Mile marker 1647.2 otherwise known as Manchester Center, VT. The trail has returned to mountains again, unfortunately it has been filled with mud, rocks, and roots.
Northern Massachusetts was wonderful, Dalton was a great town and I was happy to take a zero there in order to get a package from the post office. Tom Levardi was a generous trail angel who lets hikers camp in his back yard or sleep on his porch, he also offers slack packing and rises around town. On Sunday while we were waiting for the post office Cat, Baird, Dragon Born, Young Gandolf and myself went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Then Monday we decided to slack pack to Cheshire Ma.
The next day Cat and I set out to climb Mount Greylock, the tallest peak on the trail in Mass. It was a gorgeous day, and the climb went well. We got to the top with Ginga Ninga where we got ice cream and played a couple of games of checkers. This allowed us to catch an amazing sunset from the summit.
We were then lucky enough to start a conversation with a park employee who was checking on the tower and he invited us to climb the tower, currently closed until renovations are completed.
We climbed down the tower to a deserted field where we decided to cowboy camp to catch the sunrise. This was also Cat’s last day on the trail before she had to return to college. There couldn’t be a better end of the trail for her. The next day we did 6 miles into Williamstown where she was able to catch a bus to Connecticut. It was a sad day for me, but there was nothing to be done but continue hiking. They say laughter is the best medicine, if that is the case walking might be the second best. That being said it has been months since I last hiked as a solo hiker, its a strange feeling to not have constant companionship.
From Williamston it was 4 miles to the Vermont line and the beginning of the Long Trail. I met a fellow north bounder, Hermes, and hiked with him for a few days. We went into Bennington together where I got my cold weather clothes and he got a ukulele. We then continued to Stratton mountain, where Benton Mackay developed the idea for the Appalachian Trail. It seemed fitting to me that on the same slopes as I was climbing yesterday that Mackay’s dream of a connector trail between communities has become that and so much more. It serves to connect people on a personal level. Everyone I have met has been a friend I never knew, and all the towns I have been through I have seen the same spirit in the citizens.
It is great to be climbing mountains again, but I’m ready to find a place to settle down for the winter. I have been watching the mountain sides and slowly I am seeing color creep into the leaves. Soon the mountains will be a gorgeous masterpiece, but shortly after that the trees will be bare again. Its an odd sensation knowing that I have hiked all the way through spring and summer.