Today was supposed to be a quick 15.5 mile hike into Great Barrington for a nero, arriving at 14:30. It didn’t work out that way due to a couple of early Massachusetts mountains named Race and Everett.
I slept in this morning until 7:00. We all packed, ate, and left at 7:45. Somewhere on the way down Bear Mountain we crossed the state line from CT to MA. There is still old state line signage half mile ahead at a creek crossing where I took a selfie.
After fording the swollen creek in our bare feet, we started climbing 900 feet to the top of Mount Race. I fell behind and had a bad headache from the sun. Near the summit, I took a break for water, food, and Aleve then faced having to climb Mount Everett. The headache waned as I descended the back side of the mountain.
I arrived at the Guilder Pond picnic area and found Tandem and Jukebox relaxing on the grass against their packs trying to nap. I told them that I was there and then set to eating quietly. There were about 30 gallons of fresh potable water on the picnic tables in five-gallon jugs all tied together with a very long bike chain lock. The jugs had just been iced by a trail angel.
Once my lunch and their napping was completed, we packed up for what was a mostly downhill, 8.4 mile hike to US 7 for access to Great Barrington. I was behind the others by as much as a mile on this leg. The issues I had dropping down the very steep Jug End were made up for by another trail angel cooler with Big L sodas in it. I had Cheetos and an orange soda.
Then came the flat run of 4.4 miles to our intended hitch-hiking spot on US 7 at Sheffield Egremont Road, where there was a monument to commemorate Shays Rebellion in 1787.
I quickly crossed many acres of farmland and was moving parallel to a doe to my right for several yards. It was cool! What was not cool was the section of woods where hundreds of mosquitos were attacking my arms and legs like crazy. It made me run, which was a good test of my new trail shoes. During the last field crossing I flushed out a Hawk that circled above my head until I entered the woods again.
At US 7, I turned left toward Great Barrington and caught up with Tandem and Jukebox at an antique shop. I bought a Coke, and we started seeking a hitch for the four mile ride. Tandem pulled in a fancy Mercedes sedan from New York. The driver, an older gentleman with a great calming voice, took us as far as downtown where he was picking up friends in front of a cheese shop. He scraped his lower fender on the curb when he u-turned and parked at the store. His friends were surprised to see us as we got out and thanked him. We crossed the road to hitch the last two miles to the Travel Lodge hotel. We lucked out again and a teenager named Connor took us the rest of the way.
We got room 105, unloaded, and Jukebox and I went for a swim in the hotel pool while Tandem showered and rested. Around 18:00 we went to the Big K-Mart, but their food selection, sizes, and prices were just not right for restocking trail food. So, we went to the Price Chopper in the same shopping center and bought our trail food and dinner there.
After dinner, I found a couple of Geocaches in the same shopping center. One was creatively hidden using a fishing string to hang the bison tube inside the plastic walls of the shopping cart corral. I returned to the room to find sleepy roommates. They dozed off by 23:00 and I wrote two days’ worth of blog updates until 2:30.