I decided to go north and get my feet wet in Massachusetts. I had ended my Northbound hiking at the CT-MA border some time ago on a hike with my HS buddies, John and Gates. I will never forget that last morning at the Riga Shelter.
Stunning! Still ranks as the best sunrise ever for me on the AT.
Two days ago, I started my overnight hike into Massachusetts. Seems innocuous enough, right?
Well. I started up the Undermountain Trail and turned right to continue on the Paradise Lane Trail, the one we finished on, after passing Bear Mountain on that walk with my buddies.
I had forgotten how long and down Paradise Lane was! Which meant LONG AND UP for me now!
It was 3+ miles up, before I reached the AT!
I cursed my bad memory all the way up.
Oh well, I only had 6.8 miles to hike to the Shelter. No big deal. Ha. I didn’t give Mt. Race and Mt. Everett the respect they deserved!
I reached the trail and headed North. Soon I reached Sages Ravine. Wow. I meandered down this cool and shaded gem of a section.
I soon realized that still photography would not do it justice.
One day I will revisit Sages for a swim in one of those pools!
Across the border and into Massachusetts! That’s when things got interesting.
Up I went.
Climbing Mt Race along a ridge with a long sheer drop off.
Time for my standard reach for the sky photo:
Again, a video seemed appropriate:
Looked worse than it was!
While climbing the very rocky and steep ascent up Mt Everett, I was passed by Laura and Heather. They paused for a chat. Lifted my sagging spirits! Laura was in her element. You could sense it. “They said this was tough! White Mountains tough? I don’t think so!” She was eating it up. I was swearing and talking to myself. 😳 Heather was calm and reassuring. I needed that, too. Like I said. I was not saying nice things to my legs.
They pumped me up. I needed the lift. It was a long day for me. One of my toughest 9 miles, ever. 3 steep ups. It felt really good to be over the top!
Laura urged me to camp between the shelters. Called it “Magical” there. She was right! The place looked like Ewok habitat!
Heather was the best fire starter I have ever come across. She used only what was laying about. Whoosh! Up went a magnificent campfire! Amazing!
We ate and chatted through the evening in that Hemlock grove. Those two were both special people. They each had university degrees in areas protecting our world. Laura in environmental studies and Heather with a Masters in something Sciencey, can’t remember, but she seemed to know everything that crawled, grew, and flew! Laura did too actually.
They were thirty year friends with a real love of this planet and it’s inhabitants.
Beetles. They really liked beetles.
I really enjoyed their company. The planet needs more like those two. Would love to have them as hiking companions. I would learned a bunch AND have fun.
Another example of the lovely human beings you meet on this trail.
We got up the next morning. Fire starter Heather did another whoosh thing, while Laura livened up breakfast. I packed up, and we said our good byes. Me heading North and they home. I knew I would miss Laura’s spirit and wit and Heather’s reassuring presence. Oh yeah. Laura has done all the peaks in the Whites! Her face just lit up when she talked about them! Got me excited for the future. 😊
If only the real world was like this. I love the AT. The place just fills me up.
I thought my hike was over. An easy 9 miles down hill was in front of me. Ha. There was a cliff involved. One of my steepest and longest descents ever!!! My quads were screaming at the 3/4 mark.
I kind of hobbled down after that. Then walked through mostly bog and boards to my pick up spot, Rt 7 in Sheffield, MA.
Jess picked me up at 2. She was warm and welcoming right away. She shuttled me to my car and I followed her back to her “hiker B+B” she calls it. For a very reasonable price I got my own room AND breakfast!
Jess is an English Professor at a local university, and a long time lover of the AT and it’s travelers.
We had lovely conversation that evening and over a breakfast of eggs, fruit, granola, and great coffee, the next morning. She was great. What a treat it was to stay with her. Ha. Her name is Jess Treat!!! (860-248-5710) if you are a hiker in the area and in need.
She has a lovely home!
Let me see if there are any more photos I want to share…
That’s Laura!!! Private joke.
Life is good.