Well hello again followers! Here we are in the lovely town of Bennington, VT at mile 1,603.3 with only 577.7 left to go! Jetpack's Dad Keith has come to visit us so we have our computers again. We also got some AWESOME food in this town to replenish ourselves! A great little stop off of the trail!
So where we last left off we were about to cross the Hudson...
After the Hudson, the trail in NY got much easier, as well as brought us a much cushier lifestyle. As Gram Cracker correctly refers to NY as the 'deli state', we crossed road after road with delis within 0.5 mile of the trail! I'm pretty sure we didn't miss a single one! Plentiful sandwiched, homemade salads, cold drinks, coffee, snacks, and packing in bagels and cream cheese with us - what a glorious stretch of local gastronomy! So simple, yet so satisfying! To top it off, blackberries have been coming into ripeness and you can bet your friends Eats and Jetpack have been taking FULL advantage of those delicious little things!
So enough about food, well for a second anyway. We finished up New York with gorgeous weather and very enjoyable terrain. Crossing into CT was pretty surreal since I went to the University of Connecticut and because we were finally in New England!!! The first night we camped just 3.5 miles outside the town of Kent and strolled into town the next morning with the intention of just getting some breakfast and picking up one of our mail drops. Well if you haven't been to Kent, CT, it is a cute little town with some fantastic food options that we got sucked into. We ended up doing laundry and bumming around all day, picking at home made goodies my mom sent in our mail drop, and eating at just about every place in town. I was also pleasantly surprised with a lovely mail magic package from our long lost trail friend Lady Pants....some dehydrated beets (for those of you who don't know, I LOVE and miss beets) as well as some dehydrated strawberries - amazing. Well this day also brought some rain which washed away our motivation. At about 5pm we realized that we had been sucked into town, but with nowhere to stay under $120 per night....oops. We tried to look pathetic so that someone would let us camp at their house, but to no avail. Feeling defeated we knew the best solution for morale was to - yes, get more food. We headed to the local Pizza joint with our new friend Tin Man. We asked the owner of the shop if he knew anywhere in town that we could get away with camping. He told us we could use his clearing behind the shop if we were desperate, but that it was in rough shape. Apparently he doesn't know how us Thru Hikers roll. After an awesome meal, we set up shop by their dumpsters and stayed the night. We arose the next day, had, yes, more breakfast - I'm telling you the food in this town (J.P. Gifford's namely) is so so good! - and then finally got back onto the trail.
About 15 miles into our day (July 4!) we ran into a couple of families out for a hike with their children. They mentioned how much stuff we were carrying and we said that we were headed to Maine. They asked where we had started and of course we replied "Georgia". Upon hearing that we had come so far, the 4 adults and about 10 children responded with "OOhhhs" and "Ahhhs" and a round of applause for us. After a Q&A session we were on our way with quite the morale boost. CT was just as beautiful as I had imagined and the terrain a little bit harder - just some steep climbs and whatnot, but we see it as training for what lies ahead. Before crossing into the homestate, we crossed this lovely gem of a waterfall:
Later in the evening we crossed into Massachusetts, our home state!!! We took some time to bathe in the gorgeous Sage's Ravine where the water was cold but the scenery was amazing:
The next morning we woke up early to meet my Dad and came across some really awesome views of the early morning clouds beneath us with the mountains rising above them. I don't want to totally litter this post with pictures so make sure to check out the albums linked up at the top bar! So we met my dad a little ways into the day and hike 11 miles with him to a nice shelter. He even got some Trail Magic with us! Some nice cold drinks on a hot, hot day! The next morning the 3 of us hiked into Beartown State Park for a nice swim in the pond before we met my brothers. Of course we had a silly night of brews, grilling, and games. It was great to have the Roach men come out with us since they don't get into the wilderness much. I think everyone really enjoyed it, especially my dad since he got to go up into backcountry with us into the great outdoors!
The following night we stayed at an awesome cabin on Upper Goose Pond and met some really great hikers and got to hang out with some we had already known. The atmosphere was great and reminded us of the beginning days of the trail at hostels where you catch up with hikers you know and swap stories with ones you hadn't yet known. A great time! Again, make sure to check out the pictures! The next day we stopped by the 'Cookie Lady's' house who bakes cookies for passing thru hikers! Then Courtney, my little brother's girlfriend who lives in Pittsfield, picked us up for a great stay at her house complete with homemade cookies, rides around town, laundry, showers, a trip out to dinner, and our favorite downtime activity (besides eating) - watching a movie!!! She was an EXCELLENT hostess and dropped us at the trail the next morning. Thank you again Farrell family!!!!
That day we summitted Mt Graylock, the highest point in MA. The following day brought us into Vermont!! It is still so surreal to think that we are finally this far up, in a state adjacent to Canada, when we started walking in Georgia. Our first full day in VT seemed just right - we got a hitch into Bennington from Don, a local man who was finishing up fishing for the day. We made a quick detour to his house to drop off his trout. When he ran in, he offered us beers, so we of course took him up on the offer. He hopped back in the car with a Long Trail Ale for each of us (including himself). We cruised through the mountains and farms of VT with the windows down, listening to music from the 60s sipping cold brews and talking about the trail. He dropped us at our motel where we met Keith. And here we are, enjoying a great break from the trail, quality time with Keith, and some really awesome local food. Another restful stop - if resupplying, seeing the town, blogging, uploading pictures, etc is restful. Well at least my legs are a bit rested!
Well stay tuned as we will be able to blog again in Hanover, NH - probably mid next week (CRAZY!). I will try to keep up the short posts from the trail, but service has been spotty. I hope everyone following is enjoying summer, we are having a ball as usual. It is so hard to believe we are getting close to finishing, but there are still plenty of adventures to be had, so stay tuned!