AT from North Adams, MA to Salisbury, CT Backpacking Trip
Day 0- I spent the night at Tom's house and we set off in his vehicle. Made it to Kent, CT and stayed at small motel near Kent. We had fun negotiating the price of the motel with the owner. We only got 10 bucks off.
Day 1- We parked Tom's vehicle at the Kent, CT municpal building after getting permission. Tom had arranged for a shuttle to take us up to the Vermont/ Massachusetts border. We would start the hike there and do 7.1 miles to Wilbur Clearing Leanto. But the shuttle person and the 2 of us could not find where the AT crossed the road where we wanted to start. We wasted at least 2 hours trying to find it. So we gave up and had the shuttle driver drop us off in North Adams, MA where the AT crosses MA2. Then it was only 3 miles to the shelter, which was a big up. We tented on a tent platform since there were freshmen from Williams College having an orientation exercise and using the shelter. We would see this at least 2 more times with freshmen from different schools on this trip. They were very friendly and gave us some of their food.
Day 2- We did the tough climb up Mount Greylock. At the top there was a great view and a monument that you could climb to the top of. The Greylock Lodge nearby was closed for renovations. So we started the big down and made it to Mark Noepel Shelter. 6.6 miles hiked today. This shelter was named after a Shenandoah National Park, VA ranger who was killed by poachers within that park.
Day 3- It was all downhill and only 4.4 miles to Cheshire, MA. We stopped at an ice cream stand. While there I tried calling the Harbour House B&B to see if they had availability. No one answered. So we left Cheshire and were about to start climbing a mountain called The Cobbles. Then the B&B owner returned my call. What should we do? Walk back the 2 plus miles to the B&B to sleep in comfort or hike another 4 miles south to the Crystal Mountain Campsite? The weather was calling for heavy rain that night. So we walked back to the B&B. The owner was very nice. We tried ordering a pizza from a local business for dinner but their phone was disconnected. What do we do now? I told the proprietress about our situation. And she offered to let us take her fairly new Subaru Forester to a seafood place in Dalton. That was very nice and very trusting of her. I told her that I had owned a Subaru Forester, I knew how to drive one and would take good care of hers. We had a great meal that night, made it back safely to the B&B and were awakened by the strong thunder storms while confortable and dry indoors.
Day 4- The next morning Tom suggested that we skip ahead because he didn't think that we would make our miles in the alloted time. So he asked the B&B owner if she could drop us off in Dalton, about 9.5 miles south. She did and we again set off on the AT southbound. We made up this missed section on our Kent to Salisbury, CT Backpacking Trip the following year. I remember it being an all day up. It was and we made in to October Mountain LeanTo 11.8 miles later. We shared the shelter with a large group. I think that they were scouts. They had a super long tarp that they stretched out and it was where they slept under that night. They were very well behaved.
Day 5- We had some ups and downs or blips as I call them that day. We made it to the I90 MASS TPKE by mid afternoon. There was an old motel right after the AT bridge crossing that we wanted to stay at. However, no one appeared to be home there. So we consulted the maps and discovered that it was only 1.6 more miles to Upper Goose Pond Cabin. So we trudged off to it. Total for today was 8.8 miles. This place was neat. All supplies were brought in by canoe by a caretaker. He had beer and snacks. We also encounered freshmen orienteering groups from Dartmouth and Yale at this place. There were bunks that we slept in that night.
Day 6- We had blueberry pancakes the next morning at Upper Goose Pond Cabin. Hhhmm, good! We left a donation for the great food that we got and set off southbound again. I don't remember the terrain that day but we made it to Tyringham, MA and stayed at the Cobble View B &B. The owners were nice. There were only about 5 buildings in Tyringham. One of them was the post office where we got our mail drops. We hiked 7 miles that day.
Day 7-The next morning a strange thing happened. The proprietress overslept. We waited about an hour for our breakfast but she didn't show. As we were about to leave she appeared, somewhat sleepy and appologized. She whipped us up a quick breakfast and we were again on our way. We passed the Shaker Campsite, which was an open area next to a stream, and then did a big up and passed the North and South Wilcox shelters. It started raining like crazy during this time so we ducked into one of them until the rain died down. Then we started a big down. Tom got ahead of me. I ate my dinner at Benedict Pond. After I crossed MA23 it started raining again. So I pitched my tent beside the trail and called it a day. I called Tom on the cell phone. He also had pitched a tent between MA23 and Tom Leonard Shelter. I told him that I would meet him at the shelter the next morning. We hiked about 14 miles that day.
Day 8- The next morning I ascended the mountain to Tom Leonard Shelter to catch up to Tom. I tried filtering some water from a stream on the way up but my filter jammed. So I had to dip my Nalgene bottle into the stream and take a chance. There were many slippery rocks on the way up the mountain because of the previous nights rain. So I was spewing some firey epitats on the way to the shelter. I was not in a good mood. I think that Tom sensed this and suggested that we take a zero day today. I sort of wanted to push on but taking a break seemed like a good idea. So we spent the day exploring the nearby 'Ice Gulch', went through our gear, repacked or packs, ate and just chilled. I have to admit that it was nice and I was ready and recharged.
Day 9- So the next morning we left, did some ridging, dropped down to the Housatonic River, walked through some fields, passed a north bound thru hiker (I wonder if he made it to Katahdin?), passed the Shay's Rebellion marker and made it to South Egremont, MA. We hiked 10 miles that day. We stayed at the South Egremont Inn. It was an old, historic hotel in South Egremont. Our room was on the third or forth floor and had wooden floors, walls and ceilings. What got my attention was a rope fire ladder that was sitting next to the window. I kept thinking that I hoped we didn't have a fire here tonight. Thank God, we didn't. But, 6 months, after we did this hike, I read online that the South Egremont Inn had burned down to the ground. That bit of news made me sad that day.
Day 10- We crossed MA41 and started southbound again. We did a big up, then did some ridging. We passed the Hemlocks Shelter, which was neat (I think that there was another shelter next to it that is no longer there), went over Everett Mountain, which was tough, then climbed and ridged along Race Mountain. Here I got some nice pictures. Thankfully, I still have these. We then passed by Sages Ravine, which is the MA-CT border. Tom got ahead of me again and I was not sure which shelter that we would be stopping at that night. Tom stopped at the Brassie Brook Shelter. I entered the shelter area but did not see Tom. I called for him but he did not answer. I remember the signage as being very confusing in this area. Since I did not see or hear Tom I got back on the AT and started hiking south again. It was late afternoon. I passed a campsite. Tom wasn't there. I kept walking. It was getting dark. So I turned into the Riga Shelter and got ready for the night there. I called Tom on the cell phone (the cell service in MA and CT was pretty good on this trip). He was back at the Brassie Brook Shelter. He said that he was probably filtering water when I entered the shelter area and that was why I did not see or hear him. We agreed to meet the next morning at the Riga Shelter side trail and AT intersection. We had hiked 14 miles that day.
Day 11- The Riga Shelter is one of the few on the AT that has an eastward view that gave me a fantastic sunrise. I took a picture from my cell phone. Wow. Tom and I met at the trail intersection, then did the final 3 miles to Salisbury, CT and stayed at the home of Maria McCabe. Maria is a widow who takes hikers into her home and charges a fair price to stay there. We would be seeing her 2 more times within the next year as we did the Kent to Salisbury segment and made up the missed section between Dalton and Cheshire. Very nice lady.
Day 12- So I'm not sure about this but I believe that Maria shuttled us back to Kent to get Tom's vehicle. We then drove back to Crofton, MD where my vehicle was. Then I drove home. This was a tough but enjoyable hike. However, I would discover that they would get tougher as I hiked further north along the AT.
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