Day 100: Mark Noepel Shelter

(video fixed)

Day 100. VICTORY IS MINE! I AM THE STRONGEST MAN ALIVE! WILL POWER IS MAN POWER! ADRENALINE!! AAAHHH!!

… I’m sorry … I’m still pumped full of the caffeine, chocolate, and sugar that fueled this last epic climb … breath, Sharkbait, breath … ok … ok, I think I’ve got my heart rate under control … let me start over …

Today started out like any other day. I woke up, I packed up my hammock, and I hit the trail. I ate a meager breakfast of my 3 remaining bites of trail mix and climbed down the 3 quick miles to Dalton, MA. I was hoping to get in town around 8am, and back out before noon. The entry time was close, as I walked down Main Street at 8:30, and into the Dalton Community Rec Center. For a $3 “donation”, they’ll allow hikers to shower here, to which I indulged greedily. I needed a shower bad from all the bug spray and humidity the past week, so let’s just say I took my time … and it was liberating.

Finally feeling clean, I grabbed breakfast at the Dalton Restaurant across the street, a diner attached to a very delicious bakery. I downed a plate of hash, potatoes, eggs, and toast and then washed it down with a homemade jelly donut. Yum! Next on my town to-do list was laundry. I’ll save you the dramatic story, but I walked a mile away to the laundromat, only to find out it was closed, then walked back to Main Street to the Shamrock Inn who said they would do it for me for $5. D’oh! That was a very frustrating hour wasted.

While waiting for my laundry, I picked up my resupply box and organized it for the next long section of hiking (6-7 days). I only sent 4 days of food, so picked up a few additional items at the gas station and made note of what else I need from the Dollar General in Cheshire. Then I had lunch at a sub shop with Bones, Pritch, and Reboot who strolled in around 11.

Reboot was staying in town, but the other 2 planned to hike on like me (as we discussed a couple nights ago). They headed off and I went back for my laundry. Long story short, the machines were backed up and I didn’t get out of town until 2:30. Yikes, 14 more miles to go and already so late, not what I was hoping for. The people at the Shamrock Inn are incredibly kind though, so I enjoyed the time spent hanging out in their Guest Lounge (a living room thing next to the office with the laundry machines, a TV set and an old computer). They asked me to send a postcard when I finish, so they can add it to their wall, and I promised I would.

Side note, this is a common activity among thruhikers. Once complete, you make postcards of your celebratory pose on Katahdin and send thank you notes to all the people along the way that helped you get there. I love the idea, and will likely do the same.

The hike to Cheshire was a nice 9 mile stroll up and then back down one huge mountain. It had some steep moments, but overall a very soft and doable pine needle covered path. The first business you see in town is an ice cream and sandwich shop. They had my new favorite, Hershey’s Raspberry, so I ordered a double scoop. Yum again! Then I walked the trail around town to Dollar General. I picked up the few remaining items (tortillas) and a few treats (gummy bears), then went outside to assess my options. It was 6:00pm, and I could either a) setup my tarp-tent behind a local hiker-friendly church and sleep in Cheshire, or b) try to get to the next shelter before dark. The next shelter was 4.4 miles away, 2/3 of the way and 1700 feet straight up Mt Greylock (the tallest peak in Mass), and there was just over 2 hours of sunlight left in the day.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

I ran back in the Dollar General and purchased a power dinner of Mountain Dew, Grandma’s Peanut Butter Cookies, and a king size Snickers … then I ate devoured the caffeine and sugar in 2 minutes and walked into the woods.

I’m not sure any written testimony could possibly sum up what happened next, which I must have realized … because I documented the whole thing on video as I went (above). Fueled only by sugar and stubbornness, I climbed up that mountain fast, even though I was carrying at least 5 more pounds of food than normal. More accurately, I ran up that mountain. At an insane 3 mph speed, I charged straight up Mt Greylock in 90 minutes, in what I am now calling the “Climb of Insanity”. Enjoy the movie.

I may be getting a little nutty on the last lap of this hike, but damnit if it isn’t fun out here. The overload of caffeine to my system may have had something to do with it too…

Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)

  • Start Mile: 1566.8
  • Start Time: 07:10
  • End Mile: 1583.7
  • End Time: 18:50
  • Miles Hiked: 16.9
  • Miles to Go: 607.2
  • Lodging: Mark Noepel Shelter