Wed, Aug 7
Caught in a downpour, but made it to Great Barrington
Woke before 6 in the shelter as the other dude there there was stirring and packing up before sunrise. I eat oatmeal, drink sugary chai plus coffee mix. The goal is to get up and over Mt Everett before the rain as it can be dangerous with steep slick rock. I hike up and over a few little mountains – Bear Mountain, Race Mountain, and others. A steep scramble off Bear. I meet a youngish woman with an accent smoking a cigarette at the base who seems freaked out by her descent from that mountain. Slow and steady through the humidity and bugs. Occasional views of clouds give way to occasional views of the hills and valleys below. Into and out of Sage’s Ravine, crossing from Connecticut into Massachusetts.
I summit Everett to find remnants of a fire tower at the peak. An ice water cache left by sweet trail angels in the parking area below. I fill my bottles. Then down the rocky and steep bit. Mostly dry, not that bad. I cross a road and raindrops begin to fall. I quickly don my poncho before the heavens open and water pours from the sky. The rain is so heavy it makes me laugh. Puddles are unavoidable and the water sometimes flows as a stream. I’m soaked from the knees down. Through the woods and fields and marshes. Mostly down and flat. The sun comes out before the rain stops, but it eventually does.
Poncho off. More marshes and fields. The mosquitoes are ravenous and they maliciously bite my hands and the back of my arms. It’s allegedly the “buggiest section of the AT”. Past a memorial to Shay’s Rebellion. Long last at Route 7. It’s a well populated area and I hitch a ride from a nice guy named Greg who drops me off at the brewery.
At the brewery I can’t resist the call of real food and succumb to the call of the chili dog and beer flight. I get to chatting with Woobie and Kodachrome who offer to let me sleep on the floor of their Travelodge hotel room, but Kodachrome says I can have a bed. Okay. It is pouring again and I’d rather not set up my tent at he community center right now. They seem harmless and I, probably shouldn’t but do, inherently trust hikers more than non-hikers. I shower (they give me privacy and vacate the room even though I don my wind gear immediately so I don’t have to exit the bathroom in a towel). My upper legs and butt are covered in pimples, or “folliculitis” from my persistently damp shorts. Damn humidity. Laundry. Chatting. Phone convos. Camelback Santa is texting me and trying to get me to meet him for a drink for saving his glasses not once, but twice, and offers to share his hotel room. I decline. He wants to split a shuttle in the morning. I decline. Woobie is meeting a fellow hiker for a beer at the brewery and invites me. I decline. I’m tired. I must sleep.