I was recently able to get away for some backpacking of my own. After a parasite knocked me off the Appalachian Trail in 2005, I've been piecing it together whenever I can. I finished off Massachusetts on this trip and linked up with the Vermont section I had already completed.
(Mt Greylock on the horizon)
The weather was pushing 100 degrees each day but fortunately Winter snow meant the streams were flowing well so staying hydrated was only an issue of scooping up some water and breaking out the SteriPen. My favorite day was day 3 where I had the pleasure of enjoying a nice cooling breeze while taking in the views from the Cobbles which included the town I would soon walk through, Chesire, MA.
The trail passes right in front of Diane's Twist so I stopped in for a made to order sandwich which I enjoyed while sitting at a picnic table under the shade of several trees alongside a rails to trails bike path. I then indulged in some ice cream, topped off my water and hit the trail. I had to catch a 4pm bus in Williamstown the next day, and the heat was definitely slowing me down so I decided to hike on to the summit of Mt Greylock in order to cut the distance for the next day and was able to snag a bunk at the Bascom Lodge.
It was pretty surreal to hike to the top of a mountain and find a full service restaurant and lodge but I definitely enjoyed myself. I arrived just after dinner was served so instead I entertained those who had driven up by preparing Mountain House Lasagna with my MicroRocket stove. Apparently it was dinner and a show as I was reminded of nature's beauty as I marveled at a sunset thunderstorm.
(Thunderstorm viewed from Mt Greylock)
For $35 I was given a bunk for the night with clean sheets, blanket, and pillow, as well as a towel and soap. Not exactly roughing it but I did hike up there. Being able to take a shower at the end of the day sort of reminded me of Partnership Shelter in Virginia. "Hiker Midnight" is not observed as most people simply drive here but I was still surprised to be the only one up before 7 am. I decided to wait for breakfast which is served at 8 am before hitting the trail. For $7 I enjoyed a fantastic plate of Eggs Benedict, freshly baked muffins, and coffee! It was like brunch in Park Slope but with better scenery. Mt Greylock is not only the highest peak in Massachusetts (3491 feet), but also features the state's Veteran's Memorial. As a veteran myself I was pleased to see such a beautiful spot dedicated to the sacrifice of those who served in the military. Mt Greylock is also said to have reminded Herman Melville of a whale breaching the water's surface as the author labored to complete his classic novel Moby Dick in nearby Pittsfield, MA.
(Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower)
After breakfast it was time to head into Williamstown, MA. This section is basically downhill continuously and definitely wears on your knees. Trekking poles are highly recommended!
There's a bit of a road walk as you pass through town.
Soon you reach a driveway that leads not to a garage but Vermont as you continue on the Appalachian Trail.
This meant the end of my hike so I headed into Williamstown, grabbed some pizza along the way, and was even able to take a quick shower at the Williams Inn for $7 (towel and use of pool, sauna, and shower) before boarding the bus for the trip back to Brooklyn. Hope everyone is getting out on the trail this summer and I can't wait for my next trip!