Day 116 – Sunday, July 3: Stealth Camp to Stealth Camp (City Stream), 17.6 miles, 1,610.6 total AT miles.

I woke at 6:30 to the sound of people hiking and jogging near me. I immediately started packing up. While I did, I heard a voice from outside my tent tell me that I was camping in a no-camping zone. What the heck? I looked up and saw it wasn’t a park ranger like I thought, but a nosy guy walking his dog. I told him I made camp in the dark – plus, that it soon wouldn’t matter, that I was actively packing up. He walked away and Greyhound and I immediately broke camp.

But we didn’t leave. There wasn’t a sign that said I couldn’t make breakfast. Plus, the Vermont border lay only four miles ahead – I wanted to enjoy my entry into the final three states. I made scrambled eggs with peppers and onions and we ate them with tortillas. Very filling.

As we readied ourselves to leave, we noticed we were kind of close to a few homes. We made a hasty exit.

(Fun Fact – We did come across a sign that said “No Camping”. It was about 100 yards north of us.)

We briefly followed an ancient stream before beginning our ascent into the mountains of Vermont. The climbing was a little challenging. I felt like I was back in Georgia – after ascending Greylock yesterday, the mountains have returned.


At 11:00am, we crossed into Vermont and were greeted with introduction to the Vermont Long Trail. It runs concurrent with the AT for many miles before heading north to Canada where the AT splits east towards New Hampshire.


We met a pair of hikers – a father and son. He hiked his son in from the trailhead to the Vermont state line to begin his post-high school trek of the Vermont Long Trail just as his father had done for him. It was quite touching.

Having taken our state-line photos, we hiked north. The trail was rocky and beginning to get difficult. I was still wearing my old Merrell trail runners (the ones I had shipped to me a few hundred miles ago). They were looking pretty bad – I just couldn’t gain traction anymore on rocky ascents. I was due for new shoes soon.

We climbed quickly and efficiently, stopping at a pond for a quick snack at 4:00pm – we had only covered 12 miles on the day. I felt bad, but sucked it up and pressed on. We crossed another ferny break in the woods before finally descending towards VT 9 – spilling out onto the trailhead at 6:30. That descent was no joke!



We wanted to catch a hitch into Bennington, VT to buy frozen sausages for the 4th of July – we figured what better way to celebrate the 4th than with a “freshly”-prepared, All-American meal. Sausages. Unfortunately, the trailhead wasn’t cooperating. We miraculously caught a hitch at 6:30 from an elderly couple heading towards town. The gentleman hiked the AT in the late 80’s and early 90’s – after his retirement. The elderly thru-hiker and his wife were the sweetest couple. We walked into the Wal-Mart at 7:00pm, starting to get concerned about making it back to the trailhead before dark.

Greyhound found marshmallows, I bought sausage and a Wal-Mart boy’s swim suit to replace my worn-out Wal-Mart boy’s gym shorts. We quickly exited and tried our best to get a hitch – no dice. I had spotty cell service and kept trying to call the town taxi for a lift. After one failed connection, we finally got confirmation he’d pick us up. We definitely weren’t getting back to the trail before dark.

As we were waiting, a visibly-intoxicated woman kept trying to give us a ride. It was getting dark when our taxi (thankfully) arrived. The taxi dropped us off at the trailhead – we immediately entered the park and found a tent site next to the river. We cooked quick dinners, and enjoyed a few stove-toasted marshmallows before turning in for the night.

Day 115 – Saturday, July 2: Dalton, MA to Stealth Camp, 24.3 miles, 1,593.0 total AT miles.

I woke early and started packing up – my gear was strewn about the room. I walked outside and stepped into a puddle. My suspicions were confirmed – it did rain last night. I thought I heard storms rumbling while I slept. The rain brought a chill to the air. I returned to the hotel room and finished packing. We left by 8:00am.

Nine miles ahead lay Cheshire, MA – I sent a bounce box there from Cornwall Bridge, CT. It contained the makings for a fairly decent resupply. We made great time, reaching Gore Pond five miles up trail by 10:00am. Despite the overnight thunderstorms, the trail was in great condition.


I scared a small snake off the trail and powered on. Greyhound and I rolled into Cheshire at 11:30 – I went straight to the post office and grabbed my bounce box. After Greyhound got her ice cream fix in the form of scoops and a milkshake, we stopped at a gas station and decided to buy a few items for lunch. I still needed snacks – my bounce box was dinner-heavy.


Ever since I stopped making hot lunches (sometime in the Shenandoahs, I think), I’ve been consistently running out of snacks. I can’t seem to buy enough – crackers, cereal bars, fruit snacks, dried fruit, granola bars, beef jerky. Snacks are always the first thing to go.

I got a few days’ worth of snacks from the aisles and joined Greyhound outside to have lunch. I bought a bag of Doritos in hopes I could make little tuna sandwiches, thereby getting rid of some of the excess weight I’ve been carrying around in my dinner bag. Even with the help of Doritos, I couldn’t stomach the taste of tuna anymore.

I searched through my dinner bag (now full of all the items in my bounce box) and realized I was carrying around eight tuna packets that I knew I was never going to eat. Greyhound took two, probably out of pity or thriftiness, I couldn’t tell. I ended up giving the tuna to a nice lady in the parking lot who said she would feed them to her cat.

At noon, we left Cheshire and began the eight-mile ascent of Mount Greylock, the highest peak in MA. This popular trail was exceedingly well-graded and Greyhound and I hiked at a good clip. I passed through beautiful fields before gradually ascending the peak.


We summited Greylock at 4:00pm and immediately made our way over to visitor’s center. We weren’t interested in the cafeteria – our food bags were full. We went straight for the ice cream and ate snacks outside. We both had to bundle up – here it is July and it’s in the 50s. The tower was being renovated so we decided to press on. Seven miles ahead lay Williamstown, MA. If we hurried, we could get to town and buy enough snacks to finally fill our food bags.


We entered town at 8:30 – right at sunset. We dive into the nearest grocery store to purchase snacks – I also bought an onion, pepper and some eggs for tomorrow morning. By the time we made it back to the AT, it was dark. We decided to stealth camp at the first spot we came across – and Greyhound found one about half a mile away from town.


We made camp and quickly cooked dinner. I used some of the pepper and onions in a Rice Side. Today was another busy day. I fell fast asleep.

* * *

I spoke with Savage today. They’re planning on staying on Greylock for the fourth of July. It’s crazy to think they’re already behind. Black Santa is making progress – he’s been matching our pace and often besting it by a few miles each day. I’m certain he’ll catch up soon.

Day 114 – Friday, July 1: Upper Goose Pond Cabin to Dalton, MA, 20.6 miles, 1,568.7 total AT miles.

We woke early and packed quickly. One benefit to tenting at the Upper Goose Pond Cabin is that the volunteer caretaker makes fresh pancakes every morning. I walked down the trail from the campsite with a bag of dried cherries in hand. I asked if the caretaker would mix the cherries in a fresh batch of pancakes – she could use them all, I just wanted a few for Greyhound and myself.

I returned to camp and finished packing up. About 20 minutes later, Greyhound and I returned to the cabin, backpacks in tow, and enjoyed a pile of cherry pancakes and a few cups of coffee. We chatted with other hikers, many of the same faces we’ve been seeing the past couple of days.

Today was going to be a good day – the terrain was relatively flat and I was ready to move. We started hiking north at 7:30.

After a quick descent into the valley below, we crossed US 20 and actually walked across a footbridge solely designed for AT hikers – it was kind of cool. Shortly after that, we officially entered The Berkshires. I didn’t realize it until I ran across a sign fit for a ritzy neighborhood. We hiked on, making great time on the easy terrain.

At 11:00am, having hiked 11 miles on the day, we arrived at Washington Mtn. Rd. and Greyhound immediately insisted we make a quick detour. We made the short trek down the road and found ourselves at the “Cookie Lady’s” house.

(Note: Greyhound is a trail researcher. While I’m busy figuring out which town to stay in, she’s busy updating me of things I’m missing while actually hiking. Had it not been for her, I would have bypassed the Cookie Lady’s house without a thought.)

We strolled up to the front porch and were dismayed to find that the Cookie Lady wasn’t home. We both signed her register and enjoyed a quick lunch on the grass in the front lawn. By noon, the Cookie Lady still had not arrived home and we decided to hike on. It was a little disappointing, but I’m certainly glad I had the opportunity to lunch in such a nice spot.

I let Greyhound take the lead. I noticed I had cell service and saw that thunderstorms were moving in – the darkening skies certainly seemed to show the forecast was going to be accurate. Despite this, our only plans were to make it the nine miles to Dalton, MA. Apparently, Greyhound has a thing for ice cream. She had her eyes set on a local ice cream shop – I was hoping to make it there before the rain hit.


I took the time alone to make some phone calls. I hadn’t been updating the website and needed to explain why. The truth is I simply was having more fun not writing than I was having while I was writing. It generally takes about an hour or more at the end of each day to update the website – I was enjoying hiking late into the night, going into town. It was a relief to be away from the office.

The trail into Dalton was a breeze – we crossed through beautiful fields of ferns and hiked on some really well-graded trail.


We arrived in Dalton at 4:30pm. Greyhound got her sundae (and milkshake). While we were walking through town, the rain really started to come down. We took shelter under an awning and I looked through the AT Guide for a cheap hotel or hostel.

Turns out, the place just next door was the cheapest in town. We booked a room and threw our packs inside. It felt like a long day. We browsed the menus and decided to order Chinese – I ordered way too much. After a long shower, I fell asleep watching baseball.