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View Full Version : Great Barrington to Killington - Section Hike Report (long)



jbwood5
08-05-2012, 21:04
2012 Hike from Great Barrington to Killington
note: it appears that the Trip Report Forum is no longer available so I am posting it in the General Section

Here is a trip report of my 2012 hike. I covered about 180+ miles in about 17 days through Massachusetts and Vermont. I suffered from a very annoying and often painful case of plantar fasciitis so my pace was about as slow as the slowest hiker on the trail. The weather was warm at times and the bugs occasionally a nuisance, but I had almost no rain during the entire hike. Below are the places I stayed and a few comments.

6/29/12 (pre-hike drama) I left the Tampa Bay area about 2:00 AM and arrived in the Shenandoah National Park, Loft Mountain campground about 6:30 PM. I intended to camp cowboy style since it was quite warm. Around 10:00 PM, a massive storm came up and flattened trees all around me. I grabbed my stuff and slept in the van that night. In the morning, there were damaged tents and campers with fallen trees all around the area. The Skyline Dr. was closed and I was trapped in the Park until noon on 6/30 while they cleared a single lane out to the Elkton exit (Hwy 33). Because of no power anywhere, I could not get gas until I got near the Interstate and the tank had been on E for 20 miles. I just made it out. I do not believe anyone was injured in the campsite, but there was some damaged vehicles and campers. I was lucky that night, but what a stressful experience.

7/1/12 I arrived in Great Barrington and arranged for long term parking. I grabbed a sub from Subway, got to the trail at Rt 7 and made it up to Tom Leonard shelter. The decline to get water near the shelter was pretty steep and it was warm and buggy that night. I used a headnet while I slept but still heard buzzing all night long. The area was fairly crowded with tenters that night. We had a little thunder but no rain. The porcupines have really eaten up the shelter floor. There was a new bear box there.

7/2/12 I hiked on toward the Wilcox shelters, but before I got there, I went for a brief swim to cool off in a beaver pond that had a trail leading to a small access point. There were still a few biting flies and I got a few bites. I got no leeches from the icky pond but didnít linger on the bottom either. I met the two Massachusetts Ridge runnerís while eating lunch at the N Wilcox shelter. I hiked on the Shaker campsite and set up on one of the tent platforms. When I went to get water at 5:30, I came across a bear cub with a mama nearby. The cub initially didnít see me and ran right up the trail right toward me. When the mama grunted, they both took off. It was very cool.

7/3/12 I hiked to the upper Goose Pond cabin and opted to tent on a platform instead of staying in the bunk room. I had the site with a brand new picnic table. Later that evening, I got invaded by about a dozen Girl Scouts, but they were really well behaved. The bear box was jammed full of kidsí snacks J. I swam in the pond and rinsed out my clothes. This is a very nice site with great caretakers. It rained in the night but was drying out by morning.

7/4/12 Packing up the wet tent was pretty easy with the tent platform and a picnic table. I hiked on to October Mountain Shelter and because of a throbbing foot, I thought I would just call it day very early. A nice guy came down from the tent site and began talking my ear off. He had just returned to the trail from treatment for Lymes disease and was very weak. Apparently he was taking a zero at the shelter to gain some strength, but he was a chain smoker and about to build a fire and burn his garbage. I opted to go on, knowing I would have to camp off the trail that night since I could not make Kay Wood shelter with my slow pace. I found some sites up on Warner Hill and had enough water to make it through the night. I found a tree to hang my food and got the tent dried off with the nice breeze blowing up over the bluff. I did find a tick crawling on me but was not too concerned because I had treated all my gear with permetherin and had Deet covering much of me. There were quite a few weeds and tall grass up on this hill.

7/5/12 I hiked on the Kay Wood Shelter and made a cup of coffee and breakfast. I chatted with hiker Josh for a few minutes. The water source was right next to the shelter so I chilled out and relaxed for a bit. Then I hiked on in to Dalton and promptly mailed home about 3 pounds of cold weather clothes that I knew I would not need. I ate a great lunch at Angelinas Sub shop and met up with Josh again. He was getting off the trail due to foot problems. I walked out of town and stopped early at Crystal Mountain campsite because it was a nice convenient site to camp and my foot was killing me. Once the sun went down, the temperatures were fairly pleasant and made for good sleeping weather.

7/6/12 I was up early and headed to Cheshire where I had a box waiting for me at the PO. The climb down from the Cobbles was pretty steep, but the area was beautiful. I got my box OK, but could not find a restaurant open at 9:30 in the morning. Dianesí Twist ice cream stand is out of business. I continued up to Rt 8 and went to the Shell station for an early lunch. I rested on the shady side of the building and drank a Poweraide and ate a pre-made sub. After a quick stop at Mark Noepel shelter for some great water, I headed up Mt Greylock and was able to get in the hiker bunk room at Bascom Lodge. The shower was great and it was nice to sleep on clean sheets and a real mattress. The restaurant was unaffordable for me so I just ate pack food out on the picnic table. I chatted with through hiker Ole Blue Eyes for a short time. The bunk room became full by dark and it was a little noisy that night.

7/7/12 The Lodge had hot coffee and hot water when I went downstairs at 6:00 AM, so I sat out on the porch with Ole Blue Eyes and made oatmeal and drank a couple of cups of coffee. The hike down from the summit was a bit rocky and steep. I stopped by Wilbur Clearing shelter to use the facility and saw the MA Ridge runner again. He was making another pass from N to S. As I went through the N Adams area, I met through hiker Jerm. She reported that her box did not show up at the PO even though it was mailed a couple of weeks ago. I limped on up to a nice brook before Sherman Brook Campsite and soaked in the water for a bit. When I got to the campsite I thought about staying on one of the tent platforms, but it was too early and a couple of drops of rain fell, giving me the incentive to move on. There was a steep .2 mi boulder climb a bit before the Vermont line, but once on the Long Trail, the hiking became easy. I made it on in to Seth Warner shelter and got one of the last decent campsites. The place was crowded.

7/8/12 I got an early start and hiked on the Congdon shelter where I had lunch and got water. Again, hiking the Long Trail in this area was easy, but the decline to VT 9 was pretty steep. The nice thing was the trail magic on the other side of the road left by Moose IIís parents. We were treated to a cold soda and a bag of chips in a nice shady area. I took a generous rest break here before starting the climb up the next mountain. I stayed at the Melville Nauheim shelter and tented near the back area. Again, the place was extremely crowded.

7/9/12 I hiked on up to the Goddard shelter where I had lunch and then went up the fire tower for some awesome views and cool refreshing air. I continued on to Story Spring Shelter where I tented. This was a rather long day for me as I clocked 17.4 miles on trail that was really pretty easy hiking.

7/10/12 I opted for a little shorter day and stayed at the Stratton Pond Shelter. I said hi to the caretaker and climbed the firetower before the shelter. I took a nice swim in the pond and rinsed my clothes out. It was a nice relaxing day. I tried to remember some of the people I met along the way. Sometimes I had a good conversation and other times just a friendly hi with these very nice people. Some were doing the LT and others were thru hikers on the AT. Some of the names I remember were:

Frenchy Stats
Josh Ole Blue Eyes
Milt Duffer
Dreamtime Tom & Huck (daughter and mother team)
Time Bomb Jerm
Robert E Lee Jester
Whit & Wandering Baked Beans

7/11/12 Today I hiked to Bromley Shelter and got one of the nice tent platforms that was pretty far away from the shelter. There were a lot of happy hikers at the shelter and it sounded like a big party going on down there. I believe there were a few card games being played. The water was a little bit of a hike, but still flowing and the nice dry weather held on.

7/12/12 I was up early and hiked up to the top of the mountain where the ski lift terminates. There were some awesome views, but I did not make it there in time to see the sunrise. I hiked on through the Griffith Lake tentsite area and across hundreds of planks and puncheons through some wet areas. There were some trail workers making improvements to the puncheons and they were mostly finished improving the walk system so I did not get my feet soaked. I got to Big Branch shelter about 4:00 PM and that was going to be my destination for the day, but the shelter was old and there were no established tentsites that I could find so I went another 3.3 miles to Lost Pond area where I paid $5 to tent on a nice platform and swim in the pond. There is also a nice shelter there. The extra mileage really put a hurt on my bad foot and the 17.8 mile day was not a good thing for me to do in retrospect. It really was nice to be able to rinse the clothes and cool off in the water.

7/13/12 I hiked down to road VT 140 and had a tough time trying to get a ride into Wallingford for my mail ahead box. I finally got picked up after walking down the road for about ľ mile. Normally I donít mind walking, but I was limping down the road and pretty desperate for a ride. I got my box and picked up a few supplies at the Family Dollar and General Store. Momís restaurant was closed for vacation but I got a great burger and fries at the Country store. I ended up paying a cab to get me back to the trail. There is just not much traffic on VT140. The usual shuttle person for the area was in Manchester Center and I did not have much hope for hitching. I was able to hike and limp another 3.6 miles to Minerva Hinchey shelter where I found a tent site. That evening, I walked with Whitney, Tom, and Jester to Spring Lake in hopes of going for a swim, but deputy dog security guard made sure we were not going to get wet in that private lake. We were very disappointed.

7/14/12 I got up very early and thought I smelled rain in the air. It was muggy hot and humid for so early in the morning. When I got to Clarendon Gorge, I stripped down and got full body in the water. It was 6:50 AM, so no one noticed me. The cold water felt so good. Shortly after that I hiked down to the Whistle Stop Restaurant and had an awesome breakfast. Most of the hikers from the shelter were already there. I chatted with Robt E Lee and Jester. Time Bomb was getting off the trail due to a bad knee. Back on the trail, we had a very tough climb up the mountain but soon it leveled off and I stopped at Clarendon shelter to soak my foot in the cold stream and towel off with cold water. I hiked on to Governor Clement Shelter and called it a day. I had a nice tent site and talked briefly to the Long Trail Ridge runner.

7/15/12 I began hiking before everyone else that morning, but the group slowly overtook me as I had to take many breaks. I dropped my pack at Cooper Lodge and hiked up to Killington Peak where I got a hot dog, Gatorade, and an ice cream cookie, all for the outrageous price of $11.00. It still tasted good. I made it to Churchill Scott Shelter later in the day and thought I would tent on the platform. I was warned about heavy rain moving in so I moved to the shelter just before the rain began. We had a heavy snorer in the shelter that night so I really didnít sleep too well. Iím a light sleeper. The rain stopped in the night but it only cooled off slightly.

7/16/12 I hiked to Maine junction (split of LT and AT) and then around to the Inn at Long Trail. I sat at a table with hiker Jester and Ron and Cynthia. I had an awesome Rueben sandwich and then Ron announced he was buying our lunches. Then he insisted we have desert. WowÖ what a treat. Then Ron and Cynthia took me to Rutland. That was the best trail magic I experienced the entire trip. What a way to end a hike. Later I met up with my wife who flew into Albany and we had a motel for the night. The next day we retrieved my vehicle in Great Barrington, and we vacationed the rest of the week doing a combination of tent camping and motels. We took our time heading back to Florida trying to stay in the cooler NE until it was time to make a beeline for the hot muggy Sunshine State. J

I now have about 460 miles to go to finish section hiking the AT.

Driver8
08-06-2012, 01:12
Nice trip report, JB. Hope your PF goes away soon. Sounds like you had a good time despite it.