Greyhound and I slept on the floor in the living room – the others slept in a guest bedroom. We woke up early and started packing immediately. We both wanted to hit the trail as soon as possible. After we finished packing, I walked into the bedroom and bid my first of three final farewells to my three buddies – they were still in bed. Greyhound and I left just before 7:00am and started hiking towards the trail. Within a few minutes, a pickup pulled over and offered us a ride to the trailhead. Folks in CT are really nice!
We were back on the trail at 7:30 and enjoyed the flat terrain. We took a detour into Falls Village, CT in an attempt to grab breakfast, but the town diner was closed. While we were hiking back to the AT, we ran into Scuba – I’d met him before, Greyhound seemed to know him pretty well. He decided to stop by the library and we hiked on.
At 9:00am, we paused by the Housatonic River and had a snack. We started talking and enjoyed the sun, taking an extended break on a giant slab of rock just next to the river. Neither of us were ready to start hiking, but eventually got going again before noon.
We crossed a beautiful field and paused at the Giant’s Thumb at 1:30 for a quick break. Greyhound didn’t take advantage of our trip to town last night and needed to resupply – a resupply takes time and she wanted to get back to Lisa’s.
We decided to take (another) detour and walked into Salisbury, CT. After a few turn-arounds, we found the town grocery store. While she shopped, I took advantage of being in a proper grocery store and bought strawberries, sushi and a can of crab (I was feeling experimental). I ate the sushi outside on a bench while Greyhound organized her resupply.
We hiked out of town, passing through a graveyard (with a marked water source, crazy!). Right before we entered the woods, we came across Savage, Champa and McDoubles. While we were taking our extending break along the banks of the Housatonic, the three of them had time to pack, visit the doctor and presumably pass us without knowing it – farewell number two commenced. They left ahead of us.
At 4:30, we hit the 1,500 mile marker – man, I love these milestones. We talked about needing to hit our 20-mile average despite being ten miles away from doing so. We decided to press on, wanting to make it to the Massachusetts border. The trail got a little more rocky and steep as the day wore on, but we kept hiking north. We pretty much talked the whole time – it sure made the miles go by fast.
We reached the summit of Bear Mountain at 5:30, still a mile or so away from our MA goal. We were surprised to find Savage and Champa relaxing by a stone tower on the summit – McDoubles was just around the corner. I had a quick snack and climbed the stone “tower” (really just a rock pile) while Greyhound chatted with Savage and Champa.
The five of us decided to hike out together – it was understood that Savage, Champa and McDoubles would be stopping at the first legitimate campsite and Greyhound and I would be pressing on. We hiked on, thoroughly enjoying each other’s company. An hour later, Greyhound and I said goodbye (third and final farewell) at Sage’s Ravine Campsite before hiking on.
We decided to hike until dusk stopping two miles up trail at Laurel Ridge. We entered the campsite and ran into Ish, a hiker who I had met occasionally that, once again, Greyhound seemed to know well. It’s kind of nice hiking with Greyhound – she’s very good at introducing me to other hikers. And seeing as how I’m essentially alone for the first time since I started, that’s a good thing.
It’s not fair to say “I’m alone”. The three of us stayed up past sunset listening to music and having a good time while I cooked. I mixed the can of crab with a Rice Side spiked with Frank’s Hot Honey Garlic sauce. I thought it was gross, but Greyhound seemed to enjoy it. We went to sleep in our tents, eager to get an early start.
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I spoke with Black Santa today. He indeed stealth camped last night and is 40 miles behind – he’s looking forward to catching up.
I’m not expecting to see Savage, Champa or McDoubles again on this hike. It’s long been my plan to average 20-mile days after leaving Brooklyn. I’m really glad I stayed at Lisa’s and had the opportunity to say a proper goodbye. And I’m equally glad to have met Greyhound – we’re getting along really well.
On Greyhound’s trail name – she was given the name from her uncles. They’re in their early sixties and had long planned on thru-hiking the AT. Greyhound is a recent college graduate and decided to “tag along”. They gave her that name because she’s a very fast hiker. And it fits. She could leave me in the dust if she wanted to.