July 24th 2018
Falls Village – The Hemlocks Shelter (mile 1513.7)
20.2 miles
Total miles: 1534.3

I woke at 6am. I had taken an Aleve PM but I’m not sure if it helped at all. We had a fan on and it was super loud. It was either deal with the heat or the noise and I got out voted to not have the fan on. Lisa wasn’t able to take us back to the trail before 9am so we all had a lie in until 8am which was a treat, but I found myself up and itching to get going. 


We collected our fresh laundry. Lisa prided herself in being able to get the stink out of clothes. The job on the socks wasn’t too bad but there is nothing getting the stink out of the pits on my hiking top. Jukebox cooked breakfast and we had eggs and avocado on bagels which was delicious. 

To stay at Lisa’s was a 10 dollar donation and some money for gas for the ride to the supermarket. That together with all the food came to $22.50 which is so reasonable for a town stay! 

We got back to the trail head and it was hot. There was rain in the forecast but the chance was around 30% so we were hoping to miss it. We walked past Great Falls which was an average waterfall, I think it was man made. Then we hiked for a bit in a really nice section of forest which was gentle and there were hardly any rocks! It was nice easy walking and my body was grateful for that because it was sore. It had all the soreness that comes with staying in a town. The soles of my feet were especially sore and my calves were really tight. My pack also felt so heavy. It’s been way heavier than this, although not on this trail, and I was really struggling with it. The heat and the humidity were also playing their part in the struggle. I didn’t want to go fast today. I couldn’t go fast today. 


Everyone was ahead of me. I couldn’t keep up with them anyway but if I had been able to I would have hung back because there had been a lot of group time recently and I was feeling like spending some time hiking by myself and listing to some podcasts. I passed Shred and Bryce taking a break and then Bryce soon overtook me agin so I assumed that shred was the only one behind me. I was surprised that he didn’t catch up, even when I had to stop to pee. 

It was an enjoyable 7 miles of nice forest. I saw The Giants Thumb, a big rock, and I passed the 1500 mile marker and the sign for Salisbury. I had wanted to go into Salisbury but I’ve heard there isn’t anything there worth seeing so I passed it over. As I was hiking past a big graveyard I saw Peaches taking a nap on a bench and decided to sneak up on her and scare her. I kinda scared her. 


She was convinced she was out in front but I said I hadn’t seen anyone other than Shred. I sat with her on the bench for a while and Shred and Bryce appeared. No idea how that happened! We hiked on got to the top of Lions Head mountain. I hiked with Peaches and Shred for a while before stopping to get water from an nice stream, then Jukebox appeared. I didn’t notice her get behind me either. We got to the top of Bear mountain where everyone was stopped and taking a lunch break. I just had a snack, I was still pretty full from breakfast. 


We met Yelp and Peach again who we had met a couple of night ago at a campsite. I hiked with Yelp, a fellow Brit, on the way down the mountain and across the state line. We left Connecticut behind and we are now in Massachusetts! Yelp and I were discussing how weird it was to hear another British accent after being surrounded by Americans for so long. 

The sign for the state line is north of the actual border and we hiked on past this lovely mossy forest with a lovey stream with a bunch of swimming holes. We didn’t swim today though. We saw the sign which was a sad thing written with a sharpie and in an awkward position. Peaches tried her best to get a picture of me, it didn’t work out great. 


A comment was made by someone about ‘having to go through this at every state border’. First of all you didn’t have to wait. Second of all you have only crossed one border with me. It really got my back up. I struggled to know what to do. I looked ahead at the terrain and wondered if I could do some bigger mile days and hike on. I remain conflicted like I have been for days. 

I wanted to be on my own for a bit. The excitement of crossing the state line had turned sour and I needed some space. There were two more climbs and decent descents before getting to the shelter. The first climb was longer but more gradual. It was ok. And it was really nice towards the top, I was walking on big slabs of rock coming up onto the ridge and there were wonderful views. I spent some time up there, watched a wasp in the flowers and appreciated the low temperature light wind after getting hot and sweaty on the climb. 


The climb kept going up and up and eventually I got to the top of Mount Race and made the rocky slippy descent the other side. Then came the last big climb of the day. It was shorter but much steeper and it was quite a climb. There were wooden steps drilled into the rocks in some places and I thought often to myself that I wouldn’t want to be doing this in the rain. 

I felt a lot longer than I was expecting it to be and the climb just kept on coming. I kept it steady but I was going slow. Finally at the summit of Mount Everett all that was left to do was the descent the other side. I was worried it was going to be as steep and rocks as the way up because that would really slow me down, but luckily the way down was nowhere near as rocky as the way up. By now I was getting really hungry and I was getting thirsty. I didn’t want to drink all the water I had because if I got to the shelter and the water was a trek then I wasn’t going to want to go and get any. 


I made it half way down and then I saw Shred! Yay! I had visions of getting to the shelter and everyone would have had their tents set up and have already eaten dinner. There were two barrels full of really cold water and I was able to fill my bottle and drink a load there until it gave me brain freeze and then take some with me. 

At the shelter we were the only people there, our group of 6, and it was getting late, coming up to 8pm. Jukebox decided to pitch her tent fly inside the shelter which is generally a bit of a no no because it takes up so much space but with just us in there it would be fine. Shred and I also have freestanding tents so pitched our flys too. And we were doing that because the mosquitoes were in full attack mode. 

I ate some peanut butter and some crisps for dinner, which probably wasn’t enough but it was all I could be bothered to eat. Two more people arrived and there was plenty of room, but it felt a bit awkward. They went up into the loft and just Peaches has her tent outside. We chose the shelter because it’s due to rain tonight and my tent is still wet from the last time it rained. 

Watch the video! For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 77