Tuesday 22 August to 31 August 2017
Total Distance: 1791.1 miles
States and AT Mileage: Massachusetts (from Great Barrington) 75.7 miles, Vermont 150.8 miles, New Hampshire 44 miles (to Glencliff)
Mountains: Baldy Mtn 1921 ft, Becket Mountain 2180 ft, Walling Mountain 2214 ft, Tully Mountain 2082 ft, Mt Greylock (highest peak in MA) 3491 ft, Glastenbury Mountain 3748 ft, Stratton Mtn (Summit on which Benton MacKaye was inspired to propose creation of the AT) 3936 ft, Styles Peak 2394 ft, Peru Peak 3429 ft, Bear Mountain 2206 ft, Quimby Mountain 2511 ft, Moose Mountain south peak 2290 ft, Moose Mountain north peak 2293 ft, Holts Ledge 1915 ft, Smarts Mountain 3218 ft, Mt Cube 2911 ft, Mt Mist 2200 ft
I have mentioned these book houses before, however they still have not lost their appeal and I think they are a great idea!
Vermont lived up to its muddy reputation. Sometimes there were pieces of wood or branches in the mid to help create a bit of a safe path over which to cross. I of course missed one of these logs and I sank in the mud past my knee.
As I stood there looking down at my leg once having quashed the momentary panic over the mud gripppng my leg (Atreyu and the quicksand came to mind), amazement and frustration filled me in equal parts. Amazement that the mud was that deep and frustration over the fact that my sock and shoe would now also smell like swamp.
Hygiene and cleanliness I’ve come to see is subjective to the environment we’re in. When you first start hiking you are using your wet wipes or hand sanitizer all the time and are somewhat particular.
After 1700 miles you:
- Eat with your hands while they’re dirty
- Have gotten down to one pair of undies
- No longer wear panty liners
- Pick food up off the forest floor and eat it
- Blow your nose on your nose/sweat/dish cloth rag
- Use your nose/sweat/dish cloth to wipe out your pot or use your top
- You predominately only wash yourself and your clothes when you get to town
There are many reasons why and how this happens and the following are some common threads amongst us thru hikers:
- The effort to get water makes water a prized commodity used only for drinking
- Too many efforts required in general
- Time is precious and needs to be spent on walking
- You have become accustomed to dirt constantly on your body
- Legs have become mechanical. No matter how much your legs (quads and calves mostly) scream in pain, your legs just keep moving – for hours.
- You no longer talk about the destination but the journey.
- Hiker hunger has become a reality and you are hungry all the time. You have developed tricks for making your food last the required number of days, if you don’t you will be left with no food.
- You choose your accommodation based on it’s proximity to food outlets, along with cost.
- Talking with other hikers the reality of how many hikers have left the trail makes you gasp.
- Something somewhere on your body aches, is swollen, scratched, bruised or just plain tired.
Trail magic is still quite prevalent with hikers being taken to trail angels homes where they are provided a bed, home cooked meals and have their laundry down. Trail angels are still waiting ont he sides of roads with fruit, sodas and other goodies. There was one guy – the omelette guy (A retired labourer I think from memory) who makes you an omelette on the trail. He starts at about 9.00am and as you pull up he asks how many eggs do you want in your omelette and away he goes. This was fantastic and I enjoyed mine very much – nice treat in the middle of the bush.
With the Whites coming up I am feeling a little apprehensive as these are big mountains that will not be a walk in the woods – pardon the pun. However I am excited over the challenge and can’t wait to get going.