Monday, January 18, 2016

Southbound on the Appalachian Trail 2015: Massachusetts

Vermont/Massachusetts border
 I crossed the border from Vermont into Massachusetts on August 8, 2015. It was safe to say I was now in the green tunnel. There were still really nice daily views, but the spectacular, rugged scenery was now behind us. The challenge now was to enjoy the daily routine of backpacking through less strenuous terrain. For me it was not a very hard adjustment. I really enjoy the hiking lifestyle and it felt great to be able to hike and walk at a normal 2.5 mph pace, not the 1 to 1.5 mph pace the tougher mountains inflicted.
Memorial on top of Mt Greylock, highest peak in Massachusetts

Dinner at Upper Goose Pond Cabin
 After buying the travel guitar in Rutland Vermont, I said goodbye to Lux. He is a very fast hiker and was pretty sure I wouldn't see him again. As it turned out, we would cross paths one more time near Pennsylvania. In Massachusetts, I was hiking near two recent college grads named Footloose and Spoon, and a musician named Taco. We would hike and camp together from time to time, and I always enjoyed their company. Taco is a very good guitar player, and played banjo in a band in his hometown.

Shay's Rebellion Memorial
Highlights in the state included Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts's tallest mountain. The morning I hiked to the summit was just one of those perfect days that only come once in a while. Crystal clear skies, and a cool breeze, and great views from the top. I met Footloose and Spoon at the top and we bought coffee at the Visitor center there. I unrolled my ground pad and sat in the grass at the viewpoint and enjoyed perhaps the greatest twenty minute coffee break I've ever experienced.

Pond near Everett Peak. One of the few spots I cowboy camped along the trail. Also one of the last nights for the Perseid meteor shower.
 Another highlight included spending the night at a free hostel called Upper Goose Pond cabin. There was a spectacular rainbow over the pond there after heavy rains fell that afternoon. When I walked into the cabin after hiking in the rain, there was a nice fire roaring in the fireplace. Pete, the caretaker of the cabin, made everyone blueberry pancakes in the morning. That along with great hiker company made for a memorable stay. The simple joys!
The Massachusetts section of the AT was only about 91 miles. Summer was in full swing and life was good...

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