Ukelady and Possum Have New England Adventures
Though our journey is winding down, and technically we are now home and snug in our beds, our blog posts last left you in Connecticut. So, Ukelady’s traveling back in time to catch you up on all the action.
September 6 – 9 miles
I’ve been losing my trail mojo lately, ready for our adventure to end, but the trail provided excellent motivation to keep going today. We saw a ton of gorgeous views, climbed the adorable rock pile observation “tower” atop Bear Mountain, and hiked for a while along a beautiful babbling brook. Other than the steep and rocky descent from Bear Mountain (which was a scary wall of rocks to look back at – sorry, SOBOs!), the day couldn’t have been nicer.
Also, we crossed out of Connecticut and into Massachusetts! If it seems like we weren’t in CT for very long, that’s because we weren’t. We skipped ahead again to stay on schedule so we can meet up with a friend. Maybe we will come back to CT to hike again sometime; it looks pretty nice on paper.
We set up for the night at a place that only had tent platforms and pads – not ideal when you have a non-freestanding tent like ours that is big and must be staked in the ground to stay upright. Luckily Possum jerry-rigged it, though, and our cozy home was only slightly misshapen.
September 7 – 8.4 miles
Today was a busy one. The hike had two big climbs, the second of which was very rocky. Things took longer than we hoped and we ran out of water – our bad. Luckily a trail angel was waiting at the bottom of Mt. Everett with gallons of cold water.
Our next surprise was running into an old trail friend: Blue! It was so nice to sit and catch up with her. We won’t run into her again, so we are wishing happy trails as she and Forest Gump head up to Maine. You’ve got this, friends!
I really need a break from hiking so my feet can heal – the rocky descents are making me slide to the front of my shoes, which are too big. Everyone said to buy at least a half size up because your feet will swell, but mine never really did and I am paying for that gamble now. The inner arch of both feet is raw and painful. So for feet-reasons and fun-reasons, we decided to take the next day off and went to the near-trail Moon in the Pond Farm for a zero. We spent the night collecting apples and pears and getting settled in, ready for real work the next day.
Looking up, the sky has more stars than we’ve seen on the trail so far. Normally we’re asleep by the time they manifest. It’s great to feel like you’re making the right choices – and stars will always make you feel like that.
September 8 – 0 miles
Possum and I had both been really excited to do a work-for-stay at a farm along the trail. The opportunity hadn’t lined up for us until now, at Moon in the Pond. The owner Dom and his apprentice Chris are both super nice people, and so we were excited to see what our full day of farm work would entail. For starters: clearing invasive rose bushes!
It was a fun challenge… for the first hour. Then the sun came out, and it got hot and we worked for quite a while before the breakfast bell decided to ring. Then we got our second task of the day, but: surprise! Still clearing demon thorny rose bushes!
I have to admit, after six hours of doing yard work I was starting to get pretty bitter. I wanted our farm stay to be full of tending animals and collecting vegetables, learning cool new skills! Yard work is hard to make fun. But after lunch the tides turned, and we went with Chris to feed the animals and harvest onions.
Immediately it felt like the fun and fulfilling experience I had been hoping for. There was good conversation, useful work being done and a sense of satisfaction in the air. Plus we got to eat a delicious dinner that included onions from our harvest. Awesome.
I’m very glad our zero day turned around, and we are glad to have come. You don’t always get the experiences you are expecting or are hoping for, but that risk is all part of the adventure.
September 9 – 6.4 miles
The farmers were taking their crops to the market today, so we spent the morning harvesting, arranging and loading the produce into the truck. We also tasted plums for the first time! Tasty.
Then we were back to that good old standby of hiking. It took forever to get our miles done, but we ended up at Tom Leonard Shelter in time to cook before sunset. I decided to forgo the tent as we had heard it might rain, but Possum was optimistic and went to sleep in his hammock anyway. Of course after about ten minutes the inevitable rain came, accompanied by some solid thunder and lightning, and Possum slunk back to the shelter since he lacks a rainfly.
I’m ensconced in my sleeping bag between graffiti quotes from two of my favorite authors. Graffiti is a crap thing to do and I do not advocate it, but it was a nice reassuring moment when I realized I was sleeping above a quote from Henry David Thoreau (my soulmate) and next to one of my favorites from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “One sees clearly only with the Heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eye.” Nice words to consider while falling asleep.
September 10 – 10 miles
Hiked for most of the day, then set up a stealth campsite when it started to rain in the late afternoon. Not exactly eventful… in retrospect, I’m kind of amazed we managed to make hiking sound interesting for so long. All we do is walk around all day. Riveting!
Now it’s raining and getting all of our stuff wet. Have I mentioned we are counting down the days until this hike is over? Because we definitely are.
September 11 – 12 miles
We woke up in a swimming pool. Not by choice, mind you – our poorly sealed tent had flooded during last night’s ceaseless rain. While it wasn’t a great start to the day, we dealt with it and moved on. And the day turned out great!
Once the fog had dissolved and the sun reigned supreme again, everything was lovely. We had a couple of nice views early on and the hike itself was smooth sailing. It was our biggest mile day in a while, but it didn’t really feel like it. Must be getting stronger!
Our goal for the night was Upper Goose Pond Cabin, and arriving there was like walking into heaven. A two-story cabin with books and board games and mattresses! And rocking chairs on the porch, and canoes you can take out. Yes, please! We spent our night chatting with hikers and the very fun trio of caretakers. It’s a good night when you end it with brownies around a fire.
September 12 – 0 miles
Paradise is a place you can end up with a surprising frequency while on the trail. Today started with blueberry pancakes and a canoe ride under a flawless sky. It was simple perfection.
Possum’s friend Chris came up to visit, bringing his dog Marty and a feast for us all to enjoy. There was a lot of laughter – over chips and queso; while racing canoes; on an island while the rain and the Beach Boys battled for volume; under a gas lamp at the kitchen table; during s’mores. It rained heavily all afternoon and evening, but it barely slowed us down.
It’s good to have days like this out here. If you’re going to take a break from hiking, make it a good one.
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