People, Places and Things
A nero day into Great Barrington was much needed. I resupplied and stuffed my face there before heading out for another few days of hiking. A spur of the moment detour led me into the heart of the US… NYC. In just 4 days I’d been in 3 different states. It’s amazing to see how far you can push your body. I’m getting closer to my home state and feeling excited to see friends and family!
Day 53 (6.4 miles)
I woke up a few times throughout the night to mice crawling all over the place. Just before sunrise they seemed to be extra rowdy and kept me up for a bit. I used the time to write and tried to look on the bright side. The few miles into town were easy and went by fast. I saw some turkeys in a field just before the road into town. It seems that some of the photos from this section (including the turkeys) are missing.. somehow they must have been deleted from my camera. A couple of landscapers picked me up and dropped me off at a nearby grocery store. I resupplied and got a huge sub for lunch. Then to McDonalds for coffee, wifi, and outlets. A man who spoke no english gave me a ride there from the grocery store. I just pointed to McDonald’s on my phone and he knew the deal. A few other hikers were at McDonald’s as well and we chatted for a while.
After charging up my electronics and my body, I made my way to a motel down the road. I did laundry there which was an interesting experience to say the least. Doing laundry is difficult when you have no spare clothing to put on. I ended up wearing my rain jacket around my bottom half and no shirt. Not the best look, but it got the job done! That night I stayed at the community center that had free tenting. After setting up my tent I treated myself to some beers and a good meal at a mexican restaurant.
Community Center: T2, S4, P3, W5, B2
Total Score: 240
Day 54 (14.8 miles)
Woke up to some light rain on my tent. It was a slow morning getting out of town. I went to McDonald’s again and called my mom for her birthday. My hitch back to the trailhead was from another landscaping vehicle. Their dog sat in my lap as we drove the 5 miles back to the trail.
As I began hiking my feet were more sore than the previous day and my motivation was low. There were some steep climbs and rocks that slowed me down a bit. A few good views overlooking the valley below kept me going! I stopped and rested at one of them before continuing on.
I ate lunch and grabbed water at Glen Brook Shelter. There was an interesting “hiker” there who I talked to while I ate. The hiker denotation is in quotes because he seemed more interested in just simple living and traveling by any means rather than hiking. After lunch it was 7 more miles that led me to the beautiful Sages Ravine.
Following the ravine for about a mile was a delightful end to the day. My feet told me they had had enough. I stopped at a campsite and pitched my tent. I then soaked my feet in the water while I ate dinner. A few of the hikers from town showed up and camped there as well. It was nice to have some company!
Sages Ravine Campsite: T1, S2, P3, W1, B2
Total Score: 12
Day 55 (21.9 miles)
I’ve noticed that I’m getting up later each day, must be the sunrise time changing. There was a bit of rain the night before but nothing serious. I made coffee for myself and Tick Bite (another hiker). Then to the privy before hitting the trail. Less than a mile into the day I crossed into Connecticut! A good sign to see in the morning.
Unfortunately, right after this sign is a steep climb up Bear Mountain. The top had a serious stack of rocks and a nice view of the surrounding landscape.
The next few miles were along a ridge and fairly easy but beautiful. I came across lush forests that still had rain drops on them from the night before.
I went up and over a few more small hills and eventually found myself at a large waterfall on the Housatonic River. It looked to be an old dam of sorts.
Just a few miles down the road was the Mountainside Café where I stopped in for a coffee and muffin. It was a nice place for a break from the heat! I booked it 8 more miles to get to the next shelter. I was tired and it was starting to rain a bit. My legs hit a different gear and my mind was focused on hiking. I covered 8 miles in about 2 hours, not a bad finish for the day!
My socks, which I have worn nearly everyday from the start, were wearing thin and I got some blisters on my heels. Definitely going to need another pair of socks soon. Peacock, Dirty, and Tick Bite also made it to the Pine Swamp shelter that night. I had service at the shelter and was able to talk to two of my good friends from back home, Pat and Makayla. They are on their own adventure right now; traveling the US in their converted van! It was awesome to hear from them and share some stories. Another great night on trail!
Pine Swamp Shelter: T1, S3, P4, W2, B2
Total Score: 48
Day 56 (20.2 miles)
Another normal morning on trail. Got up, coffee time, privy, packed up and hit the road. I made quick work of the first 7 miles. Although CT didn’t have high mountains it did like to take me up and down a lot of hills. At the bottom of the 7 mile section there was a piped spring where I filled up water and ran into Peacock. We had a 5 mile river walk ahead of us that we cruised through before taking a lunch along the river.
The Housatonic is pretty but it is dirty. There are signs to not even eat the fish out of the water. Still made for a good place for lunch! We hiked another 5 miles up and over a series of hills. On the other side there was a road crossing with some Gatorade trail magic. We hitched into town for a quick resupply and a couple cold beers. It was extremely hot this day and we both wanted some of the rewards of town. Funny enough we met up with Cock Bubbles, Tick Bite, Boduke, and Dirty in town as well. A few hours of resting was just what we needed before hitting the trail again.
Peacock, Cock Bubbles and I hitched back to the trailhead and hiked the remaining 3 miles to the Schaghticoke Mountain Campsite. There were large areas to tent but water was non-existent. Luckily, we carried some extra from the previous stream. We had some good conversations and listened to music. One conversation in particular made me think a lot that night. Peacock said something to the effect of “I think the trail has taught me that it’s OK to feel how you feel. Some days I feel happy, sad, melancholy or anything else and yet I still get up everyday and hike 20 miles”. I have thought a lot about this insight. I think a lot of times people (including myself) try and fight through bad days. They try to make themselves feel the way that they think they should feel. But maybe we are just supposed to accept the day as it is and move forward feeling how we feel.
Schaghticoke Campsite: T1, S3, P1, W5, B2
Total Score: 30
Day 57 (15.6 miles)
This morning was memorable because of how dry it was. I don’t think there was condensation to be found on any of my gear. Even my socks were bone dry! It’s the little things out here that make me happy. I got moving at a decent hour this morning, but of course a trip to the privy was necessary. I bring this up because I know a few of you are devoted to tracking my bowel movements and also because many of the “privy’s” in CT are just a toilet seat screwed into the top of a box. They are right on the campsite trails and out in the open. Oddly enough I think I actually liked it better. It was much easier to see in the early morning light.
The day was full of short climbs and descents. Each one began and ended at the Housatonic River… I know that the AT is supposed to follow the mountains but I often wonder if sometimes they made the trail intentionally more difficult than necessary. I considered buying a pool raft and floating down the river, but I quickly snapped back to reality and knew that I had to stay on the trail.
Around lunch time a few of us met up at a creek crossing. We ate lunch and then hiked together another 5 miles to a road crossing. Near the road were some fields and a cool wooden tower.
There was a garden center there where we got some water. Right down the road was the AT train station that goes into NYC. Four of us decided that we would go into the city for the night! It was cool to just hop on a train right from trail. 2 hours and $17.50 later and we were in Grand Central Station.
We walked to Times Square and Central Park. It was so strange to be around that many people. There was a stark contrast between the simple life we have been living and the life of the city.
After an hour or so resting in the park we took the subway to Brooklyn to meet up with one of Peacocks friends. She and her boyfriend let us shower and hangout at their apartment. We got pizza and drank some beers before going out to a club. I definitely enjoyed the more intimate conversations back at the apartment better than the club. I was a bit overwhelmed when I got onto a smoke filled dance floor with 200 intoxicated people crammed around me. Needless to say I spent most of the night outside the club. This was great because it gave me an opportunity to witness some interesting people… one of whom vomited right beside me.
Around 2:30am I Ubered back to the apartment with the hosts. Luckily, they allowed me to sleep on their studio floor which saved me from sleeping on the streets. I planned to catch a train at 7 am the next morning but when my alarm went off at 5:30.. I couldn’t get up. My alarm at 7 am did the trick and I was able to get the last train back to the trail at 9 am. The other guys decided to take a day off and stay in the city. I was back on trail at 11:30 am. A huge feeling of relief hit when I touched the AT again.
Since it was only midday I felt that I could still get some miles in. The weather was nice but a bit hot. I saw that in 15 miles there was a deli that allows hikers to camp out back. I set my eyes on that for the day. Along the way I ran into Dirty, Tiny Dancer, and Hash. They were considering camping at the same place as me. Around my halfway point for the day there was an older gentlemen doing trail magic. I got a Gatorade and banana from him and then stayed for a while and talked. He wasn’t a hiker himself but just loved to sit out in the woods and share his kindness.
With just a few miles left I ran into the same hikers again. Tiny Dancer said that her mom was waiting at a nearby road and had more trail magic. I talked to Kara on the phone for the last few miles which made them go quickly. Just before the road was a giant tree! I put my pack onto it for a size reference.
Sure enough Tiny Dancers mom was at the road. We got beer, soda, Gatorade, sandwiches, fruit, chips, granola bars, pasta salad and candy. An amazing end to the day! She even had extra stuff for us to take as a partial resupply. After nearly 2 hours of continuous food intake we made our way to the deli and setup camp. We then talked around a picnic table for a couple hours before getting attacked by mosquitoes and heading to bed.
Mountain Top Deli: T1, S4, P4, W1, B5
Total Score: 80
Thank you for reading this trail update and I hope you enjoyed the stories and pictures. I’m feeling good and motivated lately! Excited to see what other adventures are in store. Until my next post, remember to keep wandering in your own direction.
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NYC, nice. Please explain the origin of ‘Cock Bubbles’ name.
I miss the stern looks.
lol, yea his name sounds much worse than it is. He has a pipe/bubbler that looks phallic. Hence someone thought of that name for him. I’ll try and be stern when I cross the half way mark!
I like pipes, especially phallic ones. Thx.