Our original plan was to ride the bikes provided at Father Tom’s campsite to the Dunkin Donuts a mile away. The plan changed a bit when we didn’t sleep well due to the heat and ended up waking up later than expected. Oh well, better to eat the food we have with us. We enjoyed chatting with Skip and a couple of NOBOs during our morning instant coffee and our first time making cereal with powered milk. It was definitely an interesting change to our boring peanut butter or oatmeal breakfast.
We were on trail by 8:30AM and knew our day was going to be a hustle. The plan changed a bit when we saw a weather forecast for Monday…rain all day. So now we get to combine our 2 short days into one long day so we can be in a shelter on Monday to avoid the rain.
Made it to Dalton around 11:30AM (good time!) and headed to the rec center for a shower. The Dalton Community Center is very thru-hiker friendly and provides showers in their locker rooms for free. While it was only 2 days ago since our last shower, yet the hot sun made us smell like it had been a week.
Now that we are clean we had to walk across town to the laundry mat, a bit counterproductive since it’s about 90 degrees but beggars can’t be choosers. Luckily there was a pizza place next door to the laundry mat so we enjoyed a nice pepperoni pizza and many cold sodas. We dried out our tent and reminisced about how much we liked Dalton.
Dalton is one of the best trail towns. Eric has fond memories from his 2011 thru-hike. Hayley also enjoyed this special town during the completion of the Massachusetts section hike in 2016, her first long distance hike. There is a trail angel that allows hikers to camp on his lawn which was our original plan but we have to move on to set ourselves up to avoid rain on Monday.
Just as we were hustling out of town we saw Sweat Pea’s ice cream and had to stop for a milkshake. We waved to Skip (staying at trail angel’s place) as we left Dalton and began the climb out of town. The heat made terrain tough and we trudged along. We stopped a couple times to chug some electrolytes and take a breath. We struggled but had to push in order to make it to our destination before dark.
Just before our breaking point…magic. Trail angel Bonnie had set out cold drinks, snacks, and water at a road crossing. We were incredibly grateful for cold water and Gatorade. We chatted a bit and took a snack for the road since it was getting late.
Shortly before arriving at our destination, we passed over the bog bridges where Hayley earned her trail name. We are happy to report no epic shell shock falls this time.
A little before 7PM we arrived at the Cookie Lady 2.0 House and blueberry farm. She provided us with the best hibiscus lemonade we have ever had (probably the only hibiscus lemonade we’ve ever had). She also provides free cookies to snack on. The property is on 20 acres, with 3 of those acres designated for blueberries. There are over 1000 blueberry bushes here. We enjoyed picking berries at dusk and under headlamps. We’re taking them to cabin we are staying at tomorrow to be used in pancakes. It would have been quicker if we didn’t sample as many but we both filled a 16oz bottle with delicious fresh blueberries.
This has been an amazing (and exhausting) day. Staying at the Cookie Lady is easily one of the most peaceful settings and one of our favorite nights so far. We tried to stay up as late as we could but sleep got a hold of us and the cooling temps lured us into a deep slumber.
We were up at 5:30AM and loved the mists swirling through the blueberry bushes and over the fields. We enjoyed watching hummingbirds buzz around during our morning coffee. At one point a fuzzy bee and hummingbird clashed over space at the hummingbird feeder. Unfortunately rain was coming and we couldn’t stay. We had 10 miles to go and hopefully we will miss the rain.
The terrain was easy. The early morning weather was cool yet humid. We struggled a bit with the fast pace and humidity. Our action packed days are starting to catch up with us. A nice short day is what we need now. Eric caught a glimpse of our first bear. As with most bear encounters, this sighting was of a black, fuzzy, ball of fur running away from of us about 25 – 30 yards off trail.
We arrived at Upper Goose Pond cabin at 11:30AM. We are happy to take the afternoon to relax at the cabin and duck out of the incoming rain. This cabin has a caretaker and in the morning we’ll get coffee and pancakes (now blueberry pancakes because of the berries we carried from the cookie lady). The caretaker also complemented our carry container. Most hikers bring blueberries in a Ziplock bag and they end up getting crushed (our bottle kept them intact). We sat on the dock by the pond and enjoyed the view until the rain started to fall. We moved to the porch to relax and strategize our next week. We ate some dinner on the dock once the shower passed and played a little cribbage. The rain came in again and we were happy to have a dry place to sleep. The night was relaxing and while the cabin was primitive we were able to get cell service so Hayley had a nice long conversation with her family. We went to bed in the bunk room, happy to have had a less action packed day.
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