Great Barrington

I have finally made it to New England! I feel as if this entire time in the back of my mind I have been pushing hard to get here, there is something alive in the rocks here that constantly pulls me to these mountains.

I left New York, NY on August 2 by taking the metro north from Grand Central Station to The Appalachian Trail Train stop. I hit the trail with the goal of making it to my family’s place in Great Barrington by the 7th for my birthday, requiring an average of 15 miles a day for the 5 days I had to make it. Thanks to the proximity of the trail to civilization in this section I was able to communicate with my sister and find out that one of my cousins and her daughters would be in Boston on my birthday and that if I wanted to see them I would need to get here sooner.

Fortunately the terrain was agreeable and Cat and I were able to make an average of 20 a day. Also once I got to Salisbury CT Nicole would be able to come take most of our gear, except what we needed for a day, so that we could slack pack the last 25 miles into town.

Unfortunately the day we were trying to get to Salisbury I slipped and fell on some muddy wet rocks at Great Falls outside of Falls Village CT. Because my knee took a bad hit on the landing and it was getting late in the afternoon, still with 8 miles till town, we decided to detour and do some road walking bypassing a climb over two mountains. This proved to be a fortunate choice. While we were strolling down the side of a dirt road a man in a pickup truck pulled up and asked where we were heading, then mentioned that his wife likes to take hikers in for the night occasionally. He said that he had to run some errands and talk to his wife, but that he would probably come back our way and pick us up if he could.  Not ten minutes later another pickup truck pulls up from the other direction and a woman tells us her husband mentioned something about two cute hikers walking down the road, seeing as I hadn’t seen anyone else she told us to hop in.

The woman Kiki, and her husband Peter adopted us for the evening, much to Cat’s and my delight, gave us a bed, a shower, got our laundry done, and fed us a great meal.  They had the coziest little house I have seen, and beautiful landscaping.  This was some of the best timed trail magic that I have received, while I was expecting to make it to my cousin’s and uncle’s the next day anyway, my knee was sore and bruised from my fall and I  don’t know if I was going to be able to push I to the miles I wanted out of it.  However I was able to clean off in the shower then take a nice long soak in a tub of hot water to relax my sore joint.  The dinner was also one of the best meals I had had in a long time, charcoal grilled steak!!

During to course of our evening our host noticed one of the Gnomes I am traveling with and expressed  interest in them. I explained to them about Going Gnome, my cousin’s business, and that I had started carrying needle felting supplies. Because of their interest, and the fact that they collect various toys and figurines (the house had 86 pig decorations scattered about) we decided to stay up and make a Gnome for them to share their house with.

The next morning, the 5th we met my sister at the trail head on route 41 outside of Salisbury at 7:45 where we dropped our weight and started our slack pack into Massachusetts. We climbed over Rika, Bear, and Race mountains and were rewarded with some spectacular views. The Berkshire Mountains have not failed to impress with its views.  Halfway through the hike Cats back developed a rash, suspected from a reaction to laundry detergent, and took some Benadryl resulting in us deciding to head down Race Brook Falls Trail, instead of going over Mt Everett, to end the hike for the day and head to the compound.

It is good to be with family and able to relax for a day or two. At the same time so that I don’t fall to far behind on the trail I am still going out to do day hikes with a slack pack. Cat and I went over Mt Everett on the 6th advancing ten miles up trail and making it to Great Barrington officially.  I was able to take my birthday off and explore town and enjoy the day, and got a great surprise of my mom coming up to visit from Baltimore. On the 8th Nicole and I went on a hike yesterday ten miles from route 7 to route 23.

It has been a great break of hiking, and I thoroughly enjoy seeing my family, but inevitably the trail beckons me to return to it and set out again with my home on my back.  I am aiming for Katahdin by the middle of September and to reach that goal I need to do about 16 miles a day, a nice easy pace that I don’t want to fall behind of.

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