Thursday, August 22, 2019

Appalachian Trail: Kent, CT To Great Barrington, MA

Three more days on the Appalachian Trail (AT) and three more days I considered quitting.  It's hard not thinking about it when you are hurting all over and still have miles to go.  I keep going but I wonder why sometimes.

A dense forest along the trail.
Day 138 - My trail angel picked me up from the B&B and dropped me off at the Appalachian Trail trailhead where she picked me up a few days earlier.  I thanked her for her kindness and said my goodbyes.

The trail follows the Housatonic River and is relatively flat at the beginning.  Once you move away from the river the trail climbs the ridge.

My goal for the day was a campsite seventeen miles ahead.  Soon after I started I realized I wasn't going to make it that far.  I started  later than normal, I was tired, and struggled most of the day.  I ended up stopping at the Pine Swamp Brook Shelter which had been my goal the day I had my accident.  I hiked 12.3 miles (19.8 km) for the day.

I was alone in the shelter that night.  A few thru-hikers came and went as I chilled in the shelter.  A couple of them I'd not seen since before the Smokies.  Crazy.  They all moved on to campsites farther down the trail.  Later that night it poured rain.  I stayed dry.

The Falls of Fall City, CT.
Day 139 - Since I'd hiked a short day the day before, today had to be a longer one.  I was aiming for just under twenty miles.  I doubted I would do it.

You pass near Fall City, CT and past the waterfall that gives the town its name.

The last part of the day was dry.  I filled up at a source after passing several dry streams.

I ended up at the Riga Shelter just over a mile short of my original destination.  The Riga shelter faces east and has an unobstructed view.  Few shelters have views so this makes Riga special.  I thought I may be alone at the shelter but Clemson, who I last saw before the Smokies, showed up and kept me company.

A beautiful sunrise to start the day.
Day 140 - I woke up to a thin red line on the horizon.  Skies were clear and I expected a gorgeous sunrise. It was a good start to another long day with no option to shorten it.  I was going into Great Barrington, MA.  I had to hike some eighteen miles that summited three peaks along the way.

The first peak was Bear Mountain (there are a lot of Bear Mountains).  The climb was relatively easy.  I talked to a southbounder at the top.  I mentioned thinking about quitting and she said there was so much beauty ahead of me.  I left feeling more positive.  The climb down was steep, rocky, and difficult.

At the bottom of Bear Mountain the trail follows a stream with waterfalls.  It was peaceful.  Along this stream I crossed into Massachusetts. Ten states down ... four more to go.  They seem to be dropping like flies though not like the flies constantly buzzing around my head as I hike.

The second peak was Race Mountain.  You climb up a ridge with views along the way.  Parts of the trail were uncomfortably close to the edge of a cliff.  The climb down was steep, rocky, and difficult.

The third peak, Mount Everett, was steep, rocky, and difficult going up and coming down.  I found a rock on the way up to lay down for a nap.

A nice stream near the state border.
About two thirds of the way down from Mount Everett the rocks became fewer and the trail became pine needles covered dirt.  The trail comes out in a picnic area where a large number of water jugs and a cooler full of Gatorade waited for thru-hikers.  I drank a Gatorade while I ate some lunch and talked to a couple of thru-hikers.  One gave me the number for a shuttle driver in Great Barrington.

The next eight miles were relatively easy, dry, hot, and tiring.  I should have drank more water while I had the chance.  I don't always keep up with my water needs. I struggled a bit until I finally came out on the road to Great Barrington, MA.

I pulled out my phone to call a shuttle.  I had three bars but T-Mobile would not let me call.  I guess they didn't have an agreement with the local provider.  I sighed, put my pack back on, and started walking the two and a half miles into town.

When I got to the hotel my legs and feet were throbbing.  Going downhill on the rocks really banged up my toes.

Day 141 - I'm starting to think one zero day isn't enough and two zero days are too many.  Today I resupplied (I had to walk a mile to the grocery store), did laundry, and tried to rest my sore feet and legs.

A southbounder I talked to said the attitude of the northbounders was fifty-fifty good and bad.  I am squarely in the bad attitude group.  Now I just need to find a way to switch teams.

Pictures can be found in my 2019 Appalachian Trail Google Photos album.

Total Distance: 1,522.8 Miles (2,450.7 km)
Section Distance: 50.0 Miles (80.5 km)
Section Elevation Up: 9,871 ft (3,009 m)
Section Elevation Down: 9,560 ft (2,914 m)



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