Chapter 6 August, 1993
AT Journal of the Old Gray Goose
August 1, 1993
Another state, another month. Good morning. Just had to note this in before I forgot it. Had a skunk wake me up around 4 a.m, making a heck of a racket in a little box of trash. Shone my light on him and he had very wide white stripes. Made his back look almost all white. Big plumy tail. Sure was a cute critter. Well, gotta get out of my sleeping bag and get packed up, it's almost 6:30 a.m. and yesterday at this time we were ready to hike!.. Love, Mom
Aug. 2nd a.m.
Hi Kids, as you can see, I had no entry last night so I'll proceed to tell you about yesterday. It was warm, sunny and humid. Started out at our normal time on the trail, left the pavillion around 7 a.m. and got to the trail about 7:30. We are into the rock climb type hills, up and down. At least it's not all of them, yet. Very interesting. Sometimes it's really a little scary going down. I think I'm a little over cautious but, if I feel I have to go down backwards or sit and slide down a little so my feet reach, then that's what I do.
Don't know how it will be if we have rain at those spots but if that happens then, I'll know. As we managed to do pretty good and got to the trail for the "swimming pond" before 3:30, Peter Rabbit took the trail to the beach and I headed up to the shelter. The pond was 1/2 mile away, the shelter about a mile--up and down- and I figured I'd just as soon get to the shelter a little earlier. I hadn't been thinking of going swimming all day like he had.
I headed uphill and came upon a couple sitting on the trail and we talked and they invided us to their rented place on a private lake right by the trail, but about 2 mile away. So, we walked back down to where the trails intersected ( pond trail and AT0 and waited for Rabbit to show up..... to make a long story short, he DIDN'T. I couldn't figure out where he'd dissapeared to, 'cause the couple had walked to the pond and back looking for him. so I thanked them for their generous offer and said my partner will be expecting me at the shelter whenever he shows up so, I need to get going. It was then like 5:20.
So again, I started up the hill to the shelter. I hadn't gone very far and from up above comes Rabbits' voice saying"Boy, I expected you to be a lot farther than this!". What a shock THAT was. A quick conversation followed and I found out that my friends, Billy and Maggie had picked him up asking if he knew me and had DRIVEN up to within 1/4 mile of the shelter. They had waited for me but were going to leave to attend a wake.
Now mind you, they live in East Haven CT. which is about a two hour drive away from where we were in Mass... Well, P.R took my pack and said I don't think you'll catch 'em, they walked part way down here with me.... I took off RUNNING towards the shelter. I didn't think I could still run on these feet let alone run UP HILL and OVER STONES and DOWN HILL !! I started calling "Maggie" after I had gotten to where I thought they had maybe walked with Rabbit and aobut the second time I called I hear a voice answer.. They were on the way out at the side trail.. If I'd been a minute later they wouldn't have heard me. Well, what a great sight those two were to me!
They had left all kinds of goodies at the shelter, even strawberries and cake and whipped cream for shortcake. I mean, they had fruit, and pop and candybars, and granola bars. Such treats to have delivered to a shelter. Well, anyway, Billy went back to retrieve my pack from Rabbit and we got back to the shelter. I had a pop and put the snicker bars in my pack. P.R. had shortcake and we left the rest for two other thru hikers and a ridgerunner that were at the shelter and then walked out to the car and headed out of MA Back to CT!
We had a great dinner about 10 o'clock at Billy's parents place. Did my laundry, had a shower, some great conversation and slept on a comfy pull-out couch. We have the house to ourselves this a.m. as the funeral is today ( Billy and Maggie were supposed to go to the wake last night and missed it). Maggie is working, Billy and his Dad went to the funeral. Billy's mom is working. Left us CAR KEYS!. Not gonna venture out. And they said the pool is ready, just jump in. Oh yah, and we had breakfast, juice, coffee, cereal, english muffins w/ jelly. what a treat!! So, we are off today but I think Billy is going to slack pack us so we will probably make it up. The break is great. I may actually get my suit on and jump into the pool.
More on our adventures off the AT tomorrow. Love or just maybe I'll mail this out and you'll find out next week when I mail home my next letter!
Aug. 3, 1993
Hey Hey Hey, what a day. I'm here at the Upper Goose Pond Cabin. Has bunk room upstairs, kitchen, frontroom with a table and chairs. Front porch with lots of chairs. They go swimming in the pond. The caretaker canoes over to where the spring is and fills up lots of gallon jugs so we have water. The kitchen has propane gas burners the hikers can use and they make breakfast in the morning too! When we were at Billy's we decided to stay a day and relax. Swam in their pool, stayed in bed late(got up after 7:30, wow). That was nice to start the day off. We had another great dinner with them and this morning Billy made us waffles with fresh fruid and cool whip, yum yum. We drove to Tyringham to pick up my food drop and I had stuff to send home too.
We went through my pack last night and managed to find almost a pound worth of stuff to take out. Maggie said her bag looked lighter so she weighed her bag and Thermarest and my bag and closed cell foam pad and sure enough it was almost a pound lighter so, I am now going to be sleeping on a nice comfy pad in her bag. That makes almost TWO pounds less to carry.. HOORAY!
Well, it was going to be so late when we got back to the trail, Billy said he'd take our packs up to the cabin. So I had a wonderful walk through the woods today. It sure was quiet. Especially when I went through the big old pine woods. No breeze and hardly any birds singing today. Kinda strange. Well I did enjoy the 15 mile hike much more without my pack!
When I got here to the cabin, my pack was sitting here with a not to check in it at once . I did, and to my surprise, I found a Half Gallon of ICE CREAM. my icecream treat Shared it with some other hikers but I think I got the "lions share" for sure 'cause I got very full. It's not very often you get icecream on the trail for supper.
Kay Wood is here for volunteer caretaker tonight. The regular one had to go away today. Kay Thru-hiked in 1988 and her trail name was"Grandma Kay". She 70 years old when she started and 71 when she finished. She sure is a nice lady. Fun sitting here talking to her. She was telling us about her "birthday on the trail celebration". I had read an article about her a while back so it is a real treat to meet her. She got a good laugh out of the escapade Rabbit and I had, with each of us waiting on the other and all the good things we got, like the "icecream surprise". It's been a real fun day with all of this.
It's almost 9 p.m. and we need to get up fairly early so, I guess I'd better get my stuff gathered up and get to bed. Love ya and sure miss you. Mom
Wed. Aug 4th.
Hi Kids. Well, I don't know if I hiked 17.6 or 18.1 today. Sign is different than the Data Book. Got here about 5:30 at the Kay Wood Shelter. Was a pretty nice hike today. Last 4 miles were the hardest, always is, ha ha. Lots of people here but only 7 thru-hikers.
Ready to snuggle into my bag already even though it's not quite 8 p.m.. By the way, the thermarest is an air mattress as opposed to my thin closed foam pad. More comfortable! The hikers here are Llama Mamma, Stargazer, Dream Catcher and View Chaser, Packmule, Peter Rabbit and myself. Dog Gone went on ahead and Jumpin Jack Flash and Charlie Razor are back one shelter. Well, I guess I'll close this note, pretty short today. Love Mom.
ps. Passed a real pretty little lake along the trail. Had water lilies and some purple flowers growing in spots. Very few birds seem to be noticeable in these Mass. woods.Goose at the pond
Hello again. It seems like I have lots to tell you and like I've said before, I never remember it when I start to write.
The woods have really been pretty to walk thru. It has had lots of hemlock and white birch. The swampy areas have at least had water, not like a state or two back that was so very dry. I still don't know why I hear so few birds since we've gotten in Mass. It's not just me 'cause I've asked the fellows and they've noticed it too. Today the trail went right thru Dalton Mass. Passed by a bakery about 8 a.m. so of course we stopped for cinnamon rolls and coffee. Nice snack! Then we came into Cheshire and since I had a mail drop here, we decided to stay. The catholic church has a hostel, lets hikers use the hall to sleep in. Has restrooms available. The priest said the trail has always gone thru town and the church has been open to hikers as long as the building has been here. There are 6 of us here tonight.
It is very cool outside tonight. The weather today was real nice to hike in. The sun was shining most of the day, but it wasn't real hot and there was a good breeze. Hiked 11.2 miles and got into town by 2p.m. so you can see it wasn't a real difficult day. NICE! Tomorrow we get to go up Mt. Graylock. It is the highest point in Massachusetts. I think we have 11.7 miles planned for tomorrow but I'm quite sure we will be much longer hiking That! I'm in a room with Lights and didn't notice how late it is, 9:30 p.m.. Guess I'd better get my bag out and get to sleep. Love ya. Mom
Aug 6th.
What a day...hello there, I got a pretty good nights sleep and we got an early start this morning. The woods changed a bit from yesterday. Got up in the higher area and there were balsam trees. It smelled Soooo good! Even had some wild flowers blooming again. Still not too many birds but at least heard a couple of different ones.
I really felt good today but P.R. has on new shoes and kept more food (read weight) in his pack than he really needed so, he didn't have much "bunny hop" to him today. At Mt. Graylock
Up at the summit of Graylock Mt. is a lodge. And for 2 hours work and less than half the regular $ charged, you get Hot shower and a real bed with sheets and blankets and supper and breakfast. Not one to pass up a shower, since it has been a few days. I have to report to the kitchen at 5 and again after dinner. So I suppose tables get set and cleared, ohhhhh noooo, not wash dishes? Ha Ha.. Actually we only walked 8 miles today but I guess ya only go through once so ya might as well enjoy yourself when you have the chance.
Let's see, did I tell you at one of the road crossings, just a short way down the road was "The Cookie Lady" ? The folks there offer water to thru-hikers, had a spigot installed at the front of their house even. The lady bakes cookies for the hikers and when I got there she wasn't. But, "Mr. Cookie Lady" gave us cookies after we filled up our water bottles.
It is really neat all the things you encounter on this hike. Like the Bed and Breakfast that Dad and I were at and the friendly folks along the way that offer water or the use of their porch to sleep on or the Shay Restaurant that has the big pavilion, this lodge that cuts their price for thru-hikers. And then you have the Doyle Hotel with it's dust bunnies and no locks on the doors of some of the rooms! It is all part of this whole trail experience and as I run into each one I have to think,"Do I really want to pass this bye" ? Some of these things are just "thru-hiker traditions". Some of those places you just wouldn't be at unless you were a thru-hiker and some are just neat stuff that only the thru-hiker gets.
I have to refigure my schedule all of the time. You can say, tomorrow will be 15 mi., but when you start hiking and see where you are at 6 or 7 it just may not be the thing to do to try the number of miles originally planned. You really have to be pretty flexible in planning your days.
Just think, we are only 10.5 miles from the VT state line. Less than 600 miles to Katahdin. Three states to go. One step at a time, One day at a time. I expect the most difficult times to still be ahead of me. I am looking foreword to it but part of me is just a little apprehensive (sp?, I miss the dictionary). I try not to think about it and just concentrate on the day at hand. kisses and hugs, love you. Mom.
Sat. Aug.7th. 13.3 miles today but gee, I'm tired.
Hi kids. I am now in Vermont! Boy, did we have a good dinner at the lodge last night. For work last night, I helped set up for dinner and then helped clear tables and Washed the silverware to be put into the sterilizer. Wasn't bad at all. It was "all you can eat" for dinner and also for breakfast this morning. August view
We got on the trail about 9 a.m. today. Seems like no matter when I get started, by 5:30 p.m. my body just doesn't want to walk any more and I start getting TIRED. Well, I'm pretty tired and it really wasn't that hard a day. I had oatmeal for supper , filtered a quart of water for tomorrow, rubbed down my feet and got into my sleeping bag to write this. Had some really great views spots today but the views were pretty hazy. It was pretty anyhow.
Have a full shelter tonight, Llama Mamma, Dog Gone, Stargazer, Charlie Razor, Jumpin Jack Flash, Rabbit and myself. Pretty much bag to bag in here. Been sprinkling on and off today so everybody squeezed over so we all could get into the shelter and nobody had to tent. When we woke this morning, it was raining but by the time we left, it was down to just a heavy mist and it never got any heavier. Actually was pretty nice today to hike. Sun did peek out, once.
Well, it's 7:30. Gonna snuggle in..kiss, hug. Mom ox. I forgot to tell you, I did manage to slip and fall on a slippery bog log. would have been further ahead walking thru the mud. At least when I landed on the camera I didn't break it, Whew!..
Aug.8th. It sure felt good snuggling in early last night
although I listened to the radio 'till about 10 o'clock before I actually got sleepy.
Hi Kids, Had a really pretty day for hiking today. The first half of the day I was walking in kinda open woods, lots of groundpine and wild flowers and not much brush. Then, we had a real long steep down hill and on the other side the woods was really brushy. Brambles over my head on either side of the trail. Then we had a long uphill. Took me about 1 1/4 hour to climb up to the shelter from the bottom of that hill.
We have the same 7 in the shelter plus 5 more tenting. Two of them are girls I haven't see since the Shenandoahs. Nice to see them again. Sure got filled up tonight at supper. Had stove top stuffing with cup o' soup gravy and mashed potatoes with cheese and a cup of tea. Hmmm seeing it written down doesn't look like much but it filled me up.
It's most 7 o'clock and feeling sorta cool. Guess our summer nights are gone already. It IS nice sleeping with it cooler. Well, guess I'll shut up for today. Love and miss you. Mom.
Mon. Hi there.
Here it is Aug. 9th Monday. 17.2 miles today.
Not the easiest day. Had a beautiful day though. Had lunch at Goddard shelter and it was neat. Looked like a log cabin with a porch but it was and open shelter. Just a little ways past that was an old fire tower. About 7 flights of steps up and it was a beautiful sight all around. I really enjoyed the day today even though it was not an easy day.
I walked on ahead of Peter Rabbit today. Couldn't stand the thoughts of not getting to the shelter till close to 6 p.m.. Just too hard for me to handle that. Probably all in my head, but never the less, my body just feels tooo tired when I get in late. Anyhow, I got in at a good time today, 4:30. Don't mind the slow pace on short mileage days, enjoy it actually. That's why P.R. and I "partnered up" or at least one reason. Soon be in some steep areas and will have long hard days and it won't be very long mileages I'm sure.
Sure would have been nice to have some film in my camera today. Used the last of it just before I flopped yesterday. Missed getting the VT line picture but P.R. said he took one for me. I think we have 13.9 miles planned for tomorrow. Have a long climb to do... It's 8:30 and I'm writing this by flashlight. Days are sure getting shorter. Guess I'll take my vitamins and listen to the radio for an hour or so. Love, Mom.
Aug. 10, Tue.
Hi kids. Boy, we had some nice trail today. It was up and down but graded nicely and not too much steep stuff. Met a nice young lady at the top of Stratton Mtn. She was the caretaker, naturalist, ranger. She lived there in a log cabin, very primitive. Said lots of people go thru there on the week ends. The mtn. was said to have been one of the places that inspired Benton MacKaye to create the Appalachian Trail. It was so cloudy we didn't get much of a view but it (the mountain and woods) is very pretty. Saw sign of bear and moose. There is a gondola that goes down to (and up from) Stratton Village but we didn't have extra time to check it out. down below along side the trail was a really pretty lake. Well, it's called Stratton Pond, but it looks pretty big.
The AT is one with the "Long Trail":Long Trail Sign for about 100 miles the Long Trail parts at the VT-MA line and the LT goes up to the VT Canadian line and was the nations first long distance trail.. It was completed in 1931 and it was almost completed by 1921 when the AT was proposed. It's managed by the "Green Mountain Club". some of the shelters are really old and look pretty dilapidated compared to some of the more recently built ones we saw back in VA.. But at least it's a place to park it for the night and it doesn't look like the rook leaks here anyway. The spring has a pipe so you can fill a water bottle easily and it's very cold.
This shelter is 1/2 mile off the trail though, that seems kinda much. The next shelter sounded much nicer but it is 4 more miles up the trail, so, we came here. We have 6 miles to go to the road that leads into Manchester Center. And then 5 1/2 miles on the road to town. don't know if we'll get a ride or not. The gal up at the mountain, told some other hikers there was a fugitive around so it may be hard to get a ride. I wonder what kind of fugitive? Hmmmm... Love, Mom.
. Hey, did you kids see any of Mother Nature's soundless fireworks?? I did and then the clouds moved in. Pretty neat.
Got off the trail about 10:30 this morning and only 6 minutes later the priest from here at the Episcopal Church stopped and picked us up. He was coming back from taking one of his daughters someplace or he wouldn't have been coming down the road there. Great huh? He have us a quick tour of the city of Manchester Cntr. There are some beautiful old big houses here.
P.R. and I have been joined by a lady from Erie, PA.. She had to delay her start at Georgia so she started in Maine and had some mishaps and then did a section of MD-PA and now has joined us and possibly will go to the end of the trail if all goes well. She and I had met and talked before I started out this year.
There are about 15 of us hikers here at the parish house hostel.. Even has a nice TV room with couches and chairs. Kitchen is available for use. Hot shower too!.
I'm getting new straps and long pins for my pack but I have to wait for UPS to deliver them to the outfitters. We probably won't get started until after noon. Hope we have as good fortune getting a ride out of town as we had getting into town.
I don't know what you can call having the fortune to be in the right spot at the right time, other than "trail magic". It's a part of life on the AT.
Gettin late, town nights seem to keep one awake way too late. Must be the electric lights. Gotta get to sleep, 11 p.m.. Love, Mom
Thur. Aug 12. Hi-
Boy, sure got a late start out of town today but since we only had four miles to the first shelter, it wasn't too bad. got here by 6 p.m. It's "Mad Tom Shelter".. I'm sure there must be a reason for the name but I can't say as I know it.
We had a mountain to come up today. About a thousand feet. It is very cloudy. At the summit we were in very thick fog, maybe 20 ft. visibility. I was hoping it would be clear tonight so we could watch for more "falling stars", but no luck.
Went to the outfitters who in turn checked out my straps and called the company for me and got new ones sent overnight by Fed Ex.. Went this mornin and had them put on. They hadn't arrived yet when I got there so I asked to see rain covers that really kept your pack dry.. I have been using a garbage bag that went 3/4 of the way down my pack and then the "so called rain cover" over that. I have been trying to save money in case I had to buy straps and I had enough to buy a new rain cover. It has a hood on it to keep the water from going down your back, GREAT. Then the girl I called to shuttle us was not home and we had to wait for our ride -as opposed to 5 1/2 road walk to get to the trail, we waited. Met some more South Bound Hikers. One gal I was talking to mentioned that she felt she had someone watching over her on this trip. Nice to know I'm not the only one that feels that way. She had seen Beverly up in Maine so they had a good conversation. Glad she came in today.
Feels good sitting here with my legs all cozy in my sleeping bag. Cool and damp and almost 8:30 p.m.. No water to speak of up here so dipped into my lunch and snack stuff for dinner. There is a water source in about a mile or so. We will get to it first thing in the morning. I have enough left to drink and use for breakfast. Left town with only one quart of water since I read there was a boxed spring here. kiss, hug. Mom
Friday 13 Aug. Hello again.
Well, am I glad I got that rain cover. Got to use it today. Very Nice... We hiked 12.4 miles today. Had a steep place or two and one place we took the bad weather route 'cause it was starting to rain and there was a thunder storm predicted too. Yes, you know how I like to walk in those, ha ha. Rather than take a chance on slippery rocks we avoided them. We did get a tiny bit of thunder. Cleared up before we got to the shelter. It was very pleasant hiking today but we didn't have any good views because of the clouds. the shelter tonight is right beside a river. It sounds pretty loud but a peaceful sound. There is a southbound hiker here along with P.R. and High Five-R (Beverly from Erie PA), Star Gazer and myself.
There are alot of "boggy" areas Bog Walk even though we are going uphill. Seems very strange to be going up a mountain and hit a "boggy" area that has a plank walkway to travel on. Passed by one lake today. Very scenic around it.
I'm writing this by flashlight. It's almost 8:30. I must not have hiked hard enough, I'm not sleepy at all.
This shelter has gnawed places all along the front from "porkypines". Maybe I'll get to see one tonight if they venture out seeking salty wood. Haven't seen any critters for quite awhile except for the little orange newts and toads.
The water at the spring this morning was great. Had a pump there. Drank almost a quart of water. ( It's called "cameling up" when you suck up a large amount of water before you fill up your water container and leave the water source) and then filled my bottle for hiking. It was nice and cold and good. Well, I guess I'll close for tonight. Love Mom.
Sat Aug. 14th. Hey hey what a beautiful day!
Passed by a lovely pond called "Little Stone Pond". It sure was pretty. Met a lot of day ( and week) hikers today. Petted two or three dogs, gee, I do miss the animals too. Thought we were going to have another afternoon shower but it passed us bye. Just a little rumble of thunder round and about and that was it.
Saw a red squirrel here at the shelter tonight. Saw a hummingbird at the shelter this morning visiting the jewelweed. Thought I saw one the other morning at jewelweed too. Nice to see them. Does make me think of home and our feeder on the deck.
Beverly is doing real well just getting back on the trail. I'm glad I gave her a call when I received her letter and she had a chance to get back out here. It's nice when you can make a difference in somebodys' life. Say Hey, the door is open if you want to. I must say though, it is an exercise in PATIENCE for me. Trying to set a pace I can feel is not too slow but yet slow enough so she is not discouraged and feels she is holding us up. Peter Rabbit went out ahead of us this morning and since he wants to go to a restaurant/store tomorrow I expect he won't be hiking with us then either. It's at least a mile off the trail and we have a 14 mile day with a climb up Mt. Killington at the end of the day so I wouldn't even consider getting off the trail tomorrow just for that. I'll have to work too hard getting there without that!
There are just for of us here at Minerva Henchley Shelter so far. Had a couple of southbounders stop just to fix a meal and then push on a little farther before planning on stopping for night. We hiked 13 miles today so we were very ready to stop for the night.
Speaking of night, I still have to unroll my sleeping bag. Just took another look at the profile map, OUCH. I guess I'll think positive and hope I don't poop out!
Boy, the mosquitoes are thick tonight. Oh yah, had a real nice trail through a pine forest today. It did feel good on the feet with those soft pine needles underfoot. More tomorrow (I hope, ha ha ) Love, Mom.
Aug. 15th Sunday. Hi Kids.
Well, Beverly and I did a long day today. I think she did really well for her third full day out. Climbed Killington at the end of the day and survived ! Cooper Lodge Got here at the shelter at 7 p.m. and still felt pretty good. Gee, maybe the patience is actually beginning to soak in?! don't know what has happened to P.R. There were two girls at the last shelter when he stopped there and they were coming here and thought he was too. It's 10 to 9 and he's not here.
The hike here today was actually kinda pretty. Crossed over quite a few creeks and also boggy areas, going uphill even. Went through a couple pastures. Had only one really kind of difficult rock scramble. Had lots of roots on the trail today but also had good soft pine path for a bit too. Most all of it was really pretty and green.
Think we have under 12 miles planned for tomorrow (OOPS, wrong, it's another 13 plus day). Don't have anything spectacular to report so, guess I'll close this and read the shelter register and then crawl into my sleeping bag. Love ya lots, Mom.
Monday Aug. 16th. And the rain came about 3 p.m.
Hi Kids. Guess what happened to Peter Rabbit? He missed the trail! Not once but Twice! The second time it was dark so he followed the ski slope up to the restaurant at the peak. He came down the blue blaze trail bright and early this morning. Sure was glad to see him and know he hadn't fallen somewhere or something. It's gotten pretty slippery in places and very easy to slip. High Five-R found some of them. I was pretty lucky, today anyway, and hope to stay that way.
Rabbit found a restaurant for lunch and we met up with him right after that.Long Trai-AT split We passed the Junction where the AT and LT split and Rabbit walked on ahead of us and as it got later and darker and the thunder rumbled, Peter Rabbit got to Mountain Meadows Lodge just before the rain and found out they had a room for thru-hikers. Lower rates than regular patrons but, for $33.00 apiece. We get a good sounding large supper and breakfast, hot shower, real bed(no sheet but clean pillowcase and pillow) to put our sleeping bags on. He dropped his pack and came back and sat (in the rain) under a tree, waiting for us.
So at 3:30, with still about 6 miles to get to the shelter, we decided to call it a day. Yesterdays' climb was pretty tough on High5-Rand she was walking some slower today so we would have been very late, and very tired, getting to the shelter. Besides, even though I really like my new rain cover I still wasn't looking foreword to probably walking 'till dark in the rain. We all agreed to spend $$ and enjoy the hot shower and short day. Tomorrow would have been a 9.1 day so we just switched short days and made one a little shorter and the other a little longer. All this luxury should make us feel much better and ready for tomorrow (I hope it does anyway!). I sure feel better already and I just showered and washed my hair. Gee, it feels soooo good to stand in the shower with that wonderful Hot water covering you from head to toe. Ahhhhh ! the supper menu sounded pretty good, that is at 7.
The shelter last night was actually a stone cabin with screen in the windows and a door. Wow. Stone floor was a little tricky to walk on after dark, ha ha. But it was kinda cozy. 4 females and 1 male and 1 dog with a candle for light on the picnic table. Four bunks that were large enough for three people each. It was sure different than we're used to. Probably 'cause Killington is a big ski resort and this shelter was on part of the Long Trail too. It was more than likely a shelter before the AT was there.
Well kids, it's almost 6 p.m. Guess I'll see if I can reach Pops on the phone. It's over in the main bldg. and so is the dining room and I'm getting hungry too. Love, Mom.
Aug. 17, Tue. 3:30 p.m.
Hi kids. Well, you have to be flexible with your plans out here. Had a change of plans again. Had an all you could eat breakfast at the lodge this morning. It was very good and I did get filled up. we, of course, left much later than normal because of the late (8 a.m.) breakfast time. the shelter we had planned to be at last night was not as the distance we had thought. After we had walked for an hour we found a sign that had it the same distance ! BUMMER. Sure glad P.R. got the room at the lodge when he did. They re-arranged a family out of the hikers room for us. The family had a person who had hiked the AT before so, they were more than agreeable to move and let us in.
We would have been even later getting to the shelter than we thought. It took us 5 hours to get here to the shelter today. In a light rain at that. The next shelter is 9.1 miles with LOTS of ups and downs so even figuring 1 1/2 mph it would take another 6 hours to get there and we would get there in the dark. We got here today after 2 p.m. so, we decided to just get in out of the rain (it's coming down a bit harder) and spend the rest of the day here. I guess as long as we have made foreword progress, we can't complain.
I had thought when we were tackling the first long steep hill today that we would never be able to go all that way with all those hills and I managed enough "what ifs" to work myself into a bit of an anxiety attack. Pretty dumb thing to do. I know you just worry about one hill at a time and take that one, only one, step at a time BUT-----I guess I must have had a lapse of memory or something.. Anyway, good ole Peter Rabbit jogged my memory and sent me on my way uphill. When we all got here we got out the data book and the map and figured we really didn't have much choice but to hang out here.
The shelter is dry and the roof doesn't leak. The water source is a stream about 20 feet in front of us. Plenty of trees over to the side up hill even if we can't find the outhouse, ha ha. Have a couple of dragon flies (or damsel flies) zipping back and forth out front for entertainment. I guess a person can't ask for much more. LIFE IS GOOD. I even have my "ears" to listen to, one ear quit, wonder if Dad can get it replaced, must still be under a warranty of some sort. Haven't had 'em that long. Hey, at least I got one side to listen to 'till I send 'em home.
My companions are both napping. Gosh, I have a hard time getting to sleep at bedtime, if I were to take an afternoon nap, I'd probably regret it so, I'm getting this letter taken care of.
There is some timbering being done on the other side of the hill, seems to be shut down right now and I can smell the fresh cut wood. Yep, that makes me think of being home with Pop and getting wood cut for winter heat.
Well kids, it is 5 p.m. and I do think I am going to get my stuff going for supper. I've not read the shelter register yet, saved that for my evening. Love you and miss you, Mom.
Wed, 18th Hi again.
Well today after we got up the first hill, we decided we'd all "fly"" separately. Had 9 miles to the shelter and it looked like either up or down on the profile map. High5R is having a rough time on the hills, think they are upon her too soon. Don't know how things are going to work out. She is talking of leaving us since she feels she is holding us up too much and will foul up our schedule. I really had hopes that she would be able to hang in there and finish the trip with us. She is a super nice lady with a good positive outlook and a very upbeat personality. I am still glad I called her but I feel badly that she didn't have more time before the hills moved in on her. I know how those hills get you in the beginning.
We left the shelter a little after 7 a.m. and I got here to this one a little after noon and P.R. got here about 45 min. later. I took a couple short "munchie breaks" but I was hungry for lunch so I cooked up the extra dinner I had. We used a fancy macaroni and cheese one of the fellows had left at yesterdays' shelter last night for dinner, so I had an extra one.
We started out in a light rain this morning. It was actually kinda nice though 'cause it's still not cold and I worked up a sweat(as usual) so the overcast sky was rather welcome. The rain made the woods really fresh. Smelled good out today. It was pretty where there were quite a few trillium (?) seed pods, all shiny red mixed in the green ferns. Went through an area of woods that was mostly white birch , that was quite different from what we've been in. The trail was fairly good, not a whole lot of places that were full of rocks or roots but still a few that you needed to be careful going around. I found it to be a pretty nice hike today, especially since it ended at noon!
I do wish we had been able to do closer to 12 miles but the next shelter is 9.9 miles further on, our goal for tomorrow. so, I guess you can see, we had no choice on distance3.
If High5R is not here by 4:30, Rabbit and I plan to walk back up the trail to meet her. That gives her a 1mph rate. Under that is too slow to keep the time we need to do the finish in good time. We are some anxious at the rate we do some days anyway and the Whites are fast approaching. they will be AWESOME!
7:45 p.m. (same day) The time came and no High5R so P.R started up the trail. Met a gal named Wendy on her way down to tell us that High5R was up the trail a ways and she had fallen and twisted her ankle early this morning and had kept on heading for the shelter. 8:30 Back again, a couple just walked in on a back trail and brought us Pepperridge Farm cookies.
Any way, as I was saying, the four of us took a back trail out that got onto an old AT trail and we came out at the back of a house. The man at the house and P.R. drove down the road and located Wendy, who had been walking ahead to get her car and who was farther down the road IN her car looking for us, whew. Anyway, after a couple phone calls, it was decided Wendy would take High5R into Hanover to the emergency room to get her ankle x-rayed. It really looked painful. she had wrapped it with an ace bandage. It was swollen and purple from about her calf down onto her foot.
Rabbit told her she didn't need to break a leg just to keep from hiking with us! She really had good spirits after all of this and was real proud of all the right things that had happened today. That lady sure has got a lot of gumption. And I thought this was going to be an uneventful day-HA.
Well kids, it's going on 9 p.m. so I guess I'll snug in for the night. Hope we don't have any more of this kind of excitement. G'nite now, more tomorrow. Kiss hug, Mom.
Thur. 8-19. Beautiful day today
Not too hot. sunny. Sure did work a lot though. Had three "hills" to climb today. Think it was a 500', 600' and 700'. Anyway there were some steep spots in there. WHEW. I was glad to get to the shelter even if it was only 2:30! Cloudland Privy My book figures 9.9 and Rabbit has a newer one and his figures show 10.5 miles. so who knows how far we hiked?
My feet were not happy today. Guess a second day in wet shoes and sox wasn't agreeable to them. I also find that my sox are wearing very thin. I'll have to replace them very soon. Should be a place in Hanover where I can get some. This will be the 2nd pair to go into "file 13". guess I can't complain on the mileage I got on those sox.
Tomorrow should be a food pick up at the PO in West Hartford and then on to Hanover where I'll pick up my cold weather clothing. I don't know if we'll get both places in one day but I think we may try. It's 16.2 miles. Guess we'll see what time we get to the next shelter and how we feel and then decide. When we get to Hanover we'll check one of the "frat houses" for a spot to spend the night. Ought to be an interesting place. Well the old creek water is boiling, time to cook. Love, Mom.
Friday Aug. 20th..Hey Hey-
Made it into Hanover before the PO closed and Yes, stopped in West Hartford this morning. So, here we are on a Fri. night in a college(Dartmouth) town. Staying in the stage area of the 1st floor of the "Tabard House".
This house is fairly quiet but there are two or three around us that are in full swing! Actually we are all by ourselves, 4 of us "thru-hikers" are allowed to crash here. We can use the shower (water was hot). We can use the washers and dryer (one quarter each). If we want to, we can use the kitchen. They have a pool table (gee, I played badly ummmm, poorly). They unlocked the cue sticks and balls for us. They have a phone booth in a hall closet. There is a restroom down on this floor so we don't have to go upstairs, only to shower. The other two hikers must be visiting the hikers at another frat house. the first one we checked had 5 already checked in. It was in a quieter neighborhood I think. Looked to be only 2 houses right there. Here, we are "in the midst".
Tomorrow we have to hit the post office so P.R. can send his summer sleeping bag home and I'll mail this. I don't have anything to send home here, I just added cold weather clothes to my pack.
One hiker just came in, he's a south bounder and the other one staying here is Pack Mule. A fellow Northbounder. Last night, Chicory and Llama Mama and Pack Mule and Little Eagle, came into the shelter and Llama Mama said he had seen two moose up in the birch woods (I mentioned them wed.). I have only seen signs of them, no actual sightings.
We had a light rain for about three hours today but we were in the woods so that kept us from getting much rain. It's been a while since I've done a long day. Kinda nice to get here tonight and get some of the stuff done we need to do, got to the PO fifteen minutes before it closed. Gotta do a little shoppin tomorrow for sox and film.
Well kids, I crossed into another state today in case you didn't realize it. New Hampshire!
Sat. Aug. 21, 1993
Whew, escaped from town! What a place to people watch, what a lot of people to watch! Went to the campus cafeteria and bought an "AYCE" breakfast this morning. Went shopping and to the PO. Actually I was ready to leave before noon but we didn't and on the way out we stopped at a "Ben and Jerry's". So, I had an ice-cream cone for dessert, I'd cooked a couple of ears of corn at the Frat. house for lunch. It was only 1.5 miles from there to this first shelter but it was almost 3 p.m. when we got here. Too late to go 10 to the next one. Think we have about 15.4 planned for tomorrow.
Boy, A heavy pack again! Carried 2 quarts of water up here and have a full fuel bottle so, that's more than I've been having, PLUS the pkg. of cold weather clothing I stuffed in. And of course Food.
It sure does feel like fall today. It is rather cool even though the sun is out. The wind is blowing pretty good. Wonder if it's gonna blow up a storm?
Didn't sleep much last night. I guess I went to bed too late, had gotten my second wind by then and was ready to stay up.
Don't know if any more will be here tonight or not. -- Gee, I got so sleepy I could hardly hold my eyes open. An afternoon nap was beckoning me ha ha. Golly, that felt good. I guess I just made up for last night. --There is a section hiker who is in and two girls and a dog( Jukebox, Thermahog the dog, is actually Meg, and Pokey. This is a small shelter and if we are all in, it will be cozy. Well I guess I'll be getting my stuff together to cook...whoops, a southbounder just came in. Guess it's decided the girls are going to tent so there are four of us in the shelter for sure. Love, Mom
Sun. Aug. 22..Yes, a 15 miler today.
Managed the last l o n g, l o n g, hill with many mini-stops. Other than that the day went pretty well. It was Very cool this morning when I got up. Hated to take off my cozy fleece jacket. Glad I have my warm stuff. Feels like it's getting cool again tonight,
Tomorrow is a 12 mile day. doesn't look like it's going to be a very easy one though. I guess it will be work, work, work, again tomorrow.
Gee, we sure have had a couple "doozy" privies lately. Had a hexagon privy with all screen in top a couple shelters ago and tonight we have a leany 3 sided one with a chair for a seat. Well, I'm gettin chilly, Bye Kiss, hug. Mom 8-22-1993 Privy
Monday Aug. 23 To finish about the privy--
It had no door, and leaned back and the seat was Very high. I needed a stone to step on!
Hi kids. Here I am at Hexacuba shelter. A large hexagon log shelter (6 sided) with 2 sides open and 4 closed in.
Actually got here before 4 o'clock, nice, nice, nice. Makes for a more relaxing evening. Can hang my shirt and sox up a while and see if they'll dry. We are up high enough we even still have sun. That is nice too. The trail today wasn't too bad. Had a lot of muddy spots. Did have a long stretch of very nice smooth trail.. Had a long climb up this morning but managed to do ok. Expect to have a full house here tonight. Rabbit and I and a week-hiker are here and Llama Mama and Chicory just came up the hill and I expect the girls and dog to come in and there are two fellows I just met a couple days ago (Tadpole and Cat) I expect will get here too.
Well the creek water has boiled long enough so gonna have a cup of coffee, splurge today. Love you all, miss you too! Tomorrow will be a long day and I have to get into town before 5 to the PO. Nothing else there, just the PO. Then a mile or two on to the shelter (1/2 mile road to town from the trail).
Here it is, 6:30, still sunny, finished with supper and renewed my coffee bag so here I sit with a weak "cuppa" enjoying the lingering sun. Hmmm, a couple came in I haven seen before. Gee, we really have a full house. Hope if it does rain that the wind doesn't blow, 'cause I'm on an open side. The girls arrived and said they had seen a big moose today. 'Course I guess any moose ahead of you on the trail is going to look big.
The weather forecast that has been on various radios here have possible thunder showers anywhere from tonight to Wed. night. Gee, I sure hope I don't have rain tomorrow.. Hate the thoughts of having to do the road thing into and out of town to the PO.. Sure hope I make it by 5o'clock. I guess there isn't any sense in worrying about it now. It won't help a thing. Well, coffee is gone, sun is behind a cloud, just before it went behind a mountain, no pretty sunset. Guess I'll make my privy run before I actually settle in for night. It was very nice to arrive early and just take my time getting everything done! Sure do miss you guys. By the way--only 400 miles left to go! Kiss, hug. Mom
Tue. 24th. Hi Kids.
Gee, I was so excited about getting to the shelter early, I forgot to tell you I had climbed up in a fire tower at lunch time and had a great view. Today, I really had a hard day. It started off with a climb up Cube Mt. with a rock climb and my legs and knees just didn't want to co-operate. My knees didn't want to bend and my legs didn't want to move and of course then I got to thinking, I'll Never get to town by 5'oclock at this rate and then major frustration set in. GOOD GRIEF, will I ever manage to stop doing that?? It really wasn't a bad trail today, just some l o n g uphills that really pooped me out. Just couldn't seem to get going today but actually we were making good time.
My friend Julie(Jewelweed), one of the thru-hikers I'd met last year, met us on the last hill down. She even carried my pack the rest of the way down the hill to her car. she drove us to the post office to pick up my mail drop and then took us out for supper. We are going to slack pack tomorrow over our first big climb. Julie brought goodies to the shelter tonight, Chocolate cake and soda pop and potato chips. She's staying here with us tonight and then go back to the car in the morning and drive to the next road crossing. So, we'll have 8 miles without our pack and then maybe we'll do 6 more with our packs. She is then going to hike with us for a couple days.
We were lucky we got here to the shelter when we did. It was starting to thunder as we were almost here and shortly after it started to sprinkle and then it really started in to rain pretty hard. Thunder rolling all around but not any close lightening. Another night with a full shelter. Glad there was room. It wouldn't have been real fun out in the tent in this rain, as far as I'm concerned! Well, it's after 8 p.m. and the rain must have done something, everybody is still gabbing away. Two or three of us have our flash light on but other than that it's dark. guess I'll close for now. OH, by the way, got a letter from High5R, she broke her leg in 2 places! Love, Mom.
Aug 25. Hello again.
Boy, what a beautiful stream we followed down the mountain today. Julie took our packs and we hiked over Mt. Moosilauke (4802')Mt.Moosilauke When we got to the top is was pretty much socked in with clouds and the wind was really strong. The fellows estimated it about 50mph. The climb down was a real test. It was pretty steep in places. There were some real spectacular shots of waterfalls and cascades on the way down.
After we had gotten down into the trees again, the sun finally came out, 'bout noon. It was a beautiful hike down. I really enjoyed the views today, didn't have to work so hard today, not carrying the pack. It was really neat up at the peak in the cloud with the wind. There were some day hikers up there and they gave us (Mert and Gert and myself) each a Pepsi! Boy, what a day. it was exhilarating. Julie met us down at the road and we got our packs. took out all but 3 days of food to lighten the load a little, left it in the vehicle. Only did a shade under 8 miles today. Tomorrow is going to be tougher. Have 11.1 planned and it looks like a lot of work!
Julie and I are cooking our supper together tonight. Kinda like our time last year, very nice to see her again. By the way, Mert and Gert I met yesterday and I hiked with them today. Rabbit walked on ahead when we stopped for our first munch break. He got down about an hour before we did and was ready to hike on the next 6. But, by the time I got down it was too late. I think he's not too happy about that but he went and got pizza before I got down so that should make him feel better. Well, gotta go eat. Love ya, Mom.
CascadesWHAT A MOUNTAIN CLIMB WE HAD TODAY. Hand hold, toe hold, fingertips. Had only one place I had to take off my pack to climb up though. Just couldn't take a big step and climb up with that pack on. Rabbit had waited there for Julie and I 'cause he had a problem there and thought we might also.
The trail again followed a mountain stream. This time UP the mountain. It was really pretty. Julie and I couldn't resist putting our feet in the stream. It sure made them feel good! It took a long time to do those 11.1 miles today (signs indicated it was actually 12 mi.). About 10 1/2 hours so I guess you can tell it was a more difficult day than we've had for a long time. Today was our first real mountain climb I guess. We are going to have our work cut out for us for sure.
It's 8:30 already and we all must be overly tired 'cause we seem to be pretty silly tonight. Llama Mama and Chicory and Pack Mule and Peter Rabbit and Julie and myself are here in the shelter. Julie and I made our supper together again. We made desert first! Had dried fruit and used bannoc mix to make a biscuit, dumpling top and then put on oleo and brown sugar. Yum, yum. Well, I guess I should shut off my flash light and try to go to sleep. Love you all, Mom.
Friday. Aug 27th In Woodstock NH
Let's see, what did I forget to tell you last night? The view from the summit of Kinsman North Peak was really something. From there you could see the Franconia Range. Whew, what a sight to see when you know you will be climbing them in just a couple of days.Goose and Rabbit
It's about 89 or 90 miles to the Maine State Line and then around 275 miles through Maine to the Northern Terminus at Baxter Peak, Katahdin. Wow, that's only 360 miles and what a work out the next hundred or so are going to be.
I've looked foreword to the White Mountains because of the wonderful views you can have in good weather from above the treeline but, I've also dreaded getting here because of the difficulty climbing the mountains with a pack on. Also because of the possible sudden weather changes that can occur there. BUT, here I am, I've survived the climb yesterday and the 4 miles today to the road.
We hitch-hiked to town (Llama Mama, Chicory, Jewelweed and I) and low and behold, the van that picked us up was driven by a couple that Julie and I had both met briefly last year. They had hiked with the names "Lady and The Tramp". There we were, right place, right time, right people. YES!
Peter Rabbit had to get a new strap for his pack. The company is "overnight expressing" him a set so I don't know what time we'll be able to leave. He waited for me when I had to get mine so, of course, I will wait here. Partners do have to compromise.
Julie has to return her rental car tomorrow morning and she will then travel on to Boston for a day before returning to her hometown in OH and work. It was certainly nice to hike with her again, even if it was only a couple of days.
Well, I guess I'll close this and see if the phone booth down the street is empty yet so I can call Pops. Love you and miss you all. Mom
Aug 28th, Another day off the trail.
Hi Kids. Gee, what a good breakfast at the "Cascade Lodge Bed and Breakfast" here at N. Woodstock NH.. Nice to have a cheap B and B the hikers can afford. Julie and I shared a room.Cascade Lodge
We went thru my pack (one more time) to see if she could see anything extra she thought I wouldn't need, besides the stuff I had already decided to send home. Not much but my wool sweater is pretty heavy. Kept the second set of long johns though but did send home the sweater.
We had to wait for Fed.Ex. to bring the straps for Rabbits' pack today. The got here about 1:30. Figured that was pretty late to be starting up the trail here. And I do mean UP.
In the meantime, Julie left and my friends that I had hiked in the Smokys with last year arrived. They (Damascus and Maverick) had planned to hike a bit up the trail with us. You remember, these are the folks I got off the trail with in the snow last year. So, you know what happened next I'm sure. YEP, here we are at their place in Pittsfield NH.. Home cooked meal, comfy bed. It sure is neat how the people I met last year are coming to the trail to see me this year!
These folks are bout an hour and half from where they came and picked us up. they still do alot of hiking and they also have a section of the trail they have not finished. They also are working on climbing the 4,000 foot mountains in NH. Don't need full packs on or the 2 or 3 day trips and that helps. Doesn't sound like something Ill be doing when I finish this hike! But then I don't live right here in this mountain area either. We took a ride up the road and saw the "Old Man in the Mountain". It is a rock formation in the mountain about 5 miles from N.Woodstock that is used as a state symbol. It is only from one angle that you can see him.
Boy, my knees and feet are feeling like I just have started out again ! They haven't been feeling too badly until I started this climbing stuff.
The folks here make their own maple syrup and Maverick's mother is planning on making homemade blueberry pancakes for breakfast. We are at his folks place actually. His Dad hikes too, they are sure treating us nice.
We are planning on getting back on the trail, not too late, Sun. Morning. Not sure if Damascus and Maverick are going to do some hiking with us today or not. They wouldn't be able to stay over night as they planned if we had left out Sat.. But they also said they had wanted to bring us home but didn't know if we'd take a day off or not. worked out we had to anyway. Well kids, guess I'll close this letter for now. Love Mom.
Sunday Aug. 29th 7 hours for 6.3 trail miles plus 1.1 to hut off trail.
Had a ridge walk in sunshine, windy too. Watched some gliders out "playing" while we were on the ridge. It was really neat to hear the wind whistling around it as it floated over. You could see for miles and miles. Franconia Ridge Mountains as far as you could see, all the way around. Awesome. Intimidating. How small we are, how big they are.
Today the mountains were friendly. People were every where taking in the views. Of course it doesn't take nearly as long to hike up from the parking lot on that trail, with no pack on or a light day pack, as it took us UP the AT with full packs.
We are at a Hut. It is a lodge type bldg. with a regular "cru" to cook and take care of the bunk rooms. they let thru-hikers stay and eat supper and breakfast free for 2 to 4 hours work. they will call ahead to the next hut to save a spot for the next day. The next hut is 6.5 miles from here and if we work the full 4 hours, we might be too late to make a reservation if they didn't radio ahead.
Just playing it by ear and trying to keep positive thought as I am hiking and working my poor Old Goose body. It was pretty cool up there but if I put on a jacket it was too warm. So, here I am sitting on my bunk with 2 wool blankets covering my legs. the warm feels sooo good. I need to take my sweaty shirt off and put my dry long john top on. Then I think I'll feel much better.
They have juice and hot drinks out there so I should indulge. I am finding myself more intimidated by these mountains than looking at them and enjoying the view. As I said, I'm working on "no negative thoughts!".
My friend Damascus is going to join us at Rt. 302, Crawford Notch on either Tue or Wed.. When ever we get there and then she plans to hike the "Presidentials" with me. That will be very nice to hike with her again.
I do have a tiny bit of extra weight, a small jug of homemade maple syrup. Couldn't turn that down. Gotta go, Love, Mom.
...later...Hi. Put on tops and bottoms and fleece jacket, gonna get warm one way or another , ha ha. We eat supper after the paying guests and eat with the crew (cru) Supper menu looks pretty good. Oh yah, we had leftover blueberry pancakes with maple syrup for lunch up on top of one of the mountain ridges. Celebrated starting on the Franconia Ridge. kiss, hug. Mom.
Mon. Aug 30..
Cleaning the toilets, non flush type. And sweeping. I'd rather do the dishes than talk about me and my hike, tonight anyway. Well, tomorrow will be better! Love, Mom.
Tue. Aug. 31. Hooray.
A 7 mile day and I didn't feel like I was gonna die before I got to the hut!! Had hard labor for our chore. Had a wood pile (unstacked) to move and stack. Whew, At least the cru let me use one of the kitchen sinks and their cleaner to wash up in. Bathrooms only have cold water. There are tow more thru-hikers that came in. Haven't met them before. And Jukebox and Pokey and Meg stopped to talk to us. They were going to try for a shelter or campspot. Not sure which, don't think they were either.
It's blowing like it's going to rain. Don't know for sure what the forecast is.
I sure hope there is some leftovers for the crew and us tonight. Wasn't much left this morning so we had dry cereal and juice which was just fine BUT the supper smells really good. Roast beast and homemade bread and veggies and desert , coleslaw, tomato soup and noodles with a garlic sauce. Yum Yum...
-----later----What a surprise, the cru set us with the guests to eat supper! It was delicious. Guess the hard labor paid off. They are going to radio ahead for night after tomorrow for the next hut. They said they'd had good reports so, I expect that should help secure a spot if there is any empty bunks.
Sat out in the other room talking with the folks out there. The authors name Rowland Mueser and he's from NJ.
It's raining. I hope it makes for nice clear views for tomorrow and it stops before time to start out too.
We meet up with Damascus at Crawford Notch tomorrow. Don't know if we'll hit campground or exactly what for tomorrow night. Hopefully the next night will be covered with a hut. I must say, hitting the huts has been kind of enjoyable. Doing the chores has put a bit of normalcy into the day! will I guess I'll shut off my light and lay here and listen to the rain and hope I don't take too long to go to sleep. Love, Mom.
I'm typing slowly, next chapter, 7
Goose Nest
Journal 1.
Hostel & Town stops