In the past twelve days I have hiked from Bennington VT to Kent CT, spent a night in Boston, met up with some more SOBOs (southbound AT thru hikers), and gotten wet. Really wet.
Massachusets, poor soul, has few mountains of any size. But it does have rocks just like any self-respecting New England state should. Those rocks tend to be rather slippery when wet; at times I thought I was back in the Whites. Walking through the clouds reinforced that impression.
Just before Mt. Greylock, Massachuset's highest mountain, Piper and I managed to get lost. Between the two of us we have a lot of backcountry experience and it was rather amusing that we walked up to the top of Mt. Williams, looked at the view and talked a bit and then couldn't remember which way we walked up. Rookie mistake. The nearest trail marker was three tenths of a mile away so we each took off in a different direction and then reported back. At least we avoided the dreaded nine mile walk in the wrong direction! Yes, that happens on the trail. Apparently fairly often considering how many hikers have a story similar to that.
Massachusets had some nice sections and very friendly people. Hot mulled cider from M&M, a 2007 AT thru hiker, on top of Greylock was definitely a highlight. That doesn't count the Cookie Lady or Tom Levardi, or even the hardware store in Dalton that gives free cooking alcohol to thru hikers. And Cheshire MA has a very nice playground that caused an hour long distraction.
Connecticut has been no slouch either. The forests are very pretty here with plenty of birch trees coloring the ground yellow with their fallen leaves while still painting the sky green and golden. Just north of St. Johns Ledges, Connecticut has a section of trail that could be in the Whites too. It didn't have a lot of elevation, but it was tricky in the rain. and the folks in Cornwall Bridge gave us apple cake and a free drink. I took ginger beer; it was from Jamaica and absolutely delicious. Even more so because I packed it in to the shelter.
Last night I met two more SOBOs, heretofore unknown to me. They said that there were at least twenty more SOBOs still farther north. I may see some tonight since I have not gone far today, coming into Kent to take care of some business and only hiking out to get to the next shelter.
My question for today is if I will see a repeat of Great Barrington. Piper had gotten off the trail in Lee to visit a friend in Boston for a day and a half. Two days later I did the same from Great Barrington. Hiking out of Great Barrington at night I climbed Mt. Bushnell. The rain had been pouring down for hours and the trail was a river - frequently above my ankles. Night fell and I was still making my way upwards. As I came close to the shelter I saw a light in the distance. I thought it was the shelter. Then a challenge was issued. "Do I know you?" I had run into Piper! After dark. In pouring rain. On the side of a mountain masquerading as a raging river. Each of us was glad that neither of us was loony. And then we realized where we were and that we might very well be considered loony. But a trustworthy loony.
Last but not least, I am ready to announce that I will not be finishing my hike at Harpers Ferry. Since I am on a roll, I plan to end my hike at Amicalola Falls in Georgia. So if I missed you on the first go-round south of the Mason-Dixon line (I missed everyone) hopefully I will see you this time.
The New York state line is fast approaching and I hope to go to some harvest festivals there and pick apples. Maybe I'll test my profound skills at following marked trails and go get lost in a corn maze. For now, I'm signing off to go hike in the rain. But maybe I'll eat a pizza first. We'll see.
Merry the Hobbit
Soaked and Having a Blast