Day 99: Kay Wood Shelter

Day 99. Man, today was another beast of a day. Besides the bugs (which were bad again), it was simply long. I’m sure I’ve already come to this realization many times before (and likely in writing), but I think 25 is the max miles I should do per day. I can do more, but it’s always a bit more painful than necessary, and my feet start tripping up by the end dangerously. Today was a longer day than I should have done, but in the end I’m glad I did it as it will make tomorrow fantastic.

I’m camping at Kay Wood Shelter, just 3 miles shy of Dalton. Tomorrow morning, I’ll hike in for breakfast, a shower, laundry, and resupply. Then I’ll be done in time to hike to Cheshire for lunch, and then to the shelter after that for dinner. I can get two nice town stops (the AT literally walks down Main Street of both), and still put in 18 miles. The past two days were tough, but tomorrow should make up for it, and without wasting too much time and money for the reward.

I’m also basically out of food, so I didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter. Oops.

One sad outcome though. In setting this up, I was forced to skip a shelter stop I was really looking forward to. The Upper Goose Pond Cabin was only 10 miles into today’s hike, so too early to stop for. And it was a 0.5 mile blue blaze side trail that I reluctantly decided not to take, knowing how many miles still lay ahead before the day was done. This shelter is supposed to be one of the best places to stay on the trail. It is a large red cabin maintained and staffed by the AMC and NPS. It has 14 bunks, and houses s caretaker on hand during the summer. As it rests on a large pond, there is swimming, canoeing, and a beach for fun times. And, best of all, the caretaker makes a pancake breakfast in the morning. All this is to say, I’m very sad I skipped it. I can’t do everything on this trail and finish under 5 months though. And for every missed Cabin there is a found treasure of another sort. Luckily, today I had two of them that were great consolation prizes.

First, very early in the day, was a “Trail Stand” on the side of a farm. This unmanned shed provided cold sodas, candy bars, and fresh eggs for sale, and a power chord to charge electronics. I enjoyed a morning Mountain Dew and Cliff Bar for 2nd breakfast, then headed up Baldy Mountain.

Eight hours later, towards the end of my day, I stopped at another farm. This one was home to the famous “Cookie Lady”, a well-known Trail Angel that provides free cookies to hikers, as well as water and trash bins. She and her husband live on a blueberry farm, and offer those for sale as well (when in season). They were very kind and the late-afternoon snack was greatly appreciated

At my shelter tonight are a few section hikers, but no one else. I plan to meet up with a few thruhikers in Dalton tomorrow though, so this mini bubble of familiar faces should continue a bit longer. e.g. Bones, Pritch, Mouse Trap, Hungry Cat, Transformer.

Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)

  • Start Mile: 1539.3
  • Start Time: 07:00
  • End Mile: 1566.8
  • End Time: 18:50
  • Miles Hiked: 27.5
  • Miles to Go: 624.1
  • Lodging: Kay Wood Shelter