Upper Goose Pond Cabin to tenting at mile 1,567.0 – 22.4 miles
The husband-wife caretakers wake the same time I do and head downstairs to the kitchen while I pack. They have coffee ready when I get down there at 5:15 AM. They offer me oatmeal as well, so I make a huge bowl, loaded with brown sugar and lots of butter (for the calories, of course).
Fifteen minutes later the other hiker is up and the blackberry pancakes follow shortly. I wasn’t planning to stay, but now I’d be really rude to leave while she is in the kitchen cooking up pancakes and they had been so kind as to wake up extra early just for me. So I proceed to eat six delicious pancakes and drink hot chocolate.
After eating, now I certainly can’t leave without helping with the dishes. We finish the dishes and I head out about 6:15 AM. I guess it’s not too bad to take my time this morning. I only have 11 miles to the Cookie Lady’s house for my mail drop.
After crossing a gravel road almost 10 miles in, I see a runner approaching, heading south. It looks like Karl Meltzer: beard, Hokas, backwards hat. I say ‘Hey’ and turn to watch him run down the trail. Sure enough, it’s a Red Bull hat. What is he doing (he’s from Utah)? The first thing that comes to mind is: AT record attempt. Is he going for the record again?
About 10 AM, I arrive at Washington Mtn Road and walk east to the lane to home of the Cookie Lady. She’s away but her husband’s here. I eat cookies and drink a Coke. This is another mail drop in which I was stressing about the logistics, because with [Memorial Day] yesterday, I didn’t know if I was going to get to town (further north) on Monday (yesterday) and I would not be able to get it. After days of obsessing and discussing with Linds, she mailed it USPS to this house for me. Since the mail probably won’t be delivered until 3 or 4 PM, I have several hours of hanging out. The older gentleman brings me a lawn chair and I recline under a tree in the front yard and relax.
Only now does it occur to me that the only reason for this mail drop to come to this house was if FedEx could deliver it here before today, so I would not have to wait for it. I should have just kept the delivery as originally planned, delivery to the Post Office in Dalton, MA, where I’d be later today. Oh well, oversight on my part. I’m just happy to be receiving it.
It doesn’t look like I’ll get more than 20 miles if the mail comes late, unless I hike late. I talk to Linds a little, while I recline in the front yard. I use my phone to look up Karl to see if it he’s making an AT record attempt. [I learn, after finishing my hike, that he was doing reconnaissance for a record attempt in August. He would subsequently drop out of the attempt after falling off pace in VA.]
The mail truck rolls down the lane at 2:45 PM. I greet the mailman, accept my box, throw my stuff together and hit the trail at 3 PM. It’s about a five-hour, approximately 12-mile setback to wait for the mail. I high tail it to see if I can make it to the campsite north of town.
It’s a long walk through town. I pass some restaurants (which I probably would have stopped at had I not already had a long delay), walk through a nice neighborhood, pass a little league game, and then walk out the end of town back into the forest.
I don’t make it up the climb out of town before I find a place to pitch my tent. It’s 7 PM; I’m not to the campsite, but I’m done. I’ve heard that hikers have done big miles in Massachusetts and this could have been one of those days had I not had a 45-minute late start this morning and a five-hour midday break. I could have had 12+ miles on top of my 22. Oh well, it is a good rest day though. Big days are sure to come.
MA Turnpike I-90 crossing
Less than a mile out of town (Dalton, MA), I’m done. I find a spot not too far up the mountain.