Froggy Flip-Flops the AT: Chapter Two
We crossed into Connecticut on Kool’s birthday. Kats finished his section, so we said goodbye to him in New York. It was just the three of us now, or as Shake came up with,”The Trinity”. Shake and I packed out cupcakes, maple candy and beer. We couldn’t find any candles, but we still sang happy birthday.
I was sleeping really well in the cool night air, until something crashing in the woods woke me up. I put on my glasses and sat up to check on the noise, because you know, bears. I was speechless by what I saw outside my tent. Not a large animal, but thousands of little ones. The whole field outside the shelter and campsites twinkled with fireflies. It was so beautiful, I just stared for a while. I was so grateful to be out on the trail, and grateful to witness such beauty. Never saw what woke me up, but I’m so glad it did.
We received really great trail magic too. After Saint John’s Ledges, we met “Useful”, a former AT thru hiker. He pulled a bunch of bananas out of his fanny pack like a magician and gave us each one. Then we came across “Boo Boo” and her dog “Yogi” who thru hiked the AT in 2017. She had watermelon, homemade chocolate chip cookies, sodas, beer, and water. She even had chairs for us to sit in. We hung out with her for a while, enjoying the treats and company.
The scenery here is just beautiful. Walking along the Housatonic River was soothing, and don’t even get me started on Sages Ravine. It reminded me of a scene from Lord of the Rings. Lush green moss, hills, pines, cascading rivers. We took our time here because it was so gorgeous. Good thing we planned a shorter day.
The first day in Massachusetts was amazing. Rock ledge ridge walking led to amazing views of bigger, badder mountains. Just layers of mountains, everywhere you looked. I had no idea that that amazing day would be followed up by my worst night on trail. So far at least.
Some other highlights of Massachusetts were Mount Greylock and Upper Goose Pond Cabin. We spent four hours on Mount Greylock. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we wound up splitting three 22 oz beers and just day drank and got sunburned like pure hiker trash. And after doing a 21 mile day, Upper Goose Pond was a welcome nearo. We enjoyed the pond after voluntarily helping Jo, the caretaker, with chores to thank her for the delicious breakfast. Nothing lifts a hiker’s spirits like pancakes and real coffee.
Sometimes you just get a crappy tent spot. Guthooks said there was ample tenting at the shelter, but most of it was off limits for re-vegetation, which Guthooks didn’t state. So I wound up camping on a slope. Oh well, I just kept my head on the high end and put my pack at the foot of my sleeping pad to keep me from sliding too bad. I talked to my husband until about 9:00, then tossed and turned, fought the hill until I eventually fell asleep.
I was woken up at 1:00 in the morning by men hollering and flashlights shining all over. “SARAH!!! Is Sarah here, are you okay??!!” Whoever the hell Sarah is, she better answer, I’m trying to sleep. I rolled over, and they kept shouting and shining their flashlights. Good grief. “SARAH!!!! Is there a Sarah here??!!!” Wait a minute. MY name is Sarah. I sat up, more awake and suddenly realizing they possibly were looking for me.
Turns out, while I was tossing and turning and sliding into my backpack, the Garmin In Reach GPS device I carry was unlocked and activated, sending out an SOS. The Massachusetts State Police were looking for me, thinking I was injured, or worse. And my husband was in Virginia, thinking the same. Oh no. I was mortified. I got out, showed them my ID, proved I was okay and apologized profusely. They were really nice, saying they were glad they found me safe, as opposed to the alternative. Luckily the shelter was close to a parking lot, so they didn’t have to come too far up the trail. But still, they were out looking for me in the middle of the night, when I was in fact safe. A huge waste of time, effort and resources on their end.
Lesson learned, I now make sure my Garmin is in the lock mode at all times and I also keep it near my head at night so I won’t accidentally activate the SOS. And I turned the mute off, so if I accidentally set it off again, I can actually HEAR the loud noise it makes, signalling the SOS is in fact, going off. Huge thank you to Garmin, who kept in constant contact with my husband and updated him on the progress of the search. Also HUGE thanks to the Massachusetts State Police who also worked with my husband and were so kind to me when they found me safe. Seriously embarrassed, but safe. So if you’re on the fence about getting a GPS/SOS device, it works really well. Just don’t set it off accidentally.
And despite my husband’s suggestion, I am not changing my trail name to “False Alarm Froggy”.
Until next time,
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