Day 85, 6/29: M-1606, Congdon Shelt (25mi)

I wouldn’t have deemed it buggy enough to justify setting up a tent inside the loft, but to each their own.

It poured overnight, but the rain cleared out by the morning with just mist and fog on the climb up Mt Greylock.

They must get some serious wind to warrant tying down the outhouses.

Bascom Lodge, Mt Greylock…
a great place to relax, charge the phone, and get a fresh baked muffin.

Got a quick view of Williamstown.

The whole area is very hiker friendly…these folks will loan you a bike to get around town.

They left us an assortment of chips to choose from on the way into town.

The AT literally goes down this person’s driveway and they were nice enough to provide access to water.

Two big milestones:
Made it to Vermont and passed mile 1600 !

Beaver ponds…and keeping an eye out for moose.

Home for the night.

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Day 84 6/28: M-1583, Noepel Shelter (25mi)

The early morning parting shot from the Cookie Lady’s blueberry farm.

I love it when the AT goes right down Main St…In this case the little hamlet of Dalton, MA Later in the day I walked through Cheshire, MA.
I enjoy the sudden contrast from the deep dark New England woods.

This isn’t a great pic…but this is a porcupine I saw about 10′ away in the middle of the trail that proceeded to scurry up this tree.

A lot of bogs and marshlands, also a lot of toads and frogs.

I find the ponds a bit more attractive. .

This is Mt. Greylock in the distance (the highest pt. in MA and tomorrow’s destination) with the town of Cheshire below.

Cheshire reservoir.

A classic old New England cemetery.

It wasn’t overly hot today but definitely humid which can make the climbs feel like a real sweat lodge. The final climb of the day on the way toward Greylock was the longest sustained climb I’ve had since the Blue Ridge, 700 miles ago.

Day 83, 6/27: M-1559, Blueberry Farm (21mi)

The morning started by hiking through some beautiful New England farmland with old wood barns.

I’ve driven under this overpass many times on the Mass Turnpike…today I got to hike over it.

There were a lot of ponds and marshes today… with corresponding mosquitos and bugs.

There is a Trail Angel known as the Cookie Lady who has a Blueberry Farm just off the trail. She gives out cookies and water and will allow you to camp on her property…unfortunately I was a couple weeks early for blueberry season.

Day 82, 6/26: M-1538, Shaker Campsite (22mi)

It’s been very civilized hiking the last three days by coming back to this wonderful cabin each night: eating, swimming, socializing with family and friends.

This is Calvin the terrier. He likes hanging out at the lake house too but not getting wet.

After crossing the Houssatonic River for the last time and a small climb there were great views of the ridge I hiked across yesterday.

It turned into a steamy day so cooling off at this pond was refreshing. I saw a juvenile black bear not too far from here in Beartown St. Park. Then saw him again a mile later when I stopped to filter water.

Home for the night was a campsite in an old Shaker Village settlement. Not sure why the tent platforms were the needed…I just set up in the nice soft pine needles. Unfortunately, the whole area was full of mosquitos and there wasn’t the slightest breeze on this warm summer night 😦

Day 81, 6/25: M-1516, Jug End-Nancy (17mi)

Shortly after the days hike started I passed the 1500 mile mark.

The view from Bear Peak (the highest peak in CT) was fantastic. Twin Lakes, where I’ve been staying with my aunt and uncle can be seen in the lower Left corner.

Another milestone, Massachusetts !

More great views with Twin Lakes below.

It was great having visitors in the afternoon back at the cabin. Thanks so much for driving up from NY: Rich, Amy, Cubby, Emma, Jason, Liz, Tucker and Eliza.

Not only was the sunset impressive but it silhouetted the entire ridge I hiked today, one of my favorite sections of the AT.

Day 80, 6/24: M-1499, Salisbury, CT -Nancy (17mi)

Nothing like starting the day off with a Lemon Squeezer.

At least it gets you to a gorgeous view of the Berkshires of Litchfield, County, CT.

So New England.

The falls of Falls Village

This is the ridge line I will be hiking tomorrow (highest peak in CT !)

Hanging out at the Twin Lakes boat house with my German fiends Toxic Foot and Robin.

A late afternoon swim.

Dinner with our great hosts Nancy and Rob !

Day 79, 6/23: M-1482, W. Cornwall Rd. -Nancy (16mi)

It was a very pleasant morning for hiking…some farmland, some small climbs with views…here’s a great view of the Berkshires.

This is the bottom of St. John’s Ledges…hard to capture the vertical height (100′ ?)

There was a fantastic 4 mile stretch along the Houssatonic River.

My Aunt Nancy and Uncle Rob met me at a road crossing near Cornwall, CT and took me back to their cabin on Twin Lakes 20 minutes away. I will post some pics of the cabin and lake tomorrow.

The next two days I will hike and stay at their cabin since it’s such easy access to the trail… and sleeping on a porch swing bed is the best!

Day 78, 6/22: M-1466, Mt Algo (22mi)

This is the oldest Oak tree on the AT….
over 300 years old.

Early morning boardwalk hiking at its best.

Near Pawling, NY you pass the AT Metro North train stop which will take you to NYC in about 2hrs.

An interesting looking water tower/rocket ship.

I Officially made it to New England and passed the 2/3 mark today. Only 723 miles to go.

There was a lot of trail side Trail Magic today…nothing better than an ice cold soda in the middle of the woods on a warm day. I met Croc n’ Roll in PA (but not his parents).

What’s New England without a covered bridge?
Does anyone know why they needed to cover the bridge? I don’t…these are the things I think about while hiking.

The bridge was a short detour off trail as well as a nearby convenience store (ice cream sandwich, a bagel and iced tea hit the spot). These guys (the Sam’s) were up for the day from Chappaqua, NY (current home of the Clintons and next door to the town where I grew up) and gave me a short lift back to the trail.

A view of the Houssatonic River Valley.

Tonight’s home was a first…I’m the only one here! Quite a difference from even just a couple weeks ago.

My leg felt much better today and the swelling is about 90% normal. The only real pain comes when my toes are pointed down…usually when I misstep on a big rock. Luckily, the poles help mitigate this most of the time. I’m hoping this can be fully healed by the time I get to the White Mtns which have a lot of gnarly climbs and descents. I have about 300 miles and two weeks to get myself better.

Day 77, 6/21: M-1445, Telephone-Pioneers Shelter (24mi)

Rich was kind enough to drive me back to the trailhead at 5:30am. Thanks for being such great hosts (Amy, Cubby and Emma too).

This is lake Canopus. Rich tells me the locals call it Lake Can-O-Piss. If it were in Colorado it would be called Lake Cannabis.

The Catskills on the horizon.

The BPH shelter made a fine stop for a mid-morning break.

I love the rolling farmland views through the trees.

This is one of the more impressive Maple trees I have ever seen. Wish I had someone standing next the trunk to give it some scale.

Not sure of the story behind the name, but Nuclear Lake looks pristine.

Home for the night…The Telephone Pioneers Shelter (not sure of the story behind this name either). Only one other person at the shelter and another camping near by. Unfortunately, the water source I was counting on was dry But Luckily, things had cooled off and I could make do til morning on the tiny bit I had left (a water spigot is 1-mile up trail tomorrow).

My leg did ok today…not great, but nothing terrible. Luckily the terrain was modest and it should continue this way for the next bit.

Day 76, 6/20: M-1423, Fahenstock SP (20mi)

This is Babs who was kind enough to give me a ride back to the trail at 5:30am…Thanks so much!

The Bear Mtn. Bridge from the other side.

This is Dave from VA who was section hiking for several nights and has covered quite a bit of the AT already. We hiked and chatted for about 1/2 my day. I’m Hoping he feels better tomorrow as he had a long first day in hot and humid conditions which took a toll.

I didn’t take many pics today. Unfortunately, my leg seemed to have regressed by lunchtime and I was hobbling. Needless to say this had me concerned. A cold water compress, some elevation and Advil somehow made for a miraculous lunchtime recovery and I was fine the rest of the day!

Rich picked me up again today (~5pm) and I stayed with them (Amy, Cubby and Emma) in Granite Springs (Somers, NY). It was great to have one more night to relax and shower again before hitting the trail tomorrow bright and early.