Massachusetts (pt. II): Home baked goodies, new slippery shoes, and biking

I made it to the post office at 4:25, 5 minutes before it closed. I grabbed all my packages and started to make my way to the house of local, and long term trail-angel, Tom Livaldi, who lets hikers set up their tents in his backyard for free. I literally could not see over my boxes as I walked, and I was carefully trying to balance carrying the weight in front of me, and the weight on my back, when a local pulled up and offered to give me a ride the rest of the 1 mile walk to Tom’s (people are so kind).

Once I arrived to Tom’s, after setting up my tent, I handed out the extra cookies and brownies from my mom

From Left to Right: Tom, Breezy, Shorts, and Chowder eating the cookies and brownies from my mom!

Upon learning that he would do laundry for a small fee, I handed over a big sopping wet bag of my smelly clothes and changed into his loaners. Then, I decided to take advantage of what appeared to be a dry evening, and walk to the local community center, where I was told I would be able to shower and take a sauna (for free)!!!

Well, the weather laughed at me and as soon as I was a decent distance from Tom’s, it began to rain. Not to be deterred from my plans for the night, I walked into a gas station and asked for a trash bag, which I promptly ripped a hole into and then continued my walk. Talk about hiker trash!

Despite the rain, I made it to the community center where I cleansed myself of the mud and grime that covered me after a week of hard hiking through the rain, I came out feeling like a new person, and walked across the street to get myself a fat burrito full of protein. Here I experienced even more trail magic as a local insisted on buying my burrito for me :’)

New Shoes

You see, hiking shoes have a certain number of miles, after which they typically should be swapped out. The number of miles is specific to each brand+model of shoe, and also dependent on the type of wear and year they endure (i.e., a pair of shoes is much more worn after thru-hiking in them on rough terrain day after day compared to if they are used for road walking every-once-and-a-while).

I had used my shoes backpacking in Patagonia, and on all my shakedown hikes in SoCal while prepping for the AT. That and by the time I reached Dalton, I had over 500 AT miles clocked on them. So it was time for them to be switched out.

The shoes I was trading out: Altra Olympus 4

The Shoes I was bringing in: Altra Lone Peak 7

I absolutely LOVED my Olympus’, however, the first day I wore my Lone Peaks, I hiked ~8 miles from Dalton to Cheshire, MA, and along the way I slipped and slid all over. Near the end of that day, my foot shot out from under me as I went to step down onto a rock, and I thought I almost pulled my hamstring… I ended that day nervous to hike the following day, convinced that if I stayed in these shoes, I would injure myself.

Luckily for me, there was an outfitters in the next-door town which could be reached by either the local bus system, calling and asking an employee to come pick me up, or (and this was my favorite option), by borrowing one of the bikes from the campsite I was at that night and biking myself there!

Bikes?! You ask. At a campsite?

Yes! Because I was not an any normal campsite, I was at theĀ Father Tom Campsite in Cheshire, MA. This was a place that had been set up by locals in the town for hikers to camp at. It is o this day the nicest thru-hiker campsite I have been at because of the following:

  • it was flat and large enough for many tents
  • there were multiple electric outlets we could use
  • there was a picnic table and clean, running water we did not have to filter
  • it was located next to all the things we could need (right next to the trail, across from an ice cream place (my favorite), near a Dunkin’ Donuts, and a Dollar General).
  • It had 3 bikes that anyone could borrow

I absolutely love to bike. In fact, I’ll admit that I have been missing my bike while on the trail, so I was stoked to have an excuse to ride my bike to the outfitters.

At the outfitters, I got a new pair of Soloman shoes, which you could not even tell were new after one day of hiking in the mud with them

Speaking of used gear, this is what my current set of hiking pole tips look like!

Cheshire seemed to be a great place for hikers, and I am sad I did not get to spend more time there. But before I left, I found their monument to the Mammoth Cheese that was gifted to Thomas Jefferson, a fun little history fact you may enjoy reading about

Mt. Greylock

After all the shenanigans surrounding my shoes, I hiked up and over Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts.

What I should have seen vs. What I did see

Apparently the views from the top should be quite nice, but yep, bingo, you got it, I did not get to see any of them (thank you once again, weather)So, as you can tell, MA was really full of its ups and downs (literally and figuratively) for me. The rain was really getting to me, and yet I still found moments to be happy despite it. I know I’ve written now, multiple times, about how sites from the tops of mountains were shrouded from me due to the weather, but you may have noticed in all my photos at the ops of these mountains, I still look pretty happy. I can’t explain it but for some reason, the irony of never getting to see a nice site after a long hard hike has just made me laugh. I’m still chugging along, knowing that as long as I push through the hard (i.e., rainy) days, I’ll come upon something, whether that be another hiker, trail magic, or simply a dry place to rest, that will cheer me up and keep me going.

Mile 1600

Breakfast Trail Magic by Bacon Wrap. The thru-hiker in the red shirt is Machine, a friend of Bambi, Cookie Monster, and Lawsuit’s


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Comments 3

  • thetentman : Jul 16th

    Love the post. Is it ever sunny on Greylock? It snowed the day I climbed it.



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