Days 97-99

Day 97, 8/3/23

Glen Brook Shelter to North Mt Wilcox Shelter

21.5 miles, mile 1,542.6

Today was a remarkably uneventful day of hiking except for some AMAZING trail magic about 8 miles into the day. There is a church nearby who does trail magic for a couple weeks every year. They had quite the setup with battery banks to charge devices, a grill, burgers, hot dogs, sodas, Gatorades, chips, and baked goods! They let me read the ingredients on the burger patties, and thankfully they were 100% beef. I explained that I have celiac disease and they happily grilled me three patties with cheese and gave it to me on a plate without a bun. It hit the damn spot that’s for sure. I regret not asking for more to pack out for dinner! I drank a coke and Gatorade and also had some chips while my phone charged. They were all super friendly and excited to be out helping hikers.

There were a couple dogs out on trail today, one of them was named Etta and is a southbound thru hiking pup! She was super excited to get some loving. The descent into Great Barrington was pretty steep this morning, and I was glad for the trail magic to sit down for a bit. My quads are a little sore tonight! After Great Barrington we had a lot of climbing over the 13 miles to the shelter. Kevin and I were talking about how we haven’t seen much wildlife lately when we saw a racoon at one of the road crossings.

I was happy to reach this shelter, even though it is 0.3 miles downhill. Which doesn’t seem like a lot, but after 21.5 miles certainly feels like a lot. When we got here, Espresso was in his tent with his wife, Dung Beetle. He skipped ahead a bit to hike with her again and we ended up catching them today! Maybe I’ll have another espresso made for me in the morning if I’m lucky. Tomorrow looks like rain, and the only shelters are one 14 miles away, or 23 miles away. I did some math and even if we only hike 15 miles a day, and take two weeks of zeros (I don’t think we will take that many) it puts us at the end of September to finish, which I think is a good time to. I do need to get a job once this is all over, so might as well drag it out a tad!

Day 98, 8/4/23

North Mt Wilcox Shelter to Upper Goose Pond Cabin

14.1 miles, mile 1,556.7

My day started so fantastic because I woke up to an Americano being slid under my tent vestibule that Espresso had made for me. Then everything went downhill when after 4 sips I spilled the whole thing inside my tent. Today was yet another short day of hiking because the weather was looking like impending doom, and this cabin has a caretaker and makes pancake breakfast. Obviously pancake breakfast is not a motivator for me and I just sat there eating my gluten free Chex while everyone else had buttery, syrupy, pancakes. Although the sky was dark and it was windy all day, the rain didn’t start until around 8pm. We had booked it there because the sky looked like it was going to open up any minute but it just never did. When we got there we went down to the dock and Kevin went swimming in the pond. I just dipped my feet in because with the wind and lack of sun it was pretty chilly. While we were down by the dock we heard a loon calling out on the pond which I always love to hear. Tomorrow we will hike to Dalton where a trail angel let’s people tent in his backyard!


Day 99, 8/5/23

Upper Goose Pond Cabin to Dalton, MA

20.7 miles, mile 1,577.1

I think I slept for about 2 hours from 4-6am. Even with the rain I should have just set my tent up, the bunk room was completely full and there was lots of snoring throughout the night, and when I inevitably had to pee in the middle of the night I had to go downstairs and outside and not just unzip my tent. I had extra coffee this morning and some Mio with caffeine in it early in the afternoon to get me through.

The miles did come surprisingly easier than normal today. We were hiking from 7:30am-4:30pm and took a little over an hour break at lunchtime. There wasn’t much elevation which is how we managed to move quicker. About 10 miles into the day we came to the “cookie lady’s” house. She runs a pick your own blueberry farm and has a power strip, cookies, cold lemonade, and hammocks and chairs for hikers. There were also three adorable pups that were loving the attention from everyone. I ate my lunch and drank some lemonade while swinging in a chair suspended from a tree branch. While I waited for my battery bank to charge some more I read on my Kindle app for a bit in the chair. The weather was so impeccable at lunchtime. The chairs were in the shade and a consistent breeze was coming through. I could have stayed there all day. I gave a donation for the lemonade and we continued up the trail.

When we arrived at the trail angels house I asked if we could tent here and he said yes. There are about 9 tents set up in the yard now. It is right near downtown Dalton so I looked up restaurants nearby. There was an Italian place called PortaVia that had gluten free pasta for a $3 upcharge, which I understand but is still frustrating when I don’t have a choice. When I went to pick it up there were two $3 charges so I said that only my pasta was gluten free and the employee said that the other $3 was for the bread. This was a shock to me because the bread comes with the regular pasta dish for free, and the menu said nothing about $3 for pasta and $3 for bread. I was very nice about it but let them know that’s a little crazy that a $12 pasta bowl costs me $18 just because I have celiac. When we got back to the house and I opened the dishes, the pastas looked identical which is always a red flag. I called them back and asked if their gluten free and regular pastas look the same and she said they do. The worst part is the portion was very small and I’m still hungry after eating it. It was absolutely not worth $18. I was telling this story to Espresso and he gave me some rice that he had cold soaked at lunchtime and never ended up eating! You know what they say, “the trail provides” (sometimes).

While I was ordering the pasta another hiker heard me and she came over because she has celiac too. She is the first person on the trail that I’ve met with celiac! We talked about it for a bit and she let me know that she has developed other autoimmune diseases that are common with celiac and that I should keep an eye on things. I never like to hear things like that. She was 22 when she got diagnosed (she had mono which triggered it) and is in her 40’s now.

I believe tomorrow is our last full day in Massachusetts, and then it’s onto Vermont!

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Comments 2

  • T : Aug 5th

    With your engineering degree and being able to show the fortitude of completing a thru hike, you should have no problem finding a job. Enjoy the trail, work life will be there when you finish

  • Kelly Fox : Aug 11th

    I think is awesome an looks an sounds so fun. I wish I could be there.


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