Kay Wood Shelter, Mass., AT NOBO mile 1,562.2, Monday May 26, 2014 — The trail is full of treats. New Jersey had its delis, Upper Goose Pond had its pancake breakfast and hot coffee this morning, and today we met the Cookie Lady.
The Cookie Lady lives less than 100 yards off the trail and has been baking free cookies for hikers for decades. Nearly all the hiker biographies mention her warm welcome, free water and opportunity to buy a coke or an ice cream bar.
Tomorrow the town of Dalton features Tom Lavarty who has been welcoming hikers to tent in his yard for free.
These are true trail angels, people who give of themselves to make the trail a special place. Without them, this hike would not be such a special experience.
Today’s weather was sunny and pleasant. The trail was nearly flat and rock free. The forest was verdant and inviting. It almost sounds like a prayer, but that’s the way it was.
We broke for lunch at October Mountain Shelter with Dennis, a section hiker from Florida. Life was good.
The Hemlocks Shelter, Mass., AT NOBO mile 1509.1, Friday May 23, 2014 — The best thing that happened today was crossing into Massachusetts. Everything else was wet.
We met two women of a certain age at the shelter last night. They were up and moving at 0430 which is really early. Later when we passed them on the trail we realized why. They were slow, really slow, but at least they were out here.
The rest of the day was marked by slick wet rock. Toward the end we has two steep climbs in Mts Race and Everett. The climb up Everette was especially brutal – vertical slab rock most of the way.
Both Swayed and I practiced our John Wayne bite the dust impressions several times. It was slow going. We’d planned to reach this shelter by 5 pm. Instead we showed up at 7:30 pm.
I sent my rain jacket and gaiters to Hanover, NH from Kent. I received substitutes, but guess what? They aren’t good enough. Live and learn, yes. Add a week’s worth of rain to the mix and I will learn a hard lesson. My sleeping gear, sans Sleeping bag is working just fine.