The campsite was bustling this 4th of July morning as the crowd broke camp to continue on their way under perfectly blue skies. Although the trail was rocky in spots during the short climb up Sharon Mountain, it took me just a little over an hour to reach Hang Glider View. If you look closely at the picture, you can see the glider landing zone down below.
After an easy descent, the trail passed through another farmer’s field before arriving at the US 7 trailhead parking area. Little Cheese and Einstine had some friends meeting them here for a lunch in Falls Village, so I told them that I would see them down the trail before I continued on to walk over the bridge crossing the Housatonic River.
Just north of the bridge, the trail turns left and follows the Warren Turnpike for a half mile road walk before returning to the woods. The next half mile follows the shoreline of the Housatonic River on a wheelchair accessible section of trail that was packed with holiday day hikers. After crossing a bridge (and nearly pulling out my pepper spray on an unleashed dog), I walked through the Falls Village Fairgrounds Recreational Area where I discovered trail magic! Apparently this trail magic had been a full on breakfast spread earlier in the day (pancakes and syrup), but I was happy to score a yummy muffin and some ice cold watermelon.
Continuing on, I crossed the Housatonic River once again over the Amesville Bridge and followed a short section of trail that offered several nice views of Great Falls. Again, the area was packed with holiday revelers and I was starting to feel a little claustrophobic when the trail finally crossed Dugway road and returned to the open fields.
The 800 foot climb up to the summit of Mt Prospect was spread out over two miles which made it quite easy. The reward on the other side of the summit was Rands View where I had clear view of the ridge that I would be hiking on tomorrow. The remainder of the hike along the ridge line was a smooth trek through some pretty forests.
The trail eventually left the ridge line and descended to US 44 where it began a 0.4 mile road walk through some residential areas. Along the way I passed a cemetery that was decorated with US flags for the holiday. The A.T. Guide gives directions to a water spigot in the cemetery, but I only had a short distance to go until I crossed Undermountain Road to end my day.
I had been leapfrogging with Glove for most of the day but since he was continuing past Salisbury, CT, I wished him happy trails and started walking towards town on Undermountain Road. On the way, I passed another cemetery with some grave markers that dated back to the early 1800’s before arriving at the Civil War Memorial at the town center.
Salisbury is a very upscale town and the only reasonably priced way to stay here is to sleep at the home of one of two people here that offer beds. The A.T. Guide offers few details on these homes, so I randomly selected Vanessa Breton’s place and had a resupply package mailed to her. Vanessa had seemed a little standoffish when I had spoken to her on the phone, but when I arrived she welcomed me in and showed me around. After I dropped my backpack and started to settle in, she asked me if I wanted a beer and I immediately knew I had made the right decision to come here.
Vanessa ‘s house is over two hundred years old and, over the years, she has worked on restoration by incorporating salvaged wood into the interior. She told me that when she was younger she thought she was a woodworker and had converted an old oak desk into wall paneling and a wooden chest of drawers into a kitchen cupboard. Everything she had done was seamlessly integrated and kept with the character of the old house. In this particular neighborhood, I would estimate that her home was probably worth over a million dollars.
Also at the house were the father and son from Dothan and the section hiker that I met at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. The Dothan dad had developed a severe case of shin splints and shared a nightmare story of a hitched ride from five miles away that took an hour and a half. The ride included going by Meryl Streep’s house and a visit to a cave that the driver was digging into the side of the mountain at his house (father and son declined the invitation to go inside).
I’m not certain if this was normal treatment or because every place in town was closed for the 4th, but Vanessa provided us with a picnic dinner that included hamburgers, hotdogs, country style ribs, homemade potato salad, and PBR beer. I ate a rib, two hamburgers, three hotdogs, and at least two pounds of potato salad. It was a wonderfully generous gesture on Vanessa’s part and was immensely enjoyed and appreciated by all.
Tonight I stayed up late working on my journals. There were no holiday fireworks in Salisbury (I didn’t even hear a rouge firecracker), but this was one 4th of July that I will never forget.