Nearing the End

As a disclaimer for those who haven’t read the travel journals of Traveler (aka Jack Dickens) from the beginning, He is a friend of mine from Georgia through-hiking the Appalachian trail northbound. We’re nearing the end and as I have a little down time (appendicitis and all), I’m catching us up.

June 24, 2008  MA23 near Great Barrington, MA to Upper Goose Pond Cabin, MA (19.1 miles)

No rain today, but the trail was wet and muddy in many areas. There were two 1,000 foot climbs today along with lost of big, slick rocks. I’ve really been in mosquito country the last few days. I don’t think I could have continued without DEET to keep them off of me. The shelter tonight is actually an old lake home similar to those on Lake Rabun many years ago.  It has a gas stove in the kitchen and bunks with comfortable mattresses so it is nice compared to the usual AT shelter.

June 25, 2008 Upper Goose Pond Cabin, MA to Kay Wood Lean-To (17.7 miles)

No rain again today, but the trail was very muddy in long stretches. The day began well with Nancy, the caretaker at Upper Goose Pond Cabin, making the hikers a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and coffee!  It was so good!  The day’s highlight was meeting Roy and Marilyn Wiley, the “Cookie Man” and “Cookie Lady”.  Marilyn has been baking cookies and giving them to hikers for about 20 years. I visited with them and enjoyed some home made chocolate chip cookies before hiking on. I’m in shelter tonight with “The Unknown Hiker” who was formerly a Houston, TX, policeman. I plan a short day tomorrow and will probably stay in Dalton, MA for the night.

June 26, 2008 Kay Wood Lean-To to Dalton, MA (3.0 miles)   

I’m at the Shamrock Village Inn tonight. I had dinner with 6 other thru-hikers who are staying at a local house provided by “Rob” for hikers. The house has all amenities (TV, washer, dryer, bunks, etc) and is free. I’m going to slack pack from 14-22 miles north of here back to “Rob’s” tomorrow and will be there tomorrow night. I continue to be amazed at the “Trail Magic” which “Trail Angels” provide for hikers. I hope I can repay some of this by helping future hikers when I’ve completed my thru-hike.

June 27, 2008 MA 2 in North Adams, MA to Cheshire, MA (14.0 miles)

I shuttled north and slack packed south with Climber, a lady librarian from Boiling, Springs NC  We climbed up, over, and down Mount Greylock, the highest summit in MA at 3491 feet above sea level. We got a late start (10:00) so could not hike the remaining 9-10 miles back to Dalton.  Rob not only shuttled us out to start the hike, but picked us up in MA, 6:00pm. It was great to get a shower and dinner off the trail. I’m bunking at Rob’s tonight along with 6 other hikers.

June 28, 2008 MA, Dalton, MA (9.3 miles)

I slack packed south again today. It’s always fun to meet my northbound friends and swap stories. (Robert Bird has been a fantastic host. Six hikers left this morning and six more showed up this evening. He welcomes all of them into his home. I just heard that Handyman is off the trail for at least a few weeks with a broken toe and several hikers have developed Lyme Disease 
(transmitted by ticks) and had to leave the trail. Please continue to pray for my health, safety, strength, and perseverance. Tomorrow I’ll hike north out of MA, my 11th state, and into VT.  Today is my 63rd birthday. I feel so fortunate to be having this adventure at this time in my life.
Traveler

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