Getting Over the Hump: Peekskill, NY to North Adams, MA
Oops, it looks like it’s been quite a while since my last blog post. I tell you what, it gets harder and harder to write a blog post the more you put it off. So much happens that I don’t know where to start! I’m breaking these posts down separately so that it doesn’t become one long post that no one wants to read. CT & MA will be one (sorry, it’s the semi-dreary one), VT will be another (yay, happier!), and then I’ll write a NH/ME post later on.
After our time at the cottage with StarTrek’s family back at the end of June (about a month ago – WHAAAAT?!), we made our way through the rest of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. The other big news is that Spirit has decided to hike her own hike. As her intentions for her hike began to change, she realized that she was hiking our hike and not her own anymore. I totally understand and obviously support her decision, but it was definitely hard to say goodbye to my cousin and our third hiking partner. Perhaps she’ll write an update soon with more about her adventures!
I had a hard time getting through Connecticut and Massachusetts. Connecticut seems to be the place where a lot of people hit a wall, and I unexpectedly hit that wall. It rained about 2-6 days a week for weeks on end, and the trail was filled with many “PUDs” – Pointless Ups and Downs (basically, big climbs with no view at the top). I was just plain run-down. It was the first time I really realized that the trail is not all “bunnies and rainbows”. Despite this challenging time, there were definitely some great moments.
Highlights (CT & MA):
- The Bearded Woods Hostel: StarTrek and I are pretty frugal people, so when we heard this place was going to cost $50 pp, we almost poo-poo-ed it right away. Then I realized that if it included a shuttle, laundry, bed with linens, a huge breakfast, AND dinner, it would probably end up costing the same amount as staying in town and buying breakfast and dinner. On second thought, this was a great deal. And holy cow, this place was amazing. Big Lou and Hudson are two of the most gracious hosts we’ve had. Big Lou cooks some mean meals, cleans the place until it’s spotless, and Hudson entertains us all with stories and videos of his previous thru-hike…and even does your laundry for you!
- Lyme? I guess this one isn’t so much a highlight. The night we hit Sages Ravine Campsite (1 mile into MA), I was more exhausted and in pain than I have been the whole trip. Tired, headache, joint pain. I’d been feeling like that for a while, so I decided to go into town the next day to get checked for Lyme Disease. The Lyme test came back negative a couple weeks later and I have been feeling much better!
- The Garlock’s/Goose Pond (July 2-5): My very good friend from high school, Stephanie Garlock, has an amazing family who bought a lake house about a mile from the AT. Her mom, who is one of the sweetest moms around, picked us up from the clinic in town and brought us back to the lake house so that I could recover for a few days. This place is BEAUTIFUL. The first night, we canoed over to Upper Goose Pond Shelter, which is an AT shelter right on the lake (a 15 min. canoe ride for us, and a .5 mi. walk from the AT). StarTrek and I brought leftover food and bananas to the hikers there as a small token of trail magic. The next day we zeroed at the lake house and saw a movie in town. Steph’s sister, Amy, arrived with some of her friends from New York and we all hung out that night to watch 3rd of July fireworks. On the 4th, we slack-packed by getting dropped off at the trail-head and literally just walking ourselves back to their house. It rained all day, but I felt a bit better, especially knowing we were going back to the lake house for a 4th of July meal. It was also just really nice terrain and a generally happy day. Amy and her friends made an epic funfetti flag cake. We are so thankful for the Garlock’s friendly hospitality and general amazingness.
- Birch’s House (July 5-7): This was our a continuation of our apparent “boycott” of camping in Massachusetts. Side-note: we only ended up camping/staying in a shelter our first and last night in MA. We hiked about 14 miles from the Garlock’s to Birch and Susan’s House in Pittsfield, MA. StarTrek met Birch on his 2009 thru-hike, and they kept in touch. Birch and Susan treated us like royalty! They are also amazing chefs. Spaghetti, meatballs, garlic bread, and salad from their garden. Pancakes. Burgers with corn. Fresh eggs and bacon. We got spoiled, to say the least. We slack packed 20 miles and stayed with them for a total of 2 nights. On the second day, at the end of our slack pack, we met The Cookie Lady and The Cookie Man. They’re a nice older couple who own a farm and offer homemade cookies, lemonade and other goodies to hikers that stop by.
- Mount Greylock: Our first real mountain! After slack-packing for days, hiking with full packs over our first big climb was TOUGH. And not surprisingly, it was raining and miserable. We maintained our high spirits, and although a lot of people stopped at the lodge on top of Greylock, we pushed our wet selves on to the shelter down the mountain. We actually ended up being the only ones at the shelter that night, which was a first.
An update on Vermont coming soon…
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