0.9 / 53.2
Total Miles = 20.6 / 1601.1

Miles to Katahdin = 619.5

Well. I was up at my usual 5:45 in the morning. And as usual, a swarm
of mosquitoes was buzzing around my hammock, underneath the tarp and
just outside of the mosquitoes netting. God bless whoever invented
mosquito netting!

As usual, I struck camp as quickly as possible, to avoid exposing
myself to the mosquitoes any longer than necessary. I had gone swimming
the previous afternoon in the pond, and my shorts and shirt had dried
very little overnight, so I got to enjoy the pleasure f pulling wet
clothes on first thing in the morning. Ah! That's got to beat a cup of
hot, fresh brewed coffee for waking you up in the morning!

The best part of staying at Upper Goose Pond Cabin is that the
caretakers cook pancakes for everybody every morning. I sat at the
table long enough to eat four before giving up my place to the next
shift.

When I let it was obvious that rain was imminent, so I rigged my pack
for rain. Since it has been so humid I haven't washed my socks in
several days -- I can't wash them when they won't dry for days and
days -- so I was wearing damp, dirty socks. Yuck!

About 2 miles after leaving the cabin the AT crosses the Mass Pike,
and then almost immediately Route 20. Just after crossing Rt 20 there
was trail magic in the form of a cooler of soda chained to a tree and
a bucket of goodies like oatmeal cookies and Yodels. I stopped the
chug a cola -- yeah, I know, it was right after breakfast. So? -- and
put some cookies and yodels in my pocket to eat as I walked --
mosquitoes, remember? A couple minutes later the rain started, and it
rained all day.

Shortly before reaching October Mountain Shelter I saw my third bear
of the hike as he or she ran off crashing through the undergrowth.Just
a few minutes later I passed a trio of southbound section hikers. As
hikers often do when traveling together, they made quite a bit of
noise chatting with each other. I told them about the bear just ahead
of them thinking that they might want to hike quietly in hopes of
catching a glimpse, but they responded by telling me they would be
sure to make plenty of noise as they hiked. Oh well. Their loss, I
guess. I also saw a pile of moose scat today, the first I've seen on the trail.
 

I took a break at October Mountain Lean-to, chatting a bit with Dixie
Dawg who was already there. It was cold sitting around in my wet
clothes and it soon looked like the rain was tapering off (though that turned out to be so very wrong!), so I set off again, bound for the Cooke Lady's house located just off the trail
in Becket, Massachusetts. There is a couple who own a house very close
to the trail who let hikers fill their water bottles and, if they are
home, offer cookies to every hiker that stops by. If you ask
permission, they will even let you camp in their yard. I stopped there
to fill my bottles with water that didn't need to be treated, and I
stood in their open garage and ate the cookies offered and chatted for
a while. I even plugged my cell phone in and charged it up a bit, and
ate most of my lunch in their dry garage. Then I headed back out into
the downpour.

From here my day went downhill fast. I had cooled down a lot while
standing around at the cookie Lady's house, so when I left I was
wearing my rain jacket over my already soaking wet clothes. Well, I
just got colder and colder, it rained harder and harder, I slogged
through mud several inches deep, I climbed up and down wet rocks, and
eventually I took a tumble and smacked my knee on a rock pretty hard.
Now I was cold, dirty, wet, and could hike only very slowly. Hiking
slowly meant I was not generating much heat, and my personal misery
quotient was hovering dangerously close to the red line.

I talked to Jodi on the phone several times yesterday and today, and
we agreed that she would drive out to Dalton and meet me this
afternoon. Unfortunately her job went way longer than expected and she
couldn't leave Boston until nearly 7:30. When it rains, it pours, you
might say. On the other hand, if she had been able to leave early she
would have been stuck in Dalton waiting for me, as I didn't manage to
reach town until 7:30 myself. By that time, with the heavy rain and
all, it was pretty dark in the woods and I could barely see where I
was going. There is a guy in Dalton named Tom Levardi. who for some
inexplicable reason just likes hikers and opens his home to them. By
the time I arrived there he had a houseful of hikers but I told him I
just needed a place to wait for my wife to arrive with the car and he
welcomed me in. Whew! It was so nice to be warm and dry for a change.
A couple of hours later Jodi arrived and we were off headed back home
to Quincy for a couple of days.

It is Thursday now. I made a trip to REI yesterday and bought a new
pair of hiking poles to replace the pair that, after over 1500 miles,
finally died on me. I also bought a new pack rain cover which
hopefully will be more waterproof than the one I had, and a new pair
of socks to replace a pair that now has gaping holes in the toes.
Tomorrow morning we will drive back out to Dalton. It is ten trail
miles from Dalton to Cheshire, and after stopping at the Dalton post
office to pick up my mail, Jodi will drop me off and I will slack pack
-- hike with only a day pack -- the ten miles to Cheshire, then Jodi
will pick me up in Cheshire and we will retire to a motel somewhere.
On Saturday Jodi will slack pack me again as I climb up and over Mount
Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts. Since there is a road up
Greylock, Jodi can even meet me on top with a nice lunch! I'm hoping
by doing this I can continue to give my feet a bit of a rest, yet
still continue to make some miles. I will also be able to eat better.
I feel like I have been getting really run down lately, and that my
body is getting weaker and starting to break down on me. With the
Whites and the rough trail of Maine facing me, that worries me a lot.

By the way, Jodi and I cycled Greylock one weekend back in 2005:
http://www.allenf.com/mount_greylock.htm

619.5 more miles to Katahdin.

--
~~~~~
Allen F. Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Photos

 
As I think I mentioned before, Jodi brought my new camera when she met
me in Kent before we went to New York City for a few days. I took a
bunch of photos while we were in New York. Here are some of them:

http://www.allenf.com/gallery2/main.php/v/AT2009/NewYorkCity/

--
~~~~~
Allen F. Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Weather Forecast

 
Does this make you want to get out in the woods or what?!

From www.wunderground.com:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 
Forecast for Northern BerkshireHide
Updated: 5:02 am EDT on July 24, 2009
No Active Advisories (US Severe Weather)
rain
Today
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. A chance of thunderstorms...mainly this afternoon. Some thunderstorms may produce heavy rainfall this afternoon. Highs in the mid 70s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40 percent.
nt_rain
Tonight
A chance of thunderstorms in the evening. Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Some thunderstorms may produce heavy rainfall in the evening. Lows in the upper 50s. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50 percent.
partlysunny
Saturday
Partly sunny. Highs around 80. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph.
nt_partlycloudy
Saturday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 60s. South winds 5 to 10 mph.
tstorms
Sunday
Partly sunny with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the morning...then mostly cloudy with showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon. Humid with highs in the upper 70s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60 percent.
nt_chancerain
Sunday Night
A chance of thunderstorms in the evening. Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Lows in the lower 60s. Chance of rain 50 percent.
nt_chancerain
Monday and Monday Night
Partly cloudy. A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70s. Lows in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 40 percent.
nt_cloudy
Tuesday and Tuesday Night
Mostly cloudy. Highs around 80. Lows in the upper 50s.
chancerain
Wednesday
Mostly cloudy in the morning...then becoming partly sunny. A chance of showers. A chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 70s. Chance of rain 30 percent.
nt_chancerain
Wednesday Night and Thursday
Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 50s. Highs in the upper 70s. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Dalton MA to Cheshire MA

 
Friday, 7/24

AT Miles = 8.9 / 1567.7
Other Miles = 0 / 53.2
Total Miles = 8.9 / 1610.0

Miles to Katahdin = 610.6

So, slack-packing. Sa-weet! I coiuld definitely get used to this.

Jodi dropped me off in front of Tom Levardi's house in Dalton, which
is where she picked me up[ on Tuesday night, at 11:15 this morning.
The AT follows roads through town for a mile or so, and then turns off
into the woods. Since it just stopped raining this morning, there was
plenty of mud and wet rocks to contend with. But without a heavy pack
on my back, felt like I was flying. I covered the 9 miles to Cheshire
in under 3 hours, and at 2:10 I was walking the road into downtown
Cheshire and calling Jodi to come pick me up.

We headed back to the motel in Williamstown that Jodi had found for
us, showered, put on clean clothes, and were off for a nice dinner and
a martini. Now this is thru-hiking on the deluxe plan! Salad, fresh
bread, a couple of lamb chops and a baked potato, some fresh sauteed
vegetables, and some mud pie for dessert. All accompanied by a couple
of Sapphire martinis. Ahh!

Tomorrow Jodi will drop me off where she picked me up in Cheshire
today, and I will hike the 14 miles up and over Mount Greylock and
down to Rt 2 in North Adams. And since thwere is a road to the summit
of Greylock, Jodi can even meet me there with a nice lunch tomorrow!
How cool is that?

Unfortunately, this luxury can't go on forever. Come Sunday morning I
will be putting the backpack back on and hiking the last few miles of
Massachusetts and crossing into Vermont, the 12th of 14 trail states.

But for right now, I sure am enjoying my currently 'luxe existence!

~
Allen F. Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com

 

Cheshire MA to North Adams MA

 
Saturday, 7/25

AT Miles = 14.4 / 1582.1
Other Miles = 0.4 / 53.6
Total Miles = 14.8 / 1624.8

Miles to Katahdin = 596.2

Another day of slackpacking. After a hearty breakfast Jodi dropped me
off back in Cheshire and I hiked up to the summit of Greylock as the
sun burned through the clouds and fog. I got my first view of Greylock
on this trip when I was a mile or so south of the summit. Greylock is
usually visible from multiple spots in Connecticut and southern
Massachusetts, but the weather has been so wet and cloudy that I have
had no views at all.

It was really nice making the climb from 974' to 3491' (highest point
in Massachusetts) without my heavy backpack. I didn't even have to
carry my lunch as Jodi met me at the summit of Greylock with a big fat
grinder (hoagie, sub, spukie, po' boy) and a soda. She also brought a
bagful of sweet, delicious oranges and some grapes, which we shared
with some of the other hikers we saw there.

I finished my hiking day by hiking down the north side of Greylock
until the point where the trail crosses Rt 2 in North Adams. I will
start there tomorrow morning, with my full backpack this time, heading
for Vermont only 4 miles further north.

It has been really great slackpacking these last two days, and I will
be really sad, for multiple reasons, to leave Jodi tomorrow and watch
her drive off heading for home.

--
~~~~~
Allen F. Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


North Adams MA to Bennington VT

 
Sunday, 7/26

AT Miles = 18.4 / 1600.5
Other Miles = 0.4 / 54.0
Total Miles = 18.8 / 1643.6

Miles to Katahdin = 577.8

After two days of easy slackpacking, I was back in harness today. It rained last night -- surprise, surprise -- and it was heavily overcast this morning, with everything still wet from last night. With all this rain the trail is ridiculously muddy, and slogging and slipping through all that mud seems to make the hiking twice as hard.

My original goal when I set out this morning was Congdon Camp, 14 miles in, but I got there around 2:30 and I started thinking about the descent down to Rt 9, fouir miles further north. The trail goes down a long set of rock stairs coming steeply down., and knowing that it was almost certain to rain tonight I knew I'd be coming down some very wet rocks in the morning. Rather than do that, I decided to push on to the next shelter, a couple miles north of Rt 9. Then, while hiking, I realized that when I crossed Rt 9 I would be just a few miles from Bennington VT, and its motels, and restaurants, and stores selling ice cream. Next thing I knew I was standing on the shoulder of Rt 9 with my thumb out, and soon after I was in a nice hot shower getting ready to venture forth in search of a nice dinner. Such is the life of a thru-hiker!

Seriously, I have been feeling a lot better after four days of eating good meals, and while it will surely make this hike more expensive, I am vowing to spend more nights in town and eat as well as I can.

I've just perused the map and guidebook, and my plan is to hike the 19 miles to Story Spring Shelter tomorrow, then on Tuesday up and over Stratton Mountain, down to Stratton Pond, and on to Spruce Peak Shelter, about 18 1/2 miles. That will leave me positioned for a 3 mile nero into Manchester Center on Wednesday.

I feel like I need to make some real progress northward this week, and this will be a good start.

Did you notice I just passed 1600 miles today?

--
"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Monkeywrench
Allen Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Bennington VT to Story Spring Shelter

 
Monday, 7/27

AT Miles = 19.0 / 1619.5
Other Miles = 0 / 54.0
Total Miles = 19.0 / 1662.6

Miles to Katahdin = 558.8

I got the world's easiest hitch this morning. I barely stuck my thumb out and the first car to come by stopped and gave me a ride back to the trail.

Fvor some reason I thought the climb up to Goddard Shelter was 8 1/2 miles, and I couldn't figure out why it took me so long to get there. Then I looked at my book and realized that it was really ten miles. Ten uphill miles in 4:15 isn't so bad after all.

I ate lunch there then pushed on another four miles to Kid Gore Shelter. This is the section of trail I help maintain with the CT GMC, and I usually hike up and down this hill while cutting brush and stuff, so it felt strange to just cruise down the trail at full speed.

Just as I was reaching Kid Gore a thundershower that I had been listening to for a while let loose. I sat in Kid Gore for an hour snacking and reading until two storms rolled past, then I pushed on to Story Spring, where I am now.

--
"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Monkeywrench
Allen Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


View From Prospect Rock

 

Unbelievably, it is NOT raining!

--
"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Monkeywrench
Allen Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Story Spring Shelter to Spruce Peak Shelter

 
Tuesday, 7/28

AT Miles = 18.3 / 1637.8
Other Miles = 0.1 / 54.1
Total Miles = 18.4 / 1681.0

Miles to Katahdin = 540.5


It didn't rain last night. You might think that something not happening would be a non-event, but you'd be wrong. A night without rain is definitely an event this summer; an event to be cherished and celebrated. Not only did it not rain last night, but when I got up in the middle of the night I noticed these strange bright points of light in the sky. I had almost forgotten that stars exist.

It was a glorious, sunshiney, low humidity day today. I felt so good that I just flew over the trail. I stopped for my first lunch on the shore of Stratton Pond where I ate and chatted with the site caretaker. After that I pushed on to Prospect Rock, with views overlooking Manchester Center in the valley below, where I ate some more, and sat in the sun and read my book for an hour and a half, while my boots and socks dried in the sun.

I finally left there and hiked the last two miles here to the shelter. It was still nice while I was setting up camp and washing and doing other chores. Unfortunately now the sun has disappeared behind clouds, and the insects have appeared. I guess it isn't destined to be the wonderful evening I had anticipated. Bummer!

While at Prospect Rock I called Jeff at the Green Mountain House, a hiker hostel in Manchester Center, and reserved a bed for tomorrow night. I am only three miles from the road here. so I should be in town early tomorrow, do all my town chores, go to the post office to pick up my bounce box, then I will call Jeff for a ride to the hostel.

I just spent some time figuring out the next week or so of hiking. I should be in Rutland on Friday, ay Sherburne Pass and the Inn At Long Trail on Saturday, and in Hanover, NH next Tuesday!

I hope it stays dry tonight and tomorrow morning, so I don't have to try hitching into town while looking and smelling like a half-drowned rat.
--
"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Monkeywrench
Allen Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Spruce Peak Shelter to Manchester Center, VT

 
Wednesday, 7/29

AT Miles = 2.8 / 1640.6
Other Miles = 0 / 54.1
Total Miles = 2.8 / 1683.8

Miles to Katahdin = 537.7

Again last night, it did not rain!

I was up early this morning and on the trailby a quarter to seven. It
was less than 3 miles to Rt 11/30, and I was there a few minutes after
8:00. It took about 40 seconds to get a ride into town. I told the
woman who picked me up that I had heard Up For Breakfast was a good
breakfast place, and she agreed that it was and said she could drop me
right there. By 8:30 I was sitting down to a great breakfast, which I
stretched out for an hour or so. After that I sat outside for a while
finishing up my book and waiting for Northshire Books -- a GREAT book
store -- to open at 10:00. Once Northshire opened I spent a good hour
there browsing and bought a new book to read, then I walked down the
street towards the grocery store. I didn't quite make it to the
grocery store, stopping instead at a pizza restaurant for a pizza and
some soda. Finally, I made it to the grocery. I only needed a couple
of things for my hiking food bag, since I will be stopping in Rutland
in just two more days, but I bought I lot of food for tonight's meal.
I got a box of spaghetti, a jar of sauce, and a package of sweet
Italian sausage and some green and red peppers to saute up and add to
the sauce. I also bought some fresh fruit, and then I stopped at a
bagel / bakery and bought a sandwich for a mid-afternoon snack and
some bagels and cream cheese or tomorrow morning.

After all this shopping I lugged my backpack and my shopping bundles
down the street to the post office to pick up my bounce box, then I
called Jeff from the Green Mountain House hiker hostel and he drove
down to the post office and picked me up. This is a sweet place and I
have really been enjoying my time here.

--
~~~~~
Allen F. Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


New Photos

 
Pictures from the section from Dalton MA to Manchester Center VT can
be found here: http://www.allenf.com/gallery2/main.php/v/AT2009/DaltonToManchesterCenter/

--
~~~~~
Allen F. Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com


Zero Day in Manchester Center

 
Thursday, 7/30

AT Miles = 0 / 1640.6
Other Miles = 0 / 54.1
Total Miles = 0 / 1683.8

Miles to Katahdin = 537.7

A day of no forward progress, but a good day nonetheless.

The hostel here is a wonderful, comfortable place, spo last night I
decided to take a zero here. The most strenuous thing I did today was
to walk the mile and a half into town, where I went to see a movie
before walking up the street to the local steak house where I had a
big dinner and a beer.

Most of the day I hung around the hostel. I cooked up the food I
originally bought for last night's dinner as today's lunch. I ate a
huge plate of sausage and peppers and pasta, and what I couldn't eat
some of the other hikers finished. For dessert I had another pint of
Ben & Jerrys, this time Cherry Garcia.

Tomorrow I will be back on the trail; I promise. The forecast says
there is a 90% chance of rain tomorrow, but Saturday looks to be dry.
That;s something to look forward to.

I got an email today from a couple that live in New Hampshire and are
apparently reading this blog, offering me a shower and a place to
sleep when I get near their home. It is that kind of amazing
generosity that makes an AT hike such a special experience, and I am
looking forward to meeting them.

After I finished my dinner at the steak house I called Jeff, the
hostel proprietor, for a ride back to the hostel. As we were driving
back along the lovely, quintessential Vermont road to the hostel, we
passed a couple of cyclists out for their evening ride. Boy, I miss
cycling! I wish there were roads like these to cycle on back home. I
sure am looking forward to cycling somewhere with Jodi next summer.
Hey Jodi, let's spend a long weekend cycling up here in Vermont, and
we'll spend a night here at the hostel. I'm pretty sure Jeff would
welcome a couple of touring cyclists even though this is a hiker
hostel.

So now I have to spend a bit of time getting my bounce box together
for mailing tomorrow morning, and my bavkpacvk organized to head back
out to the trail.

Good night from Manchester Center, Vermont.

--
~~~~~
Allen F. Freeman
allen@allenf.com
www.allenf.com
allenf.blogspot.com

 

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Copyright 1996 - 2011 Allen F. Freeman
Last modified: November 03, 2011