Eighteen: A stinky last bit of Connecticut, a short stay in Massachusettes,
and off into Vermont...all in one week!
August 7th, 1983
I got visited by a guest at about 2:00am this morning. His name
was Mr. Skunk.
It all started yesterday when I had decided to go with a new game
plan. The plan was that to do everything that I possibly can inside
the tent because I found that lately, even in early morning, the
bugs have been ferocious. This included eating breakfast. So, last
night I set all my breakfast stuff right beside the tent. Bad move
dummy! At about two this morning I heard a clatter of pots. A few
seconds passed as I fumbled for my flashlight and wrestled it into
submission. When I turned it on, lo and behold to my amazement,
Mr. Skunk sauntered by the tent carrying my Sugar Smacks! In a flash
I shot out of the tent, rock in hand, intent to retrieve those succulent
morsels. A few minutes of chase ensued until it dawned on me that
he was indeed a skunk, and quite an animal to be reckoned with.
I believe that at that moment the same thought struck him; and he
abruptly halted, turned and backed himself up to a tree and stuck
his tail up. Needless to say, a hasty retreat was in order. After
a few seconds of evaluation, I concluded that one Sugar Smacks breakfast
wasn't really all that important. I did throw a rock at him, but
only after I had retreated to a safe distance. After all, I had
to show him who was boss, but I think he already knew.
It didn't rain last night after all, and today turned out perfect.
The views atop these mountains are beautiful. My favourite place
in Connecticut is now Lion Head. The summit marker is what didit
for me. That tree knotted up and hanging on to life through many
winter blizzards, hail, heavy winds and droughts made me think of
some trees that I had seen above treeline in the White Mountains.
Yes, that would be coming soon and the anticipation was driving
(View from Lion's
(Lion's Head Summit
(View from Bear
(View from Race
(Mt. Everett from
a nice Sunday, I met many weekenders. I will surely hike this again
someday. Almost forgot, I knocked off another state, Connecticut.
I hope that Massachusetts is nice.
this evening at an unofficial camping spot somewhere between Mt
Everett and the Elbow trail.
Unfortunately, there is no water here.
August 8th, 1983
Today turned out very hot, and the bugs were out in force. I traveled
through a very dry section, no running springs, and according to
what I have been hearing, the next section is dry as well.
I decided to go into Sheffield today, which was a bad move because
it was tough hitching a ride. There were many cars whizzing by,
but nobody would pick me up. I missed having Claudia around 'cause
I know that I would get a ride if I had hitched with her. My impression
was that the town was cold in the sense that they didn't want hikers
around. Probably because we didn't spend enough money. Seemed like
a "wealthy town". I found it much different from the southern
towns where locals would go out of their way to welcome us. The
philosophers guide mentioned this as well.
In spite of the heat, I did a twenty miler to Mount Wilcox Lean-To.
views from Bushnell Mountain, Mass)
August 9th, 1983
Nice breezy day today so I did a twenty miler to October Mountain
Lean-To. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a lousy lean-to with
no water. In the previous registers the "The Ridge Runner"
had mentioned that there is a house on the road near the shelter
and the people are friendly to hikers, so I will procure some water
Hiked with a guy from Illinois today. He was not a thru-hiker and
he looks bushed. Perhaps he is the one that took
the picture of me at the Mass Pike. The Mass Pike was a milestone
of sorts. It was the first time that I had been in familiar territory
and closest to home. I had driven many times on the Mass Pike near
Rhode Island and although all roads lead home this one made me feel
connected to my home and the people that I loved and shared my life
with. I was nostalgic but not homesick at all for there were adventures
ahead and a task not completed. My home now was wherever I landed
and I was content with that.
Island Red over Mass. Turnpike)
quite anxious to see Vermont and the Green Mountains. Mountains
are what I loved, and although pretty, these hills didn't compare
to what I considered mountains. Truth be told, I had never been
to, or seen the Green Mountains, but was told that they were rugged
and forested even at the peaks. This would a stark contrast to the
Bald Mountains of the South, which I had just trekked over earlier
on this trip, and the alpine experience of the White Mountains which
I had hiked many times in the past, but was yet to come on this
Tomorrow will be twelve miles to Dalton, Massachusetts for some
rest and relaxation.
August 10th, 1983
An easy twelve miles to Dalton, Massachusetts. It was a cool morning
which made for a pleasant hike.
When I got to the Community Center I found Tim, Bruce Berlin, Eric
Olson, John Beckstrand and also a new female hiker named Arlee.
I first met Arlie in town and we did stuff together while there.
Following town chores, which included
laundry, grocery shopping, and writing a letter, I just hung around
on the basketball court in the community centre and got bored. There
were bus schedules in the community center, so these came in handy
for planning for the next day even though the evening proved to
be quite exciting.
time in the afternoon, Alan Savage told me that he was invited to
dine at a local's house that he had met in town. I said, "Great!
Alan, you're going to have a home cooked meal for a change".
So we said our farewells and went our separate ways.
that evening, as I and other hikers slowly trickled into the community
centre heeding the nine o'clock curfew - one of the few rules there.
The door was locked and we all bedded down for the night on the
wrestling mats provided to us and quickly fell asleep. In what seemed
like only a second, but was actually several hours, there came a
loud frantic banging on the door. Since I was closest to it, I stumbled
over toward it only to see Alan furiously shaking the locked door
while trying to get in. Of course, my first reaction was utter glee
as this was going to be fun for me.
Hey Alan what's going on? *casual tone*
Alan: Let me in!!
Me: You missed the curfew.
Alan: I know just let me in!!
Me: Did you have a nice dinner?
Alan: No, now let me in there.
Me: I can't.
this time many of the others had awakened.
'Cause I'm not supposed to.
Alan: Dammit will you let me in?
Me: Well, I don't know if I should. Maybe we should all take a vote
Alan: Someone is after me. I'm in trouble. *pleading*
Me: Oh, alright but next time you'll have to give the secret code
*Big grin on me, plus muffled laughter in the background*
he slipped in the building and made sure the door was secure. By
then everybody was awake and snickering.
me first say that Alan was a good looking guy. He had a long, thin
build with blond hair and blue eyes. He also had a laisse faire
attitude that you often see in people from the mid-west. He spoke
with a smile just slightly hidden behind his face just waiting to
erupt into full laughter at the slightest hint of Tom-foolery. Tonight
I could see this was not the case, and had I seen his face in the
darkness while he was trying to get in I would not have made sport
sat down and began to tell his tale. He began: "The guy picked
me up and drove me to a house about five miles out of town and everything
was cool. We went in and I met his friend, who seemed like a pleasant
enough guy, and their dog which was a rather large breed - something
like a German Shepard. They began a conversation. I spoke about
where I came from, what I had done during the summer, and polite
conversation like that. Sometime later we had just begun to have
dinner when the conversation disintegrated into mainly sexual innuendos
and both were eyeing me like the piece of meat on the table. One
began rubbing my leg under the table, and then I knew I was in trouble!"
Alan said, "it is getting late, and I had to get back into
town. Then they tried to get me to sleep over! I refused, of course,
but they both insisted that I stay over - that they wouldn't hear
of me going back. Nor would they drive me back. Looking at the door
I saw the dog guarding it, but my way out. Both left me as they
went into the kitchen to get the dessert, and that was my cue to
get out. The rest is fuzzy, but somehow I did get past the dog and
ran off into the night. I headed back here, but had to duck into
the bushes each time a car passed by just in case they had come
looking for me. It was quite dark so I couldn't see if their car
was ever the one passing slowly as I hid. You don't know how happy
I was to see this place after hours of walking the street!"
then on he was known to us as "The G Magnet".
Thursday August 11th, 1983
I hung around at the center this morning doing virtually nothing
until the boredom got the best of me. I was itching to get back
on the trail. Having seen the bus schedules yesterday, some of the
hikers came up with a plan: we left our packs at the community center,
took the bus to Cheshire, Massachusetts, then day-hiked south back
to Dalton. I know that Bruce and Eric accompanied me on the flip
for those nine miles, but I cannot quite remember, if Arlie had
tagged along. All I know is that when I left Dalton the next day,
I never saw her again. The forecast was for rain, but I didn't care
if I got drenched. I could just throw my stuff in the dryer in town
afterwards and hike dry the next day, thank you very much. I believe
that it did rain on us, but I was destined to sleep dry. This was
the first and last time that I did a flip. I found I preferred going
in the direction of terminus. Each time I did a section I felt a
sense of accomplishment fueled by a visual representation on my
August 12th, 1983
When I woke up this morning, it was raining again so I decided to
go with Julie and Eric Olson to Williamstown, Massachusetts to pick
up my mail drop that I had sent there rather than Dalton. I had
sent my mail drop forward to Williamstown because there was bus
service from Dalton, and it was a college town. College towns mean
lots of cheap food joints, and besides, there was a backpacking
store. How could I go wrong?
Williamstown is a college town with beautiful buildings. There is
lots of money there, and a great ice cream parlor across from the
post office. We took the bus back to Dalton, and then Alan Savage,
Arlee and myself went into Pittsfield to see a good movie. None
they were showing were any good, so we went to Coltsville, Massachusetts
for a Pizza Hut pig-out, and even more ice cream.
philosophers guide had stated that hikers were not welcome at the
Dalton community center, but I found Dalton, and it's community
center to be quite hiker freindly, so obviously that had changed.
the same, I'm definitely on the "road" tomorrow.
August 13th, 1983
Had an early breakfast with Alan at a restaurant and then went back
to bed 'cause I had already done the nine miles, and for once I
could sleep in like a lazy bum and still do some good mileage.
Since I had already hiked the next nine miles I caught the bus to
the Cheshire trailhead, this time with my pack. I remember getting
to my trail head just as some of the others had gotten there, but
with the effects of having hiked the nine miles. I was fresh and
ready to go, while they were feeling the burn.
We all headed north.
had just recently rejoined the A.T. a bit south of North Adams after
having left the trail a long time ago back near the North Carolina/Virginia
border. He had quit the trail when he and his partner split up.
Not sure why but they probably had hiking differences as many hikers
do that start up together. So he roamed around the east coast with
a borrowed car from a relative while visiting people that he knew.
I believe that he felt a sense of guilt for not finishing up the
trail and quitting early so he got back on at the point where he
thought he would have been if he had not quit.
caught up with Al at the base of Mount Greylock and we hiked the
eight miles to Bascomb Lodge at the summit together. Alan had not
done the nine miles with me the day before so he was beat by the
time that we had gotten to the lodge. As a result, he collapsed
upon arrival and assumed what would after this known as the "thru-hiker
the lodge, I managed to trade work (floor sweeping) for an all you
can eat (A.Y.C.E) supper. I had been to several AMC huts in the
Whites so I knew how they operated in relation to thru-hikers, and
Bascom Lodge was no different. Nice people these crew (croo) people
are! I think that Alan worked off both his food and lodging. Tonight
I will sleep at the nearby pavilion.
really liked the lighthouse located on Greylock summit, and wished
that I could have gone inside. Unfortunately that was forbidden
at the time.
(Bascomb Lodge atop Mt. Greylock, Mass)
(Adams, Mass as seen from Mt. Greylock)
(Alan Savage assuming the "Thru-hiker" position)
(Lighthouse on top of Greylock)
(Views from Summit of Greylock)