So today I am ready to be done with the hike, which is convinent since it is my last day!
The tent held up overnight, but with each unzipping I was worried the unnatural angle of the broken and splinted pole would stress or tear the zipper or door fabric, so it was a relief to take it all down. These poles will be going in the garbage when I get to town, my tyvek ground cloth too…it has gotten to the point where it picks up a fair amount of the forest floor when I lay it down, and is absorbing water instead of repelling it. On a long hike I like to replace it every few months.
I had wings this morning. I have done a good job at being present on this trip, I had to be to keep from tripping and cracking my skull open on a rock, but today the thoughts of home, Kirk, seeing my parents, and wearing clothes other than my stanky hiking ones was strong. I couldn’t peace out all together though, Vermont’s roots and rocks continued with some additional mud pits thrown in for good measure. This was still New England hiking. And then my feet slid on a wet bog board like it was ice and I went down hard on my left knee. That could have been bad, but somehow it wasn’t, and I kept going.
I made amazing progress and even had time for a nice relaxed lunch under some power lines where I was actually able to feel the sun on my skin (the green tunnel is thick).
When I reached the Massachusetts border I did a little jig, three states completed on my sobo hike!
Then there was a crazy jumble of rocks to contend with as I descended to the town of North Adams, and bugs. Little knats flew in my eyes, near my ears and were all up in my grill the last few miles. No thanks! These bugs were the last straw…I’m done with you AT.
I had called a hotel from a few miles back (thank you technology!) and made plans for them to come pick me up at the hiker kiosk in town. NEMO is coming to pick me up tomorrow, and since I’m down a day earlier than I had planned, I’ll have some time to unwind, shower, do laundry, and be ready for one last hurrah with her, Pouch, and Rewan at their farm before I fly out the next day.
The trail turned into an urban hike as it crossed the valley towards Mt. Greylock, and when I reached the pre-arranged meeting spot, to my delight, found multiple coolers filled with cold drinks and snacks. Wooza! I was so thristy, it was hot in the valley and this was unexpected. A woman stopped by to check on the cache and I met Renee (another Renee!) who trail angels in the area and helps replenish the coolers and takes hikers in occasionally too. She has so much excitement for the AT and hikers, it really was a wonderful bookend to the hike. This community, these people, this trail…it’s larger than life.
I love you Appalachian Trail, but it’s time to go home!