First day back on trail and we are in the middle of a heat wave. It was a brutal day. We took a lot of breaks, swam in a creek, drank tons of water, but nothing helped much. We just got into camp around 8:30p and my clothes are drenched with sweat. We are planning to get an early start tomorrow in hopes of beating the heat.
Ok so the heat wave is actually a dome. Never heard of such a thing. We could only do 14 miles because it was so miserable. I keep asking myself why I keep torturing myself. Why I don’t just jump on a plane and head home? Home to my family, dog, house, A/C, real food…. ugh I see why so many people have quit the trail recently. It’s so easy.
We decided to leave as early as possible and stop by noon in order to avoid hiking in the middle of the heat. Little did I know, I wasn’t the only one in our group struggling with thoughts of quitting the trail. After hiking 12 miles, our buddy Photos text us to let us know he was getting off trail tomorrow. The trail was wearing him down both mentally and physically. He has lost 26 lbs since his start date and didn’t have the strength to continue. We spent our last night together at the Bearded Woods Hostel in Falls Village, CT. This hostel was my favorite on the trail so far and was a nice place to say goodbye to our friend.
It was weird hitting the trail without Photos. Even though the 3 of us didn’t always hike together, we would run into each other throughout the day and always camp together. It was a somber day and the rain really added to the mood. We did cross over the 1500 mile mark and are now in Massachusetts so I guess that’s something to be excited about.
It rained hard all night and into the morning. We have 13 or so miles to the road that would take us into Great Barrington, MA. We figured we could knock those miles out by 1p but we were wrong. The terrain was rough, plus very slick and slippery from all the rain. The uphills were very steep and the downhills even steeper. The trail was mainly sheets of rock that dropped off into nowhere. I fell several times today and each fall lowers my confidence a bit. Massachusetts is beautiful though. The trees and foliage are different than what we’ve seen so far and the weather is supposed to clear up for the remainder of the week.
We left Great Barrington today around 1p and hiked 12 miles to an extremely full shelter/camp site. Only one tent site remained. A large group took over the camping area but luckily we were able to get our food bags in the bear box before they did. I think most of them will have to hang their food. I really hope they aren’t noisy tonight. Nothing worse than loud neighbors.
Today we met a few SOBOs! It felt so good knowing we are inching ever so close to our goal. Talking with them has put it all in perspective. We have about 650 miles left and soon enough we will be in Maine. Of course we still have a lot of hiking and challenges ahead of us, but it’s nice to know the end isn’t too far away! We are camping at Upper Goose Pond shelter tonight. The pond is so beautiful and I can’t wait for blueberry pancakes in the morning.
The pancakes were amazing and the 20 miles after weren’t so bad. Three hikers we know are currently being tested for Lyme. That really scares me. I check myself every night but I know those buggers are really hard to find sometimes. Also the symptoms are not very clear. I feel fatigued and ache all the time! We do need to retreat our clothes and I’m going to continue spraying 100% DEET.
We were able to camp on Tom Lovardi’s lawn last night. He is the ultimate trail angel and lives in Dalton, MA. The trail goes right through this town and right by Tom’s house. It was a great place to camp for the night. He even had doughnuts for us in the morning. After 8ish miles, the trail took us through another town, Cheshire. We ate huge meatball subs and ice cream before heading up Mt Greylock. We stopped 5 miles in and are camping alongside a large group of Boy Scouts.
First thing this morning, we made the climb up Mt Greylock. The view was pretty hazy so we didn’t really see anything. Then we hiked straight through the town of North Adams, MA. We bought a couple things to get us through until tomorrow when we take a nearo in town. We made it to Vermont and hit the 1600 mark, then the sky opened up. Heavy rain caused the trail to turn into ankle deep mud. We trudged along and had to move past our first campsite choice because it was already taken. We ended up doing a 20.6 mile day and I am beat.
Nearo into Bennington, VT.
After climbing all day, we were rewarded with an environment we’ve never seen before. Vermont is truly beautiful. Dark green, light green, mossy green. The woods are exceptionally wild, and it smells like Christmas. The hiking is difficult but the scenery is stunning. We are camped at a shelter tonight and it appears a storm is nearing. Rain is in the forecast tomorrow as well but I hope it stays away so we don’t have to deal with any more mud.
Another day in the rain and mud, but we got to see Stratton Pond. So beautiful. The hiking wasn’t too bad today, but the mud made it much harder. I don’t know how others do it, but by the end of the day, my shoes and legs are covered in mud. Other hikers don’t seem to have this problem. I was able to wash off in a river we are camped near. I also rinsed off my socks and gaiters. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny…hopefully.
We stopped into the town of Manchester Center to resupply and gorge ourselves with town food. I wish we would’ve taken a zero here instead of Bennington. Manchester is a very hiker friendly town and everything is within walking distance. We got a hitch from the trailhead immediately and even had a woman offer us a ride back to the trail when we weren’t even hitch hiking! Another lady gave us $50 and told us to enjoy town. I’m telling you, this is best hiker town we’ve been to. I want to move here! After we got back to trail, we hiked 3 miles up Bromley Mountain and camped at the summit. We met some hikers and watched the sunset together. It was a perfect way to end the day.
Today was a long one. 22 miles. We are going to do less tomorrow because our feet are so sore. Our new shoes come in 2 days and I can’t wait. They’ve taken a beating since Harpers Ferry. Sleep will come easy tonight. I am exhausted.
Another long exhausting day. We are currently camped at a stealth site 1 mile from the shelter on top of Mount Killington. The climb was hard but very beautiful. My shoes have busted out the sides. You can see my socks. I will be so happy to get my new pair of shoes tomorrow. We have 9.5 miles to hike in the morning to the Inn at the Long Trail, then we need to get a shuttle to town to resupply.
Nearo to Inn at Long Trail.
We had an amazing breakfast at the Inn at Long Trail which helped fuel me through part of the day. I started slowing down after several long, steep climbs. I felt like I was never going to finish the 18 miles planned for today. I’ve been listening to audiobooks but decided to switch it up this afternoon when I wasn’t feeling jazzed up to hike. I turned on Pandora, got lost in the music and magically powered through the remaining 5 miles. Tomorrow will be another tough day but I plan to keep the music playing.
Another tough day of multiple steep climbs. My legs have been feeling very sore and heavy lately. I’m hoping some rest in Hanover will help. Perhaps I am a bit fatigued and exhausted and just need to lay around for a day. At least that is what I’m hoping. If this continues into the Whites, I’m not sure how I will handle it. It’s a struggle getting up these mountains already.
Day 132 & 133
Nearo and zero in Hanover, NH.
The people on this trail continue to amaze me. Our friend and trail angel surprised us with 2 nights in a hotel in Hanover. A much needed break. Then, another couple who watches us on YouTube reached out wanting to help. We had dinner at their house and tonight we are staying with them. It will be so nice to sleep in a bed after a 20 mile day day.
Today started off great! We cruised over Smarts Mountain in no time but then we hit Mt Cube. The profile view on Guthook made Mt Cube look deceivingly easy. It was not. Piles of rocks going straight up made half a mile feel like 2 miles. We were finally able to cross over the mountain and ended up camping at a restaurant located a short distance from the trail. The food was great too.
It took us 6 hours to climb and descent Mt Moosilauke today. The climb was difficult but the descent was a killer. I fell hard on my butt once and nearly fell multiple times more. The mountain was beautiful. The summit was extremely windy making it hard for me to even walk straight on the trail. There were so many people out today since it is a Saturday and the trail was very crowded.