Beaker, the Chemist from West Virginia, took a few days off the trail to visit his wife at their new home in Knoxville, TN. From June 26 until July 2 his life was filled with the honey do list that often accompanies a new home, finding some new, lighter shoes for the trail, and resupplying for the adventure ahead.
Beaker flew to Albany, NY, and was met at the airport by his high school friend Linda, her sister, and her niece. They went to dinner at a local pizza place in nearby Bennington, VT while visiting and catching up on the 30 years since they had seen one another. July 4th holds a return to the trail and a climb over the highest peak in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock.
7/4/17 Today’s hike totaled 17.6 miles from Dalton to Mt. Greylock, MA
After a great breakfast of farm fresh eggs, bacon, and French toast, Linda drove Beaker back to the Shamrock Inn in Dalton, MA. Hiker hunger called his name around noon, “Before starting up Mt Greylock, though, I dropped down the back side of Cheshire Cobble into the town of Cheshire, MA. I happened to walk right past an ice cream/sandwich shop at noon. So, naturally, I stopped for a ham and Swiss on rye and a chocolate shake.”
Cheshire, MA nestles within the valley of the Hoosic River at 970 ft. Mount Greylock stands tall at 3489 ft so over the course of 7 ½ miles Beaker climbed 2519 ft. It is not the most difficult uphill on the AT or even the most demanding Beaker has encountered so far on his adventure, but it is a long uphill grade taking most of his afternoon. Arriving at the summit of Mt. Greylock, Beaker was impressed by the War Memorial Lighthouse and the rustic Bascom Lodge. He decided to get a bunk at the lodge for the night, hoping that the next three days will be 20+ milers as he tries to catch back up with 1st Sgt. and the rest of his trail friends.
“I think the week off was just what I needed. My feet are all healed up and appear to be working just fine in my trail runners. Also, I really enjoyed being back in the woods. Tomorrow – Vermont!”
7/5/17 Today’s trek: 22.9 miles Mt. Greylock to Harmon Hill, VT
Beaker found a beautiful day for hiking: clear blue skies and highs in the upper 70s. He got an earlier start, ate his breakfast from his food bag and headed down the path before 7:00 AM. He hiked off Mt. Greylock and down to Williamstown, MA, where he had second breakfast at the Stop N Shop. “It was located about 0.5 miles off-trail. I typically won’t go that far off-trail for waterfalls and overlooks unless they are spectacular; however, I’ll gladly do it for second breakfast. I’m going to miss second breakfast when I am done hiking and start eating like a normal person again.”
Beaker put in some great mileage today. Unfortunately, 1st Sgt. has been putting in the miles slackpacking while his wife is visiting him on the trail, so Beaker has a challenge ahead in trying to catch him. The highlight of the day was completing Massachusetts and entering another state. He crossed into Vermont just after noon. The nickname for Vermont on the AT is “Vermud”. Almost as soon as he crossed the border, the nickname became obvious. He encountered big patches of thick, squishy, black mud sometimes stretching across the trail, making it impossible to go around.