A Tramily Member Returns
When I poked my head out of my tent I saw that Lt. Dinglebeary had returned! He and his girlfriend Cam arrived in the early morning hours. Initially Dinglebeary fell behind due to a foot injury then got off trail for a friend’s wedding. He jumped ahead to finish the trail with us, but will return to hike the miles he skipped.
The others had already departed when Cam offered to slack pack Sonic, Dinglebeary, and I. It was fun! I felt so light and bouncy with only snacks, my phone, water, one pole, and my rain jacket. We moved faster than usual and got lightly rained on a few times. After nine miles, the trail went through the town of Dalton.
The three of us met Serendipity and All The Way at a coffee & juice shop. We got drinks then met Cam at a burrito restaurant. To reduce pack weight, I ate a backpacking meal while the others ordered food. I did help them with their chips. Hobble-It was hiking to the next town to bounce a pair of shoes forward.
I reunited with my backpack for the next ~9 miles to Cheshire. The trail wandered through town, returned to the woods, and ascended a mountain. I just finished filtering water from a small stream when rain came pouring down. Splashing through puddles and encountering a newt put a smile on my face. The little newt tumbled a foot, landing on its back, but quickly righted itself. I made sure it was okay before moving on. The rain ceased after a couple miles and I went slowly from wet to damp.
We caught up to Hobble-It at Father Tom Hiker campsite in Cheshire. It was a great space with grassy ground, picnic tables, charging, tasty water, and clean port-a-potties. A kind man named the Polish Hermit brought a basket of snacks from which we each selected an item. I caught up with Sir Elton, whom I hadn’t seen since before I got my trail name.
When I woke up, my tent fly was heavily condensed with moisture. I rolled the fly into my pack cover and strapped it down beneath my pack’s brain. Hobble-It, Serendipity, and All The Way took off early. I joined Sonic & Dinglebeary on a gas station detour. We got snacks and I caught Pokémon.
The trail ascended towards the summit of Mt. Greylock in a gentle manner. I enjoyed the quiet woods, lush with ferns and occasional streams. A mile from the summit I came across trail magic, a man named Bacon Wrap and his dog Hannah. He was talkative and had great snacks. I put my rain fly out to dry and hung out for 30-45 minutes.
Mt. Greylock (3,491 ft.) is the highest peak in Massachusetts. It is topped by an impressive war memorial. I hung out on top, eating my lunch, drying my ground tarp, and chatting with a day hiker named Derrick. I met him and his dog Hermes on the final summit push. He is climbing New England state high points.
At that point I had dawdled enough so I headed down the mountain to meet my trail family. We stayed in Williamstown for the night. Sonic, Dinglebeary, Hobble-It, and I shared a room at The Willows. All The Way stayed at the same motel while Serendipity stayed with her friend, Tasha. I went with All The Way to get take out from a Greek restaurant while the others got Thai take out. We all ate dinner together on Tasha’s back deck, which was within walking distance of our motel.
The Willows had an excellent continental breakfast with lots of fresh fruit, nuts, and plain Greek yogurt. We ate and talked with a south bounder named Early Bird. He gave us tips on the White Mountains and other terrain ahead. Afterwards the motel attendant shuttled us back to the trail.
It took three miles of walking to reach the 1600 mile marker. Then about one mile later we got to the Vermont border. Woohoo, another state to which I have not been and that I am excited to explore! We had fun taking pictures of one another jumping up in the air by the sign. Then we took a group picture (minus Dinglebeary who was ahead) and had a snack break.
The afternoon was alternating ups and downs. Ferns adorned the forest floor and I passed multiple beaver ponds. I ate part of my lunch while walking and part with Sonic and Hobble-It in an open spot under power lines. We leap-frogged around one another and most of us mistakenly walked down a road for a ways (less than 0.1 mile for me). I stopped to filter water several times.
Our goal was Melville N. shelter, but a south bounder told Serendipity & Dinglebeary that a confrontational man was there burning trash. We decided to camp short of the shelter in a stealth spot near Route 9. A rushing stream somewhat drowned the intermittent car noise.
I woke at 5 am and was on trail by six. My motivation was reaching camp before the afternoon thunderstorms let loose. The trail climbed immediately, yet not as steeply as I expected. A light rain fell several times so I put on my pack cover, but not my rain jacket. I ran into Hobble-It and we walked together, chatting. At the Little Pond Lookout we took a snack break and I caught a colorful Pokémon.
The trail climbed all morning to the top of Glastenbury Mountain. Our tramily, minus Sonic, arrived around the same time and took a lunch break. There was an observation tower and I climbed up with Serendipity. It was an awesome view! The tower rose above a vast sea of pine tree tops. In the distance I spotted a couple lakes and blue mountains.
After lunch I hiked with Hobble-It and All The Way. We reached Story Spring shelter with thunder rumbling and the sky darkening. There were sprinkles as the three of us quickly set up our structures. Dinglebeary helped Hobble-It and Serendipity checked on my progress. I climbed inside right before a heavy downpour. Poor Sonic got drenched, but arrived in good spirits. Once the rain stopped I got out of my tent to fetch water and chat briefly, then retreated to the dry coziness inside.
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