The Green River Festival was much fun and the set I played with Dez Roy went very well. I felt like a real pro and it’s so exciting to play electrically through a big sound system. (photos below by Julian Parker-Burns)
I ran into my banjo playing friend Maggie and her partner while I was there and she invited me to go to a music camp in Ithaca, NY. There was a pedal steel class and I could camp with her for free close by. It sounded like fun and I really felt like I needed to the social company so I decided to go. So this all turned into a longer break than I had intended.
When I returned 4 days later, an oppressive heat wave was about to set in. Given that I had a free place to stay and another chance to visit with Lucy, I decided to wait until Monday to start hiking again. My cousin Nathan was coming up from North Carolina anyway so I could just wait for him to transport me to the trail. All of this combined contributed to my decision to save Massachusetts for after I finish Maine and start at the southern Vermont border with Nathan.
So, on a Tuesday morning Lucy drove Nathan and me an hour west to North Adams (on her day off) to drop us off at the trail. We had shuttled Nathan’s car 40 miles north into Vermont yesterday. Nathan would be hiking with me for the next 4 days. We had just missed a torrential downpour the day and night before so the trail was ultra muddy and the water sources plentiful. We hit the trail about noon with a goal of 10 miles for the day.
Just before the Vermont border we ran into southbound hikers I had met through Melanie (she hiked the AT in 2016). Melanie actually works with both hikers Critter and Garbelly at an outfitter in Nashville. We chatted briefly and then hiked on. As soon as we crossed the Vermont border is was mudopolooza. Pits of black mud around every turn, some ankle deep. This slowed us down considerably as we hopped from rock to rock and bushwhacked around the puddles.
After a rock scramble, two view-less mountain tops we arrived at Seth Warner Shelter 7 miles in. We had a snack, talked to a few hikers and decided to go 3 more miles to an unofficial camp site beside a beaver pond. It was about 7:15 when we arrived. The ground for tenting was rooty but we managed to find two places that would accommodate the width of our sleeping pads.
As we were setting up out tents we heard a grunting sound across the water. We had already seen several beavers in the water but this sounded too big to be a beaver. We both looked at each other wide eyed and silent. Finally Nathan said what was that? I guessed a moose but we didn’t hear anything move in the woods or see any large figure. I said we’ll be alright. We went about making our camp and I started on dinner soon after my tent was pitched. The sun was going down quickly. After eating my chili Mac I boiled Nathan’s ramen. We heard a dog barking south near the trail and I thought it was a hiker with a dog heading to our site for the night. The barking started to go around the pond where there was no trail. It finally faded out to the east. I went to find a tree to hang our food as darkness was falling. It wasn’t the most secure food hang but bears are less likely to bother you at less used spots along the trail. I didn’t worry about it too much and thought at least our food was safe from the mice.
Nathan and I sat up talking a bit longer in the dark and heard a rustling close by the trail. I yelled out a hello and a hiker answered. They must be pushing several more miles to the next camping spot. The hiker informed us that another hiker would behind them would be joining us. It was good to know we would have some company. After we turned in for the night we heard the hiker walk in and sent up their tent. It must have been 10. I asked if they had had a long day, they said no, they couldn’t start hiking until 10 am that day because of the downpours. I turned over and tried to go to sleep to the sound of the creek rushing below the dam.
Miles: 1594.4 – 1604.3 (9.9)