Day 101. After yesterday’s antics partially up Mt Greylock, getting up the rest of it today was a breeze. I broke camp at 7:30 and casually made my way up to the top before 9am. Along the way, I passed a tiny pond with an old abandoned cabin on it. I’m not sure what purpose this tiny cabin on a tiny pond could have once served (old ranger station perhaps?), but it was a beautiful scene. Untouched by wind, the pond projected a perfect mirror image of the landscape into the water’s reflection. It was a really nice morning treat to see, I even stood for a minute with mosquitos biting to take it in. Here’s a photo below that captures it pretty well.
From there, it was maybe a half mile more to the top. And at the top was quite the setup. Since there is road access and a parking lot, this is a very popular tourist site, and there is a lot to see and do. At the top of the mountain, looking like a giant white lighthouse in the sky, is a veteran’s memorial tower. You can climb 100 stairs the top and see hundreds of miles in every direction. On today’s clear blue sky day, it was perfect, and felt like a makeup for my crappy view atop Clingman’s Done 3 months ago.
There is also a lodge and cafe, where you can spend the night for $40 or get a hot meal/drinks. I’m not sure what the accommodations are like, but that’s a great rate for a full-service lodge on top of the world. I should have kept climbing last night and stayed there! Instead, I awarded myself with a consolation prize of raspberry pancakes and coffee, deciding that a trip back was definitely needed.
Side note, all these “trip back” destinations are starting to add up. At this point, I should just plan to hike this whole damn thing again!
The rest of the morning consisted of climbing down the other side of Mt Greylock with dozens of day-hikers … it’s the weekend in June, I should have expected it. Everyone was very nice, though it was crowded. At the bottom, I crossed through the town of North Adams and had lunch at a park with a picnic table. I walked through a nice neighborhood to get there and watched a little league game taking place while I ate. Then I journeyed on, back up the next set of mountains.
But these weren’t just any mountains, no they were the Green Mountains … and within a couple miles I crossed into my 12th state. Vermont! Man, New England states go fast on this trail. I celebrated the achievement with a snack and a photo (above), then journeyed on again. Still having 14 miles to go to tonight’s shelter, I thought I’d make it to camp early enough, but I forgot about Vermont’s nickname.
Almost immediately, the trail (which now overlaps with Vermont’s Long Trail) became a mess of rock and mud, and I regretted leaving the niceties of Massachusetts so quickly. My pace was slowed significantly by muddy walkways, even though it hadn’t rained here in days. The problem, I think, is the many ponds and bogs that appear to leak water down the trail from up high. Massachusetts had these too, but somehow it wasn’t as bad. It’s nothing too compromising, just slows you down a bit. On the bright side, though, I did see a beaver swimming in one of the ponds, which was a nice addition to my animal sightings collection. Even got him on video before he slapped the water with his tail and dove down. That was cool to see.
I reached the Congdon Shelter before 7pm, and found a group of women here for a friendly overnight. No other thruhikers in sight, but a section hiker was setup at a campsite (the girls occupied the small shelter). The overnighters had a fire going, a bag of wine, tons of extra food, and a willingness to share … so we had a nice dinner together and enjoyed the campfire until the sun set. I am exhausted from today’s long trek though, so I called it a night early and hopped in bed.
Tomorrow looks to be a shorter day of only 18 miles, though if I can do more I may consider it. I’m nervous I don’t have enough food and stove fuel, so I may try to get to Killington in 5 days instead of 6. We’ll see. I could also hitch to one of the many towns within a few miles of the trail. I’ll see how tomorrow goes, but it’s good to know my options.
Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)
- Start Mile: 1583.7
- Start Time: 07:30
- End Mile: 1607.4
- End Time: 18:45
- Miles Hiked: 23.7
- Miles to Go: 583.5
- Lodging: Congden Shelter