Dalton, MA to Manchester, VT

Day 130: We started out our morning at Cumberland Farms with coffee and muffins. Feeling refreshed after our zero. We only ended up taking one break between Dalton and Cheshire; a nine mile stretch. We did take several pit stops to get rid of coffee. We got ice cream in Cheshire and took a two-hour lunch break. We called the outfitter in town (they had no regular hours) and the guy told us the place was closed for good but he had two canisters left he could sell us. We walked around for a while looking for the place until a local gave us directions. It was a bunch of gear in a garage. The guy remembered us as the Maine Sisters! We met him in the Smokies. He had to get off trail due to Lyme Disease. Back on trail, five miles to the shelter. It was mostly uphill, but it felt great on the feet! Had a fire with other hikers tonight which was nice. Loving the bear box!

Day 131: We climbed up Mt. Greylock and got some coffee at the top. The people were super rude there. We ran into Cozy there and got to catch up. When we were up there Navi found a rash and we were worried it was a tick bite. We had a long hike down to Rt. 2. When we got there, Rob Byrd was there doing trail magic. He also gave us a ride to the hospital… Navi doesn’t have lyme, but I have bed bugs! After the hospital, we went to Los Desperatos for dinner and they gave us food and drinks on the house! The bartender also offered to let us tent in his backyard, but J-Rex knew someone in town. Annette picked us up and let us tent in her yard.

Day 132: We got a ride back to the trail from Annette and hike up out-of-town. We finally crossed into Vermont! After a hippie photo shoot, we started hiking through ‘Vermud’. We hiked until dark and stealth camped. There was an owl screeching at us!

Day 133: A short hike down into Bennington and an easy hitch to town. We resupplied at Dollar General then grabbed some food at a bagel shop. Then to the laundromat to dry all my stuff for 30 minutes (to kill the bed bugs). We got another quick hitch back to the trail. It was all uphill to the shelter where we are staying tonight. Expecting rain. Nice shelter. Chilly.

Day 134: A windy and cold morning. It rained last night and the wind was blowing the rain off the leaves. We walked four miles to the first shelter where we stopped for a quick break. We couldn’t stay long because it was so chilly. Another 4.7 miles to the next shelter for lunch. The rain really came down between the two shelters! We stopped and made a hot drink to try to warm up. We had another four miles to go before trying to find a stealth spot. We hiked on and caught up with Hob and Chickadee. Hob’s old coworker had a ski condo close and they were supposed to meet up with them tomorrow night. Hob called them up and asked if a day early would be ok and they invited us along! Deb and Jim invited us in with open arms. We got a shower and a chance to do laundry. They fed us this huge gourmet meal and offered us real beds to sleep in! Truly a wonderful night after such a dreary morning.

Day 135: I woke warm and rested. We were served eggs and bacon, and coffee and orange juice, then brought back out to the trail. We climbed Stratton Mountain, which had a fire tower. It was windy and cold, but the views were phenomenal! We hiked down, then it was smooth sailing for the rest of the day. We got another nice view. We are camped near the road to Manchester Center. I got an awesome bear hang today! Cool night. Snuggled in the tent and it is starting to rain.

Day 136: We woke early to a cool morning. Hitched a ride to Green Mountain House Hostel and left our night gear behind. The owner was headed to the trailhead, so got a ride back with him. We are slack packing for the first time and managed to get on trail by 8 A.M. We hiked up Bromley Mountain, which has a ski resort on it. The top was exposed and the wind was very chilly. Thankfully they leave the ski patrol hut open in the summer. We took refuge inside and had a snack. We put on every layer we had and it was barely enough even out of the wind. We left all our layers on as we continued to hike. We had two more mountains to summit and we barely stopped for breaks, because it was so cold. Navi checked the temperature at the top of Peru Peak and it read 47F. We continued to cruise through more level land after the mountains and thankfully the rain held off. We got to Danby and found Andrew’s (Navi’s husband) car in the parking lot; empty! He’d gotten there early so he decided to go for a run. When he got back he drove us to the Green Mountain House. We showered, then picked J-Rex up and went to dinner!

Day 137: Zero Day 🙂 Best Hostel on the trail!!

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Garrison, NY to Dalton, MA

Day 118: We got hit with a huge thunderstorm last night but we stayed dry. We slept in a little and then waited for our stuff to charge. Buggy day on the trail today. The mosquitos weren’t bothered by the deet I sprayed all over myself. I have a couple of rashes. I think they might be chiggers, but I don’t know. We got rained on today. When we got to the beach at Clarence F. State Park, we took refuge under the building eaves and cooked dinner. Then we took wonderful showers; so hot!! We got a ridge from some workers to the campground for one free night of tenting. The mosquitoes were brutal as we set up, but it didn’t take us long. It will be nice to sleep tonight not covered in det and sweat. Tent is still a little wet.

Day 119: Wow, what a nice night of sleep! That’s what a hot shower will do. I miss hot showers so much! We got a good view today and the weather was very nice. We got to camp just before 5 PM. I just found the tiniest tick I’ve ever seen. I’m lucky it was moving or I never would have found it. Reading before bed!

Day 120: Apparently there was a racoon in the camping area last night. I woke many times to the people who didn’t hang their food trying to shoo it away. I didn’t sleep well and woke with a headache. It went away quickly though. We walked around a pretty lake this morning. We cruised thanks to Navigator turning on her music! We came upon trail magic as we got to the biggest oak tree along the trail. Then it was two more miles to Native Landscapes where we got more soda and Navi picked up some packages. Then we cruised to the shelter. The shelter is nasty but we found a nice tenting spot. Feeling great for 16.6 miles! Catching up on sleep tonight.

Day 121: We are in New England! Crossed into Connecticut this morning right after finding trail magic! I got an apple. We saw a trail crew hard at work improving the trail. A few tough climbs today. We got a hitch into Kent, CT to resupply and wash laundry. We met up with J-Rex! She took a day off here after her boyfriend Max went home. Tenting for free in town. There is a shanty shower set up under the stairwell. Pretty much a garden hose with curtains. I was the first to use it and the sun had warmed up the water in the hose, so I got a warm shower for about five seconds! Then just cold water, but it still felt great to get clean.

Day 122: We got a great breakfast in town this morning, but were pretty late getting on trail. We had a bit of climbing, then a nice flat section by a river. The mosquitoes were bad enough that I put my head net on as we walked. We had another climb and we heard thunder as we got to the base of it. Half way up there was a pavilion so we raced up to it! We “sprinted” by hiker standards. There was a lovely swing there that I got to enjoy before the rain started. We waited out the storm and ate dinner. Afterwards we had about three miles to go. We did our first for-real river crossing and the Crocs held up nice. We hiked the last half mile in the dark, but the tent sites were nice and flat. There was a critter around as we hung our bags, probably another raccoon.

Day 123: I got the bear line stuck in the tree after taking down the bags, but with some effort we managed to get it down. The terrain was very bumpy, with many ups and downs. Just before we reached the flat we realized there was a cafe in the town we would be walking through, but we had three more miles to do in an hour if we wanted to get there before it closed. We soda and coffee on the brain, Navi put on some music and we went as fast as we could! We made it there with 20 minutes to spare and ended up ordering dinner as well. Then we went to a spot in town that had an outlet for our use and charged while we rested a bit. A little further up the trail we came upon Grand Falls, which was awesome! We hiked on until we got to a huge field with fantastic views, so we are camping here. As we were setting up, a former thru-hiker Shepherd spotted us and gave us cookies! The mosquitoes were so bad that we all started going nuts!

Day 124: It started raining as we were eating breakfast so we snoozed for a little longer hoping it was a passing shower. It wasn’t! We packed from inside the tent then took it down. We hiked just under four miles to Salisbury, CT where we stopped to resupply and grab coffee. It took us four hours to get back on trail, but the sun came out and we were able to dry our stuff out. We hiked Bear Mountain, the highest in CT, then down to Sage’s Ravine, which had lots of swimming holes and water falls. Too bad it was too chilly to swim! Then we crossed into Massachusetts. We also hit 1500 miles today. Tenting at a nice site with a bear box. Bugs are still nuts.

Day 125: I woke up tired. We climbed a mountain but were socked in with clouds. It felt nice and cool though. Found water trail magic. Mosquitoes were the worst yet. I wore my head net through most of the flat section. We got soda and water trail magic while looking for vending machines that were in the guide (they don’t exist!). A steep climb to end the day. We squeezed into a tiny stealth site. We had to use the double tree method to bear bag. It took all our free time! Tired and grumpy; hoping tomorrow is better.

Day 126: I hate mornings and mosquitoes! I love trail angels! A typical day of hiking with some ups and downs. We stopped at a road to look for water and a couple in an RV drove by and pointed us in the correct direction to the spring. Then they offered us some food! A banana and clementine on the spot and I also took a granola bar, sunflower seeds and a clementine to go! Staying at the Shaker Campsite with tent pads and a bear box. We even got all our errands done before a thunderstorm rolled in.

Day 127: It rained all night but it stopped this morning. We went over a fence with a sketchy stile. It was just a board in the middle of the lines of barbed wire! We got to walk around some pretty ponds and thankfully the bugs were a little better. There was some sketchy boardwalks and lots of mud. In Lee we walked to a lodge where we got soda and ordered Chinese delivery! We also got to dry some of our stuff out. The lady running the lodge was very nice. Then we hiked on until we got tired. We ended up camping in a parking lot on a gravel road (Country Road) right where the AT crosses. Hopefully no cars come by tonight! I had Pork Fried Rice and soda that I packed out from the lodge. We did just under 17 miles today.

Day 128: We had a minor struggle getting the bear bags down this morning, but we prevailed without cutting the line. Chilly night and morning. We hiked to the Cookie Lady’s place and got cookies and water. We also picked some blueberries and they only charged us $1! The man there told us it was hiker day. He was too sweet! Getting moving again was tough. Thankfully the terrain was pretty easy and the bugs weren’t nearly as bad. On our last climb we got hit with a thunderstorm. There was very small hail. I sped up to stay warm. It was tough because my left foot was in a lot of pain, which would occasionally shoot up my left leg. We got into town pretty quick and stopped in at Levarti’s. He lets people camp in his backyard. After talking with him, we walked to the CRA for nice hot showers then grabbed dinner. Then we headed back and went straight to bed.

Day 129: Zero Day 🙂 Tom let us use his bikes to ride around town and we used his day packs to do laundry, resupply and get another shower! We even had time to go to the library. We had a nice sunny day.

Palmerton, PA to Garrison, NY

From left: Voodoo, Navigator, J-Rex, Toots

From left: Voodoo, Navigator, J-Rex, Toots

Day 106: The hike up Dante’s Inferno was so fun! It rained last night so the temps weren’t bad. We scrambled up, which was a blast, and had good views. We found berries further on, but didn’t dare to eat many since we were hiking through a Superfund site (from zinc production in the valley). The trail was rocky in sections and it was tiring. When we got to Smith Gap Road, Bud’s parent were there doing trail magic! They had fruit, veggies, hummus, soda and water. Everything was delicious. Turtle and Flea were slacking with Bud and it was good to see them again. When we got to the shelter, we set up camp and did our chores, then off to bed!

Day 107: The walk down to the spring was a long one this morning. We filled up again since we were unsure of the water at the next shelter. We hiked down and out of Wind Gap, where the worst of the rocks was rumored to start. The climb was steep and the rocks were rough, but not as bad as I’d expected from all the complaining! We got to the shelter and the water was running. We had dinner there, then continued to a campsite with a view! It was nice and cool with this polar vortex weather. It feels like fall in Maine! I brushed up against some poison ivy today. Hopefully it doesn’t get bad!.

Day 108: We are in New Jersey! Woke to a dewy morning. It was a quick walk into Delaware Water Gap and there was trail magic when we got there! Burgers, soda and some resupply stuff. It was awesome!! We went into town and stopped by the hostel for a shower. We worked on a puzzle while waiting for each other. Afterwards we went to the outfitter for bear rope and a gas station to finish our resupply. Then we went to the Water Gap Diner for an early dinner. The food was great and the price, too! We then went to the hostel to repackage our food and headed back out on the trail. We put bumps in our hair after entering New Jersey. On the hike to the campsite we saw a mother bear with her cubs. There were so small! They were munching on blueberries (we were too). The ridge runner at the camping area is letting us use his huge tent for the night. Slumber party with J-Rex! There are bear boxes too, so no hanging bear bags. It has been a good day!

Day 109: Heard a bear last night but I think I scared him off when I got up to use the “restroom”. There was also a deer munching on leaves right outside our tent. You could hear it breathing and chewing, it was so close. We got up to another cool morning thanks to the polar vortex. We didn’t get far before we were stopping to eat blueberries… there are so many! There are blackberries, too. J-Rex hiked on ahead to try to get some miles on us before her boyfriend comes to visit. We crossed 1300 miles and decided to celebrate by getting a grilled cheese with bacon and tomato at the Monegan Outdoor Center. We spent an hour there. Views are getting nice again! Climbed a tower this afternoon. The trail went back and forth between rocky and road walking. My feet were hurting by the end of the day. 16.9 trail miles! We have a campsite to ourselves tonight. Scared off a bear just after dinner. Hopefully it doesn’t come back tonight! Sleepy time.

Day 110: The bear never came back. It rained a little overnight. Nice terrain this morning! We stopped in Branchville, NJ for lunch at a steakhouse. I got a burger. We hiked to a tower and got great views, then hit the next shelter for water. We took our next break on a mountain with a pavilion and views. We talked with Tumbles there, then he joined us for the last three miles to the shelter. He told us about the human couch! What a nice guy. We all talked over dinner until dark.

Day 111: We woke to a nice cool morning but the day quickly warmed up. We were headed for a beach further down the trail. We stopped at an observatory tower before heading down to the water. We got food and sat reading. The water looked pretty dirty, so we skipped swimming but got to take a shower. We headed back up the trail and took a side trail to the highest point in NJ. We climbed up the tower, without our packs! Then we had about 7 miles into town. We stopped in Unionville, NY for resupply and are staying in the town park. Hopefully there are no train tracks around! We went to the Tavern for dinner then set up in the park. We hung out with some fellow hikers before bed.

Day 112: We got breakfast and resupplied at the Unionville General Store, then headed to the trail. We did a lot of flat and road walking. We got to walk around Wallkill Preserve. It is a National Wildlife Refuge and it was a freshwater marsh. It was beautiful with mountains all around! Then we climbed to a vista where we could see the marsh and the High Point tower. We stopped for lunch and ran into Dos Lekis and Bottle Cap. We decided to pace off them into town. We had a few more climbs and descents, then it became flat again as we reached a boardwalk through a bog. It was gorgeous but hot! Finally we reached the road to Vernon, but we stopped at a farm for ice cream before hitching into town. We set up at the hostel then went to resupply. We showered then had to wait to do laundry, so we got to bed super late.

Day 113: We slept in late this morning but it didn’t take us long to get a hitch back to the trail. There was a steep climb to a vista. We could see the trail below and I could just make out the High Point tower in the distance. It was hot and muggy, and it got worst as the day went on! We stopped at a park for lunch and filled up on water. Then we got to a section of steep ups and downs. We crossed into New York! From the border, we hiked with Voodoo, Spider and Mighty Blue. We did a lot of scrambling, which was tiring, but we got a few good views. We reached a road and walked to a creamery. I had a banana split for dinner! We all tented in the parking lot above the creamery. Hopefully we don’t get into trouble! Today’s hike was very exhausting.

Day 114: I didn’t sleep well last night. Woke to a chilly morning. Another day with lots of scrambling up and down steep rocks. There were many tasty blueberries! We did a short day and got into camp around 4PM. Relaxing and resting up tonight at our stealth site. We are on a nice patch of moss. Lots of blueberries around, hopefully no bears tonight!

Day 115: We woke to a beautiful morning. We hiked down off the mountain and found a water cache at the bottom, so we filled up. We took our first break at a pond, which was lovely, and I napped for a few minutes. Then we hiked up another mountain and stopped for lunch at the shelter. We sat in the sun and saw J-Rex and her boyfriend Max on the way out. We walked another mile, then walked down to a beach. They had ice cream vending machines!!! Soda vending machines, too. We swam and I had an ice cream and soda before and afterwards. Then we hit the trail hard. We crossed an interstate that I’ve ridden on before. It was a steep climb before the shelter. There are blueberries everywhere!

Day 116: We got great views of the NYC skyline last night and this morning. We hiked to a tower with nice views and vending machines that took cards. Then we hiked down to a lake that was packed with people from the city. There was lots of music and so much BBQ! We couldn’t yogi food, because everyone thought we were homeless, so we got food from the concessions. On our way down the trail we missed the blazes and ended up doing a lap around the lake. We found the path the second time and went into the zoo. We saw a fox cuddled up sleeping and two bears interacting. It truly was the low point on the trail. Then we crossed the Hudson River and climbed back into the woods. Eventually we made it to the Appalachian Market and stopped for a wrap. Then we hiked to the Graymoor Spiritual Center for free camping in the field. They also had a shelter with outlets and a solar shower.

Day 117: Zero Day 🙂 We walked back to the Appalachian Market for resupply and heard music getting louder and louder as we returned to the Graymoor Spiritual Center. We joked that the monks were really bumpin’. We soon realized that the music was coming from the field we were camping at. We had pitched our tent in the middle of the field and returned to a soccer game in full swing and our tent nowhere to be seen! It turns out that it was an Ecuadorian celebration with soccer, food and dancing. They were raising money to send back to Ecuador. Thankfully, a few hikers moved our tent off the soccer field for us while we were gone on resupply! It was cool to watch another culture’s style of celebration.