New York border to Vermont border
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The journal of Andy Linger ... thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 1997

Back to August 1

August 2—Ten Mile Shelter (Day 112 ~ milepoint 1431.1)
Before heading out this morning, a few of us cruised on over to Chris' Deli - known for their huge breakfast subs. All of us ordered at least one, and a couple hours later found it difficult waddling out of the deli to a lifeguards car for a ride back to the trail. The first shelter I came to was the Wiley Shelter. I spent several hours there talking to the caretakers, Bob & Mike, while resting there in the hot weather. Casey & Casey crashed there for the night, and I was eager to stay, but anxious to cross the state line to Connecticut. I made it to Ten Mile Shelter that evening, crossing another state line (10 down, 4 to go!). I shared the shelter that night with a hiker from NYC on a couple days' break from work. She took the train to the Appalachian Trail train station and hiked to the shelter. It was a night with perfect temps for sleeping (although the bugs were out in force).—Andy

August 3—Stewart Hollow Brook Lean-to (Day 113 ~ milepoint 1447.0)
The terrain today was much different than that of the last month. I have a bad feeling the last 600 miles of "easy" terrain are coming to an end. The climbs today were longer (it's probably the heat that makes them seem worse) and more frequent. I arrived at the Stewart Hollow Brook Lean-to (a lean-to is a term used interchangeably with shelter from here northward) as a storm started blowing leaves all over the place. I arrived literally minutes before the skies started dumping heavy rains and thunder. Redwood and Moose were in for a break and applauded as I arrived just in time. The rain was definitely needed. That night I was at the lean-to with Spider Ant and Moose. We shared horror stories about ariving at shelters with dry water sources. Spider Ant is a southbounder, so I learned Vermont is drier than I thought, and I told him about my running-out-of-water experiences in Pennsylvania, which he could relate to in Vermont.—Andy

August 4—Belter Campsite (Day 114 ~ milepoint 1463.5)
The day was cloudy and cooler than yesterday, but the humidity was still very high today. The climbs were tough because of this, but at least it's not 100 degrees out. When I reached the Hang Glider Viewpoint, I met Sedona and Trail Bum. I sat down on the wooden launch ramp and the three of us watched a couple of cars racing around a small road track in the valley below, sliding out of control. It was kind of fun to watch, as one car did a donut while the other slid off the track out of control. The site was the Lime Rock Racetrack, and in the middle was the road track where a company evaluates automobile brakes (that would be a fun job!). As I headed down the mountain, light rain started falling. It felt refreshing after a warm and humid day. I arrived at Belter Campsite and set up my tent. As I was cooking dinner, Trail Weaver showed up, who jumped up from Harper's Ferry, WV today. We camped near each other during Trail Days, and were surprised to be seeing each other again. As I write this, the rain is coming down pretty hard. I can hear thunder way off in the distance, so this could be a nice needed soaker (as long as it's done by tomorrow morning!).—Andy

August 5—Riga Lean-to (Day 115 ~ milepoint 1477.5)
I woke up this morning to find a ring of mud bordering my tent, but the skies were clear and it's not so humid. I stopped hear the hydroelectric dam to dry my tent out and reload on water (not to mention the refreshing ice cold outdoor shower they had there). I hiked up to the post office in Falls Village for my maildrop and was back on my way. Today was my first enjoyable day in CT. The temps were in the 70s, and the humidity was low. The first good climb took me to Rand's View, where I could see the Taconic Mountains I was going to hike through for the next couple days. A little before arriving at the shelter I arrived at Lions Head. The views were spectacular. Off in the distance I could see thunderheads building with the tops glowing red from the sun. The thunder was getting louder and the skies were getting darker. I could start to see lightening and rain falling in the distance and knew it was time to cruise. I reached the shelter and could see a wall of rain from the clearing several miles away. Moose and Trail Weaver showed up a little later and scurried into the shelter as the skies looked like they were about to fall. Well, it never did. There were a couple of loud bangs, but the brief rains turned into a half hour of drizzle. The skies clearned, making for a pleasant, but cool night.—Andy

August 6 —Glen Brook Shelter (Day 116 ~ milepoint 1487.4)
A little beofre 6 a.m. this morning, I looked into the valley from my sleeping bag to see a red glow on the eastern horizon. The valley floor was blanketed under a layer of fog with several mountain peaks thrusting above with the tops glowing red. After seeing this, I found it difficult to get back to sleep (and it was too cold to wake up), so I stared at the horizon, watching the valley grow brighter while listening to the music of songbirds. Today was another great day. I passed over three mountain summits today, with Bear Mountain being the highest point in the state. The only places to stay were either 2.5 miles or 10 miles away. It was too nice a day to rush, and I found myself stopping often to enjoy the views. I opted to 10. I was the first one to arrive at the shelter, and shortly thereafter Robert (who I hadn't seen since Tennessee) and two southbounders, Bruin and Biscuit Man showed up. Tonight was supposed to be a cold night, according to the locals I ran into during the day.—Andy

August 7—Mt. Wilcox South Lean-to (Day 117 ~ milepoint 1506.9)
It was c-c-c-cold last night. Robert had several layers of plastic sheeting over his blanket to help him survive the cold. I hitched into the town of Great Barrington, MA (did I mention I'm in Massachusetts now?) for a food resupply, and to make phone calls. After 3 hours (yup, ate another 1/2 gallon of ice cream), I was finally able to pull myself out of town and back on the trail. I reached the lean-to just before dark where Abe, Moose, and X-Cess were tented out. Tonight my goal is to prevent the resident procupine from eating my boots.—Andy

August 8—Upper Goose Pond Cabin (Day 118 ~ milepoint 1522.8)
Fortunately, nobody's boots were eaten, and everyone still has ten toes. No porkies last night. At 7:30, I hit the trail & today I had my worst encounters yet with mosquitoes. Traveling through the swamps and valleys today, I spent more time looking myself over for the little critters than watching the trail. As I frantically tried to simultaneously swat a dozen mosquitoes on my body, my eyes drifted from the trail to the blood-engorged bugs, causing me to trip over rocks and wildly stumble all over the trail. Finally, after seven hours of this, I arrived at Upper Goose Pond Cabin. The temps were cool, the humidity high, and the skies hazy. It felt great to be in for the day. The enclosed cabin had bunk beds, a gas stove, and a wonderful caretaker named Cindy (and her five monsters - oops, I mean kids). I spent most of the afternoon eating (everyone seemed to acquire ravenous appetites the last couple of days - must be the skeeters sucking all that blood out of you) and resting. While I was cooking dinner on the porch that evening, I noticed a woman starting to anxiously look at me. She said "Skygod", and I responded "yes". I'm Cheryl, and this is my husband Ron ... Gaudreau - your transcribers! I immediately got up and took several steps back, as I expected them to wrap their hands around my neck and start choking me for the pages upon pages of illegible, rain stained, crumpled journal entries I send them every couple of weeks. Instead, we found ourselves amused by the coincidence, and I went into a little more detail on some of my horror stories they found amusing. That night we didn't need to worry about bears, didn't need to wonder if our boots would be gone in the morning, and I didn't need to worry about freezing.—Andy

August 9—Upper Goose Pond Cabin (Day 119 ~ milepoint 1522.8)
This morning I awoke and went downstairs to find myself in a stream of pancakes traveling from the kitchen to the picnic table. The four of us (there were also several weekends and section hikers tenting) were endulging ourselves, frantically waiting for the next batch of pancakes to come out. A while later, when our stomachs reached the point of explosion, it was time to pack up and head out. Abe took off, the X-Cess, then Moose pulled out. I planning on doing 20 miles into Dalton, MA to resupply, but it was getting late, so I instead planned on 9 miles. I knew I could play around a little before I had to leave, to I was "forced" to take a tour of the pond in the canoe. Harry (age 11) and Sonny (age 9) told me to get in the canoe and took me to the small island. After taking the scenic route to the island (seems they were paddling in every direction but towards the island) we arrived a couple hours later. After getting back to the cabin, Ron, Tiffany and I swam to the island with Cheryl and Harry giving us canoe support. Barough, a southbounder, came down to the water, and the two of us paddled through the channel to Lower Goose Pond. We circled the large lake, watching waterskiers buzz us and people partying at their cottages (I started drooling when I saw the steaks and burgers cooking along with the beer filled tubs). We arrived back at the cabin, and I told myself I'd night hike to the next shelter when I finally left this place. The next fun-filled activity was clamming with Harry and Sonny. They told me we could catch a dozen or two real easily. A couple hours later, we leave with one clam (I guess I'll have to change my lunch plans). Well, it looks like I'm going to have to trim my mileage figures a little more. I'm taking the rest of the day off too. Forget about the next shelter. I found myself scraping everything I had left I could cook for dinner. Tomorrow it's either town, or acorns for dinner.—Andy

August 10—Tom's Place (Day 120 ~ milepoint 1543.3)
After stuffing myself with pancakes this morning, I knew it was time to head on. I gave my goodbyes to Cindy and the five kids and headed out. There weren't any views today, just flat terrain and 90 degree heat. Fortunately there was a good breeze today, so it didn't feel nearly as warm as it was. I arrived in Dalton, MA and stayed at Tom Levardi's house. When I arrived, he shoved a huge bowl of ice cream in my face and introduced me to everyone else staying for the night. he let us spend the night in his yard and shuttled Cosmic Ivy, Wigly, and me to a pizza joint and a supermarket in Pittsfield. There were seven of us here for the night, and this was one of the first nights in a while there weren't any southbounders here (there were ten last night). When we came back, he asked if anyone was still hungry. Of course I said yes, so he brought a platter out with a gigantic sandwich, chips, and beer. Just Bill, Bull, and Chaz were disappointed they already filled their bellies at the local pub. It was a clear night with lows expected to be in the mid-50's. I don't think I'll freeze tonight.—Andy

August 11—Bascom Lodge (Day 121 ~ milepoint 1560.2)
This morning I pulled out of Tom's yard around 7:00 with way too much food. The trail followed a side street for a while and then darted into the woods. A few hours later I arrived in the town of Cheshire. I didn't need much for supplies, so I followed my way through town until the trail darted into the forest. The A.T. then started its climb up My. Greylock which topped out at 3,491 feet. The 2,500 foot climb up was the biggest climb since Three Ridges in Virginia (I know the next 600 miles - yes, only 600 miles to go - will bring plenty more of these). The climb in the 90+ degree heat took a lot of energy out of me. The small breeze blowing when I reached the ridgeline saved me from keeling over and dying. I finally arrived at the summit and checked into the Bascom Lodge. The lodge was built in the 1930s by the CCC. There weren't any views from the summit thanks to the incredible levels of humidity, but tomorrow is supposed to be better. Anyways, Cosmic Ivy and I were there, and to take the price down from $30 to $12, we worked off part of our stay. I washed the inside of the cargo van and did some sweeping. At 6:-- p.m., it was dinnertime! There were only 4 guests eating (usually a dozen or so), and they told us they had plenty of food - cool. We had pork chops, potatoes, cream of broccoli soup, salad, and blueberry rhubarb pie. I started frantically shoving food in my mouth as the plates were being taken away. I finally stuffed myself and headed to the lobby. Later that evening, Grillmaster showed up (worked here at the Lodge '91-'92). He told us about the ghost lady of room 3, and plenty of wild stories about working up here. Ever since dinner, we couldn't help but look outside at the thick fog and rain coming down. Grillmaster told us the drive from Cheshire to the summit that usually takes 30 minutes took over an hour tonight. It sure feels great to be here and not in a shelter tonight. (At least none of the windows have blown out yet). At 10:30 we were a
ll finally tired enought to call it a night.—Andy

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