The Battle of Hogwarts

The trail has a way of stripping away all your defenses.   It leaves you emotionally raw and vulnerable.  I’ve found that literature can hit you on the trail in ways it rarely does under normal circumstances.

I listen to audiobooks while I walk.  I know purist may be appalled by this, but I have tinnitus, a condition caused by high frequency hearing loss.  Like an amputee who feels their missing limb, I constantly hear the whine of the frequencies I can no longer hear.  Hearing something mutes that whine a bit.

As I worked my way up some challenging ridges in Connecticut, I listened to the exciting conclusion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.  Neville killed Nagini, I cried; Harry Potter uses the resurrection stone to bring back his parents and Sirius Black back, I bawled.  When I read it the first time, that didn’t happen.  The trail was a royal pain at that particular point and the cathartic release triggered by the book helped me deal with it. Some of my trail induced anxiety was transferred to the the book and flowed out of me with my tears.  Just another way the trail works its magic.

No crying in thru hiking?  Don’t think so.  If it were easy everyone would do it.

Great Barrington

I’m in Great Barrington for a well deserved zero.  I’m 500 miles into this section and still have about 660 miles to go.  I have a deadline.  My daughter will be delivering my second grandchild toward the end of July and I want to be there.  I’ve accepted that I may not make it to Katahdin this year.  I’ll hike my hike and accept whatever happens.

Finishing up New York

After I was dropped off in Harriman State Park in New York, I walked to the Bear Mountain Inn and stayed in a room that cost more than I really wanted to spend.  (Note to other hikers…might be best to get to Fort Montgomery when West Point isn’t having graduation).  I hiked to the post office to mail food drops to trail towns to the north and walked across the Hudson in the rain and spent the night at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center.  The convenience store on Route 9, just before Graymoor is not be missed!  There was a nice bunch huddled under the pavilion.  We all got along famously until hiker midnight which for me is around 8:30.

The Hudson River bridge

The pavilion at Graymoor on a rainy day


The next day I had a special treat in store.  One of my rugby teammates lives close to Route 301.  While I haven’t seen Ken in 40 plus years and we weren’t even particularly close back in the day, he has been following my thru on Facebook and volunteered to put me up for the night not to mention provide a bottomless bowl of incredible gumbo.  As we talked that night I regretted not knowing him all that well back in the day.  I found we really had a lot in common.  The love of the outdoors, the game we played so long ago and Rob Haswell, our coach who taught us the game we grew to love and more…Our secret crushes on Rob’s wife, Penny whose beauty coupled with an unrestrained love of life probably shaped all of our visions of a what we wanted our future partners to be like, our teammates…we could have talked all night!

Bulawayo which means place of slaughter was LSU rugby’s battlecry

I left Ken’s house clean, rested, loaded with eggs and pancakes and headed for Connecticut.  New York had been much rougher than I expected, but mentally I’m at a place where I can just accept the trail for what it is.  I got a day off from the rain.  While it never rained hard, the sprinkles had been relentless.

Leaving Ken’s the sun broke through to give a day without rain

The train station right on the trail. I managed to resist New York City’s siren call

I crossed Route 22 on Memorial Day and camped next to Tony’s Deli. Sleeping through the passing trains was a challenge, but the food made it all worthwhile

New York’s gentle transition into Connecticut


I had been warned about Connecticut.  PUDS (pointless up and downs) with a couple of nice breaks walking next to the Housatonic.  It was pretty much as advertised.  It was much lusher than I expected.  I walked into Kent to resupply and stayed at the Fife and Drum Inn.  The food at their restaurant was outstanding.  Breakfast at the Villager the next morning didn’t disappoint either.  Kent is a nice place to resupply.  Breakfast at 7:00, post office and grocery store at 8:00, packed and on the trail by 9:00…

Another one bites the dust!

The green tunnel

The sun returns!

The Housatonic River… In Connecticut, there are a couple of stretches that parallel the river. Time to fly!

While most the trail runs through the forest, sometimes you get to enjoy a larger slice of the world you’re walking through

Sunrise at the Riga Shelter. This shelter has one of the best views of any shelter I’ve visited

Just before the northern border of Connecticut, the Sages Ravine.  This place just takes my breath away!


You really have to celebrate whenever you get to a new state!

I hiked north toward Great Barrington for my zero.  As I climbed my second Bear Mountain, it started to rain again.  Not hard, but it didn’t let up.  I put on my rain jacket, but didn’t bother with my skirt (the improved ventilation with a rain skirt is a lot more comfortable than rain pants).  By the time I got to the Hemlocks shelter, my shorts were soaked. I met Nick Karikas, my third Trek blogger, this trip at the shelter.   I scarfed a couple of bags of tuna and crawled into my bag to warm up.  The next morning, I basically ate all my remaining food and walked into town.

No Longer Under Warranty

My lower back has been bugging me a bit.  I got a massage at Body and Soul massage in Great Barrington.  Lucy worked over the tight muscle that was giving me problems and recommended a couple of stretches I could do.  They were remarkably similar to the ones my Pilates instructor wanted to do.  Guess I need to make the time!

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Comments 2

  • Jim McLean : Jun 6th

    Great to let us “tag” along!

  • Tori (giggles) : Jun 9th

    Hey old growth! Keep on trekking! You are so inspiring and I love following your journey! Just remember it is totally possible to cry and walk at the same time!


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