Saturday, August 18, 2012

The rest of the pics from last blog

The Train

MA beauty

Biking Dalton

Bunny and Suds

Awesome homemade goodies complements of Reverie's grandma and cousin. So good.

Left to right: Waldo, Red Bull, Firefox, High Life, Reverie, Red Fury, Gandolf, Gerber, Camel, CheeseWizz

High Life playing bearded pool

Food time!

Sitting Chair

60 lbs pack. Ugh!

Belch is back!!

- Spiral, Reverie, and CamDog

Location:Bucklin Rd,,United States

Almost to Vermont

Connecticut treated us pretty well despite the high price of everything. The walk into Massachusetts was beautiful. The gnats were in decline but still a large amount of misquitos. These misquitos look like babies compared to Louisiana misquitos. Still, equally annoying. Now, fall is coming in strong and winter gear is needed again. No misquitos but no warmth. It's made for a pretty hiking day today. Best weather since early Virginia. It makes hiking so much more enjoyable.

On our way out of CT, it offered some awesome views of what were to be climbing soon. MA mountains put us back to the 3500 hundred feet elevation. We haven't had climbs like that since Damascus months ago. We gotta get used to it cause we are about to be doing a lot of that.

We got into MA and went into Great Barrington. We weren't sure where we were gonna stay. Turns out Eva and Short Term met a girl who claimed to have hiked the Trail as a child and offered a place to stay in where she lives/works. Turns out its a house under a little construction. No worries, easier than putting up a tent. She said we could stay too and she didn't mind dogs. But her 2 year old will be there. Okay. Maybe a bed. We had some drinks with fellow hikers Peaceful Warrior, Red Bull, and Firefox. As it get dark we showed up to this big 3 story house that appeared a bit run down. Long story short, we it was a frightening place in the dark and more so in the light. No ceilings or walls. Everything gutted. Exposed insulation. Even a Dexter looking room. We survived the night and took off in the morning. The girl was quirky but kind. She shouldn't be living in this place. Sorry, but this story is really too big for iPhone blogging.

We got a hitch outta town by a sweet lady who even bout some goodies at a Co-op. We were only trying to get right at of town but she thought she'd drive us a few more miles. We figured why not. She offered to bring us to the legendary Upper Goose Pond Cabin. That's a little skip but it sounded awesome.

She dropped us off at the Trail head about three miles from the cabin. We hiked in to the enclosed, attendant-on-duty, hiker-crowded, pond-side building. No dogs allowed so we couldn't sleep inside on the mats. So we had to platform tent 100 yards away. Fine. But it was still pretty. No electricity or showers but there were to be blueberry pancakes in the morning and free camping in the massive "pond". It was more like a lake. It was donation based and we decided that because our little jump ahead, we'd stay and relax a zero there and we are glad we did. The next day, pancakes ruled, swimming ruled, canoeing ruled, and the hikers ruled. We had to say bye to some cool Section hikers we'd been camping with as their 7 day journey was over. Aside from that, we had a great time kicking it. It was a different type of zero. After hanging with attendant, she offered to let us stay in the cabin even with Chaser that night. We declined. Our tent was already set up and the cabin got crowded. Of course, it storms on us that night. It was a bad storm. We were the only ones tenting. We survived with poor sleep and were told the hikers were worried about us out there all night. Wet tent sucks.

We hiked out the following morning with Stone Dance, Butch, Suds, Bunny, Eva, Short Term, and Flintstone. It was a huge chain. It was fun. 10 miles away was the cookie lady's house. A known trail angel that gives cookies to hikers, runs a blueberry patch, and sells boiled eggs and soda. Sweet!

We arrive there and eat and pick and chill. We called a fellow who has a house he let's hikers stay or tent at for free in Dalton which sounds great. He said there's room and offered to let us slackpack the rest of the day putting us at about 21 miles for the day. Sure! Rev and Chase rode with him while I ran those last 10 miles to town. It was fun and different too. Hauling but with no pack or camera. Took less than three hours to run it.

Got to town and set up tent in the backyard then off for food and a beer. After all, it was our first 20 in some time. Finished eating and Gerber and Onkles walk in. They had been there a few days already. "Heyyyy! Haven't seen you in forever!" We all had a great time catching up.

The next day, we were trying to work out some slack packing options. We have Greylock coming and we were hoping for the option. The fellow who normally does it had family in and the other fellow didn't allow dogs at all. But there was a chance that Saturday it could happen. So, we took a day off since we could stay for free while waiting out a slack pack. Turns out, High Life and Red Fury were making it there that day. That was exciting. Old friends.

We basically did the same thing that night; grabbed food and caught the hikers coming through that evening and played pool and darts. That was Thursday. Come Friday it was looking more likely that we could swing a slackpack the next day. The waiting is a drag, but the town was nice. We were set on leaving early the next day, slacking or not. We decided to cook and lay low that night. We were just ready to hike again. Late that evening it was decided, no, it isn't gonna work out. We learned a lesson there. Bummer. Nevertheless, Belch finally caught up in addition to Saturday. We hadn't seen her in a long long time. We started together. She was doing well.

We hiked out this morning and MA is so pretty. This would be really far from Louisiana to come back and section so we are really soaking up its beauty. It definitely feels like New England. The temperature is dropping. We plan to get a bunch of winter stuff back next mail drop. I currently have a long sleeve, long pants, and snuggie on and I'm gonna be cold tonight. Next few day it'll be low 70s to low 50s. Opposite of home. Leaves are just starting to change here. The Whites are coming and we are excited. So much pretty stuff to come. The Southbounders talk like everything we have coming is gonna blow our minds despite the tough climbs. Can't wait.

Caveman expects to catch up in less than a week and we hope he does. We got a good group going right now between Red Fury, High Life, Belch, and newcomer, Gandolf. Good hiking coming up. Greylock mountain in the morning. Gonna be pretty outside and pretty views.

CT overlook

Chaser as a fine young man.

Tom and Jerry learning about Postagram.

Me and Jumangi

Our destination, Mount Everett in MA


Mount Race was awesome!

It was kinda hot. Chaser loves this.

The house.

Short Term, Eva, and Reverie busting out that place.

Chaser protecting our gear while we grab a bite.

Upper Goose Pond

I packed in a beer

Chaser trying to smell fish.

Chaser learning how to swim at age 4 with Stone Dance and Butch.

Turns out, he loves it.

Stone Dance and Butch

Canoeing at sunset.

Blueberry pancakes!

Once again, it's almost midnight and this is hard to type on a phone. So I'm skipping proof reading. Goodnight, all! VT tomorrow!

- Spiral, Reverie, and CamDog

Location:W Mountain Rd,,United States

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hiking Connecticut

We headed back to the Trail from NYC last Sunday. It was every bit as difficult as I assumed. There are only a few trains that run directly to the Appalachian Trail stop and they are only on weekends. We were attempting to catch the very last one(9:48am) on Sunday. So, we wake up early, tell Chesley and Nandita farewell, and head off with our gear. We take the R train to Atlantic-Pacific stop to board the 4 or 5 which would both put us directly into Grand Central. Of course, as we boarded that train, the conductor stepped out and asked for papers on Chaser. Dammit. We obviously don't have any so we immediately run out of the subway and look for a driver that allows dogs. Found one pretty quick. Unfortunately, it was a longer drive than train ride. We showed up at Grand Central with no time to spare. Racing around with Chaser, we get our tickets and ask Information which track has our train. "34", she says. "Right over there". Sweet! we haul ass, get on the train and rejoice we made it. The train begins moving, one of the workers come to punch our ticket and informs us we are on the wrong train. What what WHAT!? Dammit. So, we had to hop off at the next stop and wait 2 hours for a train that will bring us to a station that allows a transfer to a train that will get us as far as Pawling, NY which is about 2.5 miles from the Trail. I guess that'll work. And it did.

We get off the train in unfamiliar Pawling and are immediately given directions by a friendly guy. We road walk all the way to the AT train stop where some Southbounders are waiting to be picked up to go into the city. Ohhh, so they pick up late but not drop off. Plus... SOUTHBOUNDERS? Sweet. It IS that time of year. Suddenly, they are everywhere. The Trail no longer belongs to NOBO's and section hikers. We now get to see an onslaught of people who have just been where we are going and vice versa. Sweet.

When we get to the AT train station it's obvious a storm is coming. Fortunately, we are 20 yards away from the Native Landscape and Garden Center where we are greeted by the owner and welcomed to stay under the long front porch for the evening so we aren't stuck out in the weather. Thanks! There we see Rainbow Dash who we've heard so much about, Palm Tree, who gives us the update on where all our friends are, and Squatch, a fellow filmer of the Trail who was Southbounding the section. The storm was pretty bad and it was late in the day. We figured it's best if we get going the following morning anyway.

We awoke at 5:15 to eat, pack, and start hiking again. It was muggy but was beginning to cool off thanks to the rain. by 9am we did 6 miles. There was even some trail magic. A Bud Light in the cooler. Don't mind if I do. We wanted to take it easy so we can slowly work ourselves back into it. We agreed on about 10 miles. So, we got to the next shelter and took a looong break. We met some SoBo's there and they gave us a full scoop of what's to come. Very exciting. It's also apparently a record breaking year for number of Southbounders. We all hung out for a while then said goodbye because we aren't ever going to see them again. That stinks. We went another 3 miles and set up camp next to Ten Mile River. It was pretty. By that point we were hopping back and forth from CT and NY. By the end of the day, we were fully in CT. Pretty hiking. We missed it. We were feeling good despite our new boot blisters. After only 10 miles that day, we were sore. 10 miles used to be a joke. But a month off took it's toll.

We knew Eva and Short Term were close behind but got by us the next morning before we got up. Which kinda sucks because we are intentionally going slow and they are quick hikers. Fortunately, the Trail has a way of bringing people back together. High Life and Red Fury, too, were and are currently behind. Caveman and Bumble Bee got on at Delaware Water Gap about 150 miles behind us. Belch stayed in NYC. We aren't sure when and if that whole group will be reuniting on the Trail or not. Hope so. In the mean time, we have been seeing some excellent friends showing up and fortunately, it was just in time for Reverie's birthday.
Thursday, August 9th, we knew we would be in Falls Village but didn't want to be there for Rev's bday because there isn't much at all to do there. So, we were gonna stay there the night and get a ride into Salisbury, CT which has a few more options. We arrived in Falls Village, met new hikers to us, Tom & Jerry, and Sanchez. They rolled out and we opted to stay at a local cafe that offered free camping on their lawn. By that point our blisters were out of control. Very painful. Happy to make it an 8 mile day. We got to the cafe were a Southbounder already was, had some food delivered, discovered there was a small packing store(liquor store) open around the corner, and set up camp. We grabbed a beer. Went back for another and discovered Eva, Short Term, StoneDance, Butch, Mouse Trap, and Spot. All friends. They all had been planning to stay at the cafe(Toymaker's Cafe) too. Mild party time! It was already pretty late but we were able to catch up and have some fun. The next morning we grabbed an amazing breakfast at the cafe and got a ride into Salisbury, CT.

We stayed with a lady who has Bronchitis so she couldn't be near Chaser. Damn. So, as far as a ride goes Chaser didn't have one. Luckily, Short Term and Eva said they'd hike him the 6.5 miles into Salisbury for us in turn we slack packed them. Perfect. Chaser had energy and didn't have to carry a backpack. We get to her house and it's nice. Cute town but then it starts raining nonstop. Good thing Rev didn't have to hike in the rain for her bday. Instead we got packages from our parents and relaxed, taking it easy on our open-wound feet. Eva and Short Term dropped off Chaser and hiked on. We thanked them. After that, laundry and more food. Little bit of champagne and more food. Then sleep. It was supposed to be raining today but so far it hasn't. We don't plan on going very far today. But will begin picking up the pace of the next couple days.
Every morning we wake up missing home. We really can't wait to be back. We are climbing Mount Katahdin come the first week of October one way or the other. So, we have a little under 2 months left. It's exciting to actually feel the progress now. We will be in Massachusetts by the end of the day. Then Vermont, and New Hampshire. Finally, Maine when the leaves start changing. We'll be in the Whites in less than a month. That's awesome. And that's what keeps us going. I dream about Louisiana and talk about it a lot. Can't wait to be home. Can't wait to watch all the footage. Can't wait to...shhhh.... hunt. It'll be bow season when we get back.

We'll have friends all over by the end of this. That was one of the really appealing aspects too. So, many people who will be more than welcome to come stay in La with us and us with them. Friends we would have NEVER met if it weren't for a couple nights in the woods with them. This Trail is special in that way. It brings people together who otherwise wouldn't have known each other. I like that the most.
We miss you all so much. Looking forward to not HAVING to hike, but will be well aware of the NONHIKING blues. The real world will be really interesting to go back into. Jobs and driving, not hiking and fetching water. Do I hear the Pacific Crest Trail calling our names?

Where we were trying to go

Soaking our feet in Ten Mile River

CT view

Campsite with a swing and deck!? Silver Hill Campsite

Nice little red home

Dirt line

Do you see the Trail? No? Cause it's so rocky.

Outside the Toymaker Cafe

What a menu graphic

That's our tent back there

Birthday breakfast!!

'its my birthday too!!'

It exists in CT

Birthday lunch!!

Backwards clock.

PS. Couple things I forgot to mention. The bugs are now TERRIBLE. They are so incredibly annoying. Gerber and Onkles is slightly ahead. Hammer went to Ireland and is off the Trail. And every single hiker I've talked to HATED Pennsylvania. Not one enjoyed it. Heat, bugs, and rocks is apparently all it had to offer.