Nimblewill Nomad: IAT Thru-Hiker
August 25, 2000
Trail day: 94/45
Trail mile: 1334/630
Location: Upper Goose Pond Cabin
I'm out and down the main drag to Duff and Dell's, Dalton's favorite hangout for morning coffee . . . and great trail breakfasts. On the way out of town I stop again at Tom Levardi's home to talk a while with members of the clan still milling about. As I leave Depot Street and cross the tracks to climb Grange Hill I stop to tie on my sweat band and remove my shirt . . . It's going to be a glorious warm day. What a joy to be alive!The makeup of the forest has been constantly changing since descending Mt. Greylock. Today I take pleasure in walking in the beauty of such an old familiar friend again, one so common to the understory all throughout the central and southern highlands . . . the lush, green mountain laurel. The spruce and fir, so common all along the trail to the north has retreated now to occupy only the most-high reaches, and so, are there more white pine and hemlock and hardwood to take their place. The miles are accumulating, slowly adding up, finally meaning something. I'm actually getting somewhere and the trail and all that surrounds it and gives it life is testimony to that success. And the treadway is so kind in comparison to what I've been dealing with. I can actually stretch my legs and move out with confidence. Even the mud is not annoying, for again today the treadway is drying, necessitating much less jumping and dodging about.
If you've followed along on all my journeys you'll know that I've yet to see a bear . . . not a single bruin in nearly six thousand miles. Today a northbounder stops to chat and to tell me of the bear he's just seen. "Ambled along the trail right in front of me, even got up on the puncheons," says he. And sure enough in just a while--and no I didn't see the bear--but right there on the split logs and along for the greatest distance are these unmistakable wet paw prints! Skunked again, there'll be no bear for the cover of my book. Just as well . . . I've chosen a hiker. Much more appropriate, don't you agree?
At Washington Mountain Road I stop to see friends Roy and Marilyn Wiley. Roy is busy tending his blueberry patch. He has over 1200 high-bush blueberry plants and they're all full of cherry size blueberries. Folks keep coming and then going with buckets of blueberries all the while, as Roy and I relax and talk. Marilyn has come to be known among hikers and on the trail as"The Cookie Lady," for over the years and traditionally now, all the hikers stopping by their farm to fill their water bottles are treated to fresh-baked cookies . . . compliments of Marilyn. I don't get to see her today. Roy says she's working a regular job now . . . and wouldn't you know? "The Cookie Lady" is one of the cooks for the local school lunch program! Great seeing you again Roy . . . Oh, and thanks Marilyn for the great cookies, Roy's handin' 'em out!
Lots of up and downs today. First, Grange Hill, then Warner Hill, October Mountain, Bald Top Mountain, and finally Becket Mountain. But I'm able to hold 3MPH for the day to arrive early and in good stead at Upper Goose Pond Cabin. I'm greeted by Dottie, caretaker for the week and I quickly settle in for the evening. I've got a stack of five "twenties" to do to get into Kent, CT by next Tuesday, my scheduled date of arrival there . . . The first of these five's been a breeze.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication