Summary: Hit 1500 miles and passed into Massachusetts
Toymakers Cafe Backyard 1492.3
Random Campsite 1512.2
Total miles 19.9
We were ready and packed up a few minutes after the cafe opened at 7. Greg was manning the kitchen and Annie was womaning the rest of the Place. We all asked her if she was feeling better after yesterday which amused her since it was allergies but Greg made it seem like she was close to death. We sat at a communal table with Grant, Huggy Bear, Ten, and Dean. The entire cafe smelled like cinnamon buns, butter, and the slightest hint of burnt toast. Dean got the corned beef hash, Tyler the eggs benedict on in a waffle, and Emily the classic benedict. It was all outstanding. One hundred percent worth the stop. The coffee was strong to the point of the shakes, the food filling and delicious, and the owners kind and helpful while still giving us space to enjoy breakfast in chairs, at a table, under a roof. Truly a magical morning.
It also meant that we didn't actually get hiking until 9 despite waking up early. We were slightly worried since we had to resupply in Great Barrington tomorrow, still had 38 miles until our stop point, and we had a series of not insignificant uphill throughout the day including Mount Prospect, another Bear Mountain, and Mount Everett among some others now forgotten.
After the morning fog burned off, the day was great. It was hot in the direct sun, but cool in the green tunnel and not nearly as humid as days past. Mount Prospect went by before we knew we were hiking. The cafe breakfast from the morning may have been magical.
Since we had been making great time, we decided we could continue splurging and took a side trip a half a mile into Salisbury, CT to a marketplace and deli. There we met the 68 year old Vietnam Vet, who was in his second thru attempt. This year he had surgery to remove one of his shin bones so that it could be used to repair his jaw. And he's still chugging along. That happened this year, after he started in February, and now he's up in New England. So, if age or health is an excuse for pushing off the AT, think again.
We ate our deli lunch (disappointing sandwiches from a mobbed deli, but delicious snacks from the market) and returned to the trail. Not far out of town we passed the 1500 mark. Our peaks and climbs continued. The tough part was that all the peaks were not connected by any ridge. So even if the peaks were only 800 foot climbs, it was up 800, down 800, repeat.
After the Bear Mountain descent though, we were excited to see the understated welcome sign to Massachusetts. The beginning of the Masssachusetts trail was gorgeous. Ravines, Crystal pools, swimming holes, and ledges. Slippery rocks too, but we let that slide this time. We ran into some familiar thru hikers who nearo'd to the river to swim for the day.
We started another climb and took a break along a cliff much higher than we had been in several hundred miles and decided we would stop a bit short of our 23 planned miles. It would give us a longer day into town tomorrow, but we were feeling too jazzed to pass up a break at the view and stop a little early to celebrate our Massachusetts arrival.
The final climb and descent on Mount Everett turned out to be the worst of the day, but we were indifferent. We were feeling great amd still attributed it to the magic breakfast (though the disappointing yet filling sandwiches probably helped too).
We stopped a half mile short of the shelter we planned on going to since it was close to 8, and someone had left convenient gallons of water at a dirt road accessible parking lot. We camped next to the picnic tables near the lot and shared snacks with Dean.
The night was somewhat cut short by a surprise rain (just hard enough to force us into our tents which we, feeling too optimistic about everything, hadn't yet put on the rainflies). We continued chatting with Dean from inside our tent, and eventually fell asleep with the and the slightest sound of far off thunder.