Sunday, June 26, 2016

Appalachian Trail Symphony: Days 12-16 (Mozart in the Woods)

Day 12 - (6/22/16) - 7.2 miles (Kay Wood Shelter to Crystal Mountain Campground)

Last night those college kids kept me from falling asleep for quite a while with their chatting and giggling.  Finally got to sleep but was woken up in the night by an owl call which was replied to by another off in the distance.  Hiking today was pretty easy; 4 miles in the morning and a few in the late afternoon, sandwiching 5 hours in the town of Dalton with Dad getting lunch, groceries and the library checking email and blogging.  Dad says I look better then he expected me to look, maybe I should keep not bathing or washing my hair then?  Tonight has been a really beautiful evening; cooler with a breeze and the sun lighting up all the leaves and making them golden.

Day 13 - (6/23/16) - 9.7 miles (Crystal Mountain Campground to Mark Noepel Shelter)

Cheshire, view from The Cobbles
A pretty pleasant day of hiking.  Not too hot, no rain.  Had lunch at "The Cobbles" overlooking the town of Cheshire and Mt. Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts.  The trail then passed right through Cheshire and I stopped in a church to use the bathroom and fill up on water: another moment that kind of felt like the Camino.  Then there was about a 2000ft climb up to the shelter which is most of the way up Greylock, but it really wasn't that bad.  Did almost 10 miles on the day, but I'm feeling that I can begin to do 12-15 mile days and probably still get into camp between 5-6pm.  I'm amazed by the number of hikers out here, especially thru-hikers, that smoke.  You'd think these hikers would be health and environmentally minded, but I guess I'm wrong.  Probably the majority of thru-hikers I've met are smokers, and I highly doubt they are packing out their butts as well.  I've also been a bit disheartened by the amount of graffiti on trees, rocks, privies, and shelters.  Honestly, who does this stuff and thinks it's a good idea, like they are 3rd grade boys or something?  Anyways, I heard and recorded a very complicated birdsong today, I didn't get to see the bird so I have no idea what it was, but I'll try to transcribe it at some point.
Greylock (left) view from The Cobbles

Day 14 - (6/24/16) - 9.6 miles (Mark Noepel Shelter to MA-2 - Williamstown/North Adams)

View of Adams from the summit of Mt. Greylock
Beautiful day of hiking.  Making the ascent of Greylock I passed through several miles of pine forests that smelled amazing, like Christmas.  There is much more sense of accomplishment and gratitude when you reach a summit like this on your own feet rather than by car, which I'd done here twice before.  I could see all the way north to Stratton Mt, which I should summit maybe in a week or so.  On the way down, a chicken jumped out in front of me on the trail!  Must have escaped from a farm nearby, more power to her I say!  I thought up what might be a good "Summit" theme while I was getting close to the summit.  I stayed the night in Williamstown with Jeanne, a senior and friend from the Bennington County Choral Society which I accompanied last year, and she was Diane's best friend when Diane was in the choir.  Diane came down to spend the night with me too.  It was very nice to have my first shower in 2 weeks, definitely a record for me.

Day 15 - (6/25/16) - 6.9 miles (MA 2 - Williamstown/North Adams to Seth Warner Shelter (VT))

Had a nice morning and breakfast with Diane and Jeanne before going to a laundromat, I think my first time washing my clothes at one, but very needed in this case!  I've been starting to gag at the smell of my socks!  After an indian buffet lunch with Diane, I got back on the trail around 2pm.  I can't believe I've made it to Vermont already!  Almost 150 miles done, about 590 left.  I'll get to Route 9 outside Bennington tomorrow evening and Mowgli, a former student at the college of mine and now good friend, will pick me up and I'll stay the night with him.  It was only 3 weeks ago whenI moved off of the campus.  Then it will be on to Glastenbury the following day.  The shelter here is very crowded tonight, I think because it is Saturday and there are a couple families out on weekend trips.

Massachusetts words: buggy, pine forests, somewhat boring at times, biggest mountain yet, highway crossing, bear, thunderstorm, both hard and easy

Day 16 - (6/26/16) - 11.5 miles (Seth Warner Shelter to VT 9 - Bennington/Woodford)

Back in very familiar territory.  A pretty nice hike down into Bennington.  Coming down Greylock a couple of days ago I felt like Pigpen; so stinky that flies were constantly buzzing around my head and driving me crazy.  Luckily either Vermont is so far a lot less buggy or I'm just not stinky enough after my recent shower to attract them.  Today has been the first time I've noticed all the marks on rocks caused by people's walking sticks with metal tips.  I didn't notice any in CT or MA.  I had the best hiking company yet today, which was nice.  Vermont definitely feels different than MA or CT, which is good; they have each had their own kind of character which should help in the composition process.  I had the Vaughan Williams "Dona Nobis Pacem"  going on in my head most of the day, probably thanks to Jeanne who played me the recording of our concert with it from May, plus the "Sea Symphony" kept creeping into my mind too.  It feels a little weird to have gotten to trail that I've hiked already, but gotten to it form a completely different and far-away way.  I'm sitting here at the trailhead now waiting for Mowgli and I just picked up a littered empty pack of cigarettes. On the box it says something like "Save the Planet; this inner carton can be recycled." That's really gonna save the planet.  Sometimes when I've been hiking, I get into a state where I feel that I'm not quite my body, that it is just moving along and I'm not really controlling it, like there is a this distance between my mind and my body.  I bet this is something that distance runners experience as well.

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