Twig Adventures

AT Day 36: Great Barrington

Sunday August 29th, 2021, 0600-1030
South Mt Wilcox Shelter to RT 7, SOBO AT mm 669.2
11.7 miles
2195 gain, 3327 loss

I slept great in the shelter. There’s nothing better than the white noise of rain striking the roof of a hut or shelter. I was visited by a few mosquitoes and a mouse, but they weren’t too much of a bother. It was nice having Yerbe Matte while watching the light grow in the morning…very cozy. There was a chill to the air so I put on my puffy. I didn’t have to worry about waking anyone too early, as Picky was also up getting ready.

Starting at 6 am now means struggling to see for ten minutes or so on the trail. I hate when the days start to get this short. It was also very foggy. These dense forests always seem a bit gloomy, as such. Quickly we came to a spot where we’d been warned about ground hornets…several hikers had been stung up to 6 times the day before. We skirted the area and had no problem. I’ve actually never been stung while hiking, so I guess I’ve been lucky. It’s a record I’m kind of proud of and trying hard to preserve. I’d like to think that I’m on good terms with stinging insects, as I’ve even gone out to my way before to rescue bees.

Chicken of the Woods, a popular edible fungi

There wasn’t much to say about the 12 miles we hiked to get to the road to town. The miles went by quickly because my mind was on a hot shower and food. Towns make it hard to enjoy the trail sometimes but we did stop at a few overlooks to see if there were any views…there weren’t because it was still very cloudy. There were some steep but tiny ups and downs and then a nice short bit of road walking after we descended to the river valley. The trail dove off into the grass but I stayed on the parallel road because I didn’t want to stir up the mosquitoes that were reported to be the worst in this section. I actually put on my rain jacket when we had to walk along the river for about a mile. I laughed as the mossies tried to bite me through it because they just can’t. They nailed the backs of my legs no matter how fast I walked, so I had to use some spray.

We got to the road in good time and even had options for getting to town. We had just met a section hiked that had a shuttle ride coming in 15 minutes. Or we could try to hitch while we waited. Of course I stuck out my thumb and had a ride in 5 minutes. The lady even turned around to get us, and she was on her way to work. She dropped us off at the Days Inn where Picky had a reservation. Stellar had also finally caught up and so we would all split the room. He was getting in at noon and his niece was coming from Boston to have lunch. We were all invited.

I had enough time to take a shower and then put my stinky clothes back on. Kelley and her boyfriend picked us up and went to a brewery. The seating was thankfully outside and I was entertained by all the dogs joining their owners for lunch. I had a big plate of BBQ beef brisket with mac and cheese, along with a stout. Mmmm. Kelly and Nick insisted on paying for lunch, so this was a real treat. Thanks so much to them!

The rest of the day involved chores and catching up with Stellar. I suppose we’ll hike together for a bit. He made up 3 days on me: 1 in the first week, 1 when I took a zero, and 1 in this last week, so I don’t see how I can keep up with him going forward. He’d been going so fast to align with visiting family schedules, like his niece. But he can still hike much faster it seems and I don’t want to hold him up. Even so, it’s been nice having someone else to hike with.

A comparison of our shoes: besides the size difference, mine had over 270 more miles on them, having started from Katahdin. Stellar’s had covered the distance from Gorham and he’d be replacing them in 60 miles. I still had no plan to replace mine.

We went out on the town for dinner, checking out the ritzy store fronts. The town sits in the heart of the Berkshires, attracting a rather affluent crowd. I saw several Lamborghinis parked and driving by. I was wearing my sink-washed clothes, still a bit damp but smelling better. We had thai food and were going to get ice cream but were too stuffed. We would all get back on trail in the morning.

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