9.6 miles, 1587.6 overall (MA 2, friend’s house)
In the morning I take my time leaving the shelter. I pack my tent and eat my breakfast while Instigator, Expeditor, and Scog all get underway. By the time I’m ready to leave around 7:30 Tipsy, Fetch, Broadsword, and Snakegirl are all up and moving. I say my goodbyes and head out up the rest of the mountain.
As I hike up the mountain the vegetation changes and I am surrounded by a sub-alpine environment with hemlocks, pines, and firs. It reminds me of Unaka Mountain way back in Tennessee because it smells like Christmas. I try to locate the trees that are the source of the Christmas smell but my nose isn’t good enough to isolate the smell to a particular tree. I continue up the mountain, figuring that if I get to the top fast enough that I’ll get a second breakfast at the lodge on top of the mountain. I figure that at the top of the mountain I’ll only have 6.3 miles left, so if I’m at the top by 9:00 I can squeeze in a breakfast and still be at the meeting point at 12 to meet my friend Jeanette. As it turns out I do make it to the top in time and I head into the lodge.
Inside I see Instigator, Expeditor, and Scog all sitting and eating already. I order an omelette with home fries and toast and sit down with them to sip some coffee while I wait for the food. We have some pleasant conversation while I wait, and I discover free wifi. I download some more audiobooks while my food arrives and I eat. Pretty soon I’m done and as I’m leaving I notice Brownie/Snakegirl eating on the other side of the room. I say a quick hi/bye to her and to Krispy Kreme/Broadsword who is waiting in the lobby. Apparently he doesn’t need a second breakfast.
On the way out I stop at the tower on top of Greylock. It was a foggy morning and I was worried that there wouldn’t be a view from the tower. However it appears the fog has lifted just enough while I ate breakfast and when I climb the stairs inside I am treated to great 360 views of the surrounding mountains. To the north are the Green Mountains of Vermont, my next destination.
I don’t stay in the tower long. I need to get down the mountain and the descent will be steep so I won’t make as good time as I might hope. On the way down I cruise, aided by the downhill slope and the lightness of my pack. I make great time except for a few places where it becomes so steep and rocky that I need to slow down to be safe. I pass Zil and Thunderstorm who stayed at a bunkhouse on top of Greylock last night. Zil is singing loudly something that I can’t quite make out. They allow me to pass and I leave them behind in no time. I stop briefly at a view and pause long enough to take it in. As I continue down I pass Jihad et al who are on their way up with slack packs. Apparently they stayed in Dalton yesterday and drank too much so they are struggling a bit. Bandaid and Laces aren’t far behind them, although I don’t find out how much they drank yesterday.
As I reach the bottom of the hill I have my phone turned on in case I get a phone call and I have the Find My Friends app running so I can be stalked. When I check my phone though I find a missed call just before 12. I am still about a half mile from the meeting point and figure Jeanette is there early. When I call though she is confused about where the parking lot is. I recommend she turn on the Find My Friends app on her phone so she can find me. She is having trouble downloading it, and I have to resort to trying to explain where I am despite being just out of the woods and on a road into a town that is foreign to me. It doesn’t work well.
I walk the half mile down a street and reach the road crossing where we are supposed to meet. Squidword, Fresh, Wonder, and Dora are all there. They just resupplied down the street and are taking their time getting moving again. I hang out with them while waiting for Jeanette to arrive. Eventually she is able to download the app and when she gets it running we discover she is 6 miles away from where I am. Apparently her directions took her to Phelps Road instead of Phelps Avenue. The confusion makes me thankful for modern technology and causes me to wonder how people were able to find each other when things like this happened 10 years ago on the trail. We obviously have it easier today in at least a few aspects.
A few minutes later the 6 miles have been covered and Jeanette arrives. I get to introduce her to the other hikers who still haven’t left yet and she is excited to meet the people she has been reading about. Then we leave, with the first priority being my lunch. We stop at a McDonald’s which is great because for some reason I have been craving it lately. Since we will be eating again soon I only get a Big Mac combo, large sized. An hour later we are back at her house. I get to see her husband Jeremy again and I quickly get started on getting myself clean. Laundry and shower commence, followed by some glorious sitting on their couch. For dinner we eat at a local brewery where I’m able to sample their oatmeal stout with a wonderful burrito and salad all made with fresh, local ingredients.
I’m excited to be here and get to spend time with some friends I haven’t seen in a while. They get a kick out of my beard since I’ve never had one before, as well as how much I am able to eat. I’m doubly excited about my double zero and the fact that I have nothing planned other than sitting around relaxing. However I am curious, as usual, who I will run into when I return in a few days to complete the last 600 miles on the Appalachian Trail.