June 7, 2018
Destination: Upper Goose Pond Cabin Today's Miles: 14
Start Location: Mt Wilcox North Shelter Trip Miles: 1549.20
I woke up early today in my tent. It was another chilly morning, but it felt nice.
I ran out of bug spray so the cooler temperature helps keep the hordes of mosquitos away! I ate pop tarts, bellivita breakfast biscuits, and a Justin’s peanut butter packet for breakfast in my tent, and then packed it all up and headed out. It was foggy, so everything felt a little moist. Reboot was at the shelter last night, so he was right behind me. Sharkbait decided to push on and camped 4 miles north. He’s a beast!!! He said he saw a mother bear and two cubs there.
Last night as I uploaded my entry, another porcupine walked right across the trail in front of me. I took a picture of it, though it isn’t very good. Today the plan was to hike 20 miles or so to the October shelter. That would position me for a morning with the cookie lady, and then an afternoon in Dalton, and then escape from Dalton in time to camp at the first shelter out of the town. I want to utilized a free shower in town to clean up, as well as their cook laundry, and I need to resupply. It’s been a while since I got clean - I think 9 or 10 days ago - whenever I stayed at Mosey’s in New Jersey. Anyhoo, it doesn’t bother me that much to be nasty, honestly!
As I hiked today I saw a few deer and LOTS of chipmunks. I love them so much! I always call them Lucy as they remind me of my cat :-). They are all over the forest and trail, but today it felt like they were extra bold and curious about what I was doing. As I hiked along, I started thinking about the Upper Goose Pond Shelter. It was supposed to be a cabin on a pond that you could stay in, and some hikers last night told me they served pancakes for breakfast! Also, Guthook said they had canoes to paddle. It just seemed like a trail jewel that shouldn’t be missed. I finally decided I would go. This trip is supposed to be about not having a schedule and focusing on adventure, so that’s what I did! Also, my right quad was twinging on me a bit today. That has not happened before, so I figured it was better to have a short day and rest.
I got to the cabin after many ups and downs, some of which really slowed me down. The cabin was amazing! The caretaker, Pete, gave me the tour. The bunkhouse is on the second floor. There is a common area with books and games and a fireplace. There is a wash station, area to cook with our camp stoves, laundry line, canoes, a dock, bear box, etc. I would definitely say that out of all the cool shelters I’ve been to, this one is top of the list! I’m so glad I decided to stop and walk the half mile side trail to it.
I dried out my tent and went and made coffee and ate a bunch of chocolate by the lake. I watched the Lucys chase each other and sit on stumps, staring at me (and my food bag). I helped bring some water up from the pond for Pete, and then sat on the porch for a while and chatted with him. He had some extra food and said he didn’t want to carry it down the mountain, so he offered to cook me dinner! Pretty incredible! He made beef stew and corn on the cob. A section Hiker showed up and he was able to join for dinner as well.
This was really turning out to be quite the experience, and I’m really glad I stayed! After first dinner, section Hiker and I went down and got the rest of the jugs of spring water from the lake. I then went out back and made my own dinner. I was still hungry and it was in my meal plan.... Two section hikers from the shelter last night showed up, and then who walks in but Dude! If you remember, I had hiked with him and Happy Feet a bit back in NJ and NY, and then he hiked into NYC for his 21st birthday via the New York Long Path. Pretty amazing that he already caught up!
We all chatted for a while, but the sun gets low and goes down, and that sends all hikers to bed. I was grateful today that I didn’t let mileage “goals” get in the way of a wonderful experience. I was able to change my day’s plan, adapt, slow down and have an adventure. I was also very grateful for Pete’s hospitality, the food, and such a cool experience. This cabin really is amazing! Lastly, I was grateful that other hikers showed up. It was great to see and hear them enjoy the experience as well.
Tomorrow will be interesting. I will be hiking to the Cookie Lady before Dalton. I may make it into Dalton, but if the day is getting late I will probably stop a few miles before just because I have a lot of cleaning and shopping to do in town. Time for this cat to do the night’s long nap! Pancakes and coffee in the morning - I’m so excited!
#1 - thanks everyone for the kind words and support! I appreciate it :-). It means a lot to me that even strangers want to see me make it all the way - the hiking community and support network, which you are part of, is amazing!
#2 - Beaker, thanks for your note! I’m very excited about what is to come. I’m now a little nervous though as a section hiker today was telling me there is a very dangerous section of trail (perhaps on Moosilauke) that most people hike southbound. Ring any bells? Something about there being wooden blocks but you can fall and die.... Sounds like the climb out of Palmerton on crack times a million with a horde of porcupines chasing you. I hope it’s not really that crazy!
#3 - Koko! Hope your hike is going swimmingly! I dunno, I think there are just a lot of steeper ups and downs in CT and MA. The elevation profile on AWOL doesn’t look bad, and then I’m on the balls of my feet huffing up a steep slope. They are not super long, but it feels like there are a lot, and in CT there are some pretty technical descents that jar the knees and are slow going, especially if wet. It may be that I’m hungry and tired and when you get to it you’ll be thinking I’m crazy. I hope so anyway!