Putting on wet boots is not on my list of favorite things, but at least it was a blue sky morning which gave my boots a fighting chance to dry on the way. One Gallon had been camped about 15 feet from me but somehow managed to pack up and leave without me hearing a sound. I stopped by the Mt Wilcox South Shelters (the older of the two) to retrieve my pack cover that I had hung there to dry and found Rabbit still preparing to leave.
As in the previous day, the trail offered some easy hiking with a relatively smooth treadway and little in the way of elevation gain or loss. Leaving the shelter I soon passed by a pretty pond before continuing through the woods with occasional pasture walks. It was a lovely and stress free section of trail that crossed multiple water sources.
During the late morning, I started a short but steep climb up Tyringham Cobble. This area is protected by a Massachusetts conservation group called the Trustees of Reservations and is a popular day use area that was packed with day hikers. On the way up, I passed a girl with a thru-hiker tag and stopped to chat. It turned out that she was a flip-flopper that had only hiked a few hundred miles and she wanted to tell me her life story about how she might go home because she missed her dog and had already proven to herself that she was physically capable of a thru-hike. Blah, blah, blah. I wanted to tell her that she should immediately go home because she wasn’t mentally ready to thru-hike, but I politely withdrew from the conversation instead and continued up the hill. At the summit was a nice view of the valley.
At the bottom of the hill I crossed Jerusalem Road and climbed over a stile into a field full of cows. This time, however, they kept their distance and didn’t allow me to have a more personal bovine encounter. The rest of the afternoon provided an interesting variety of trail environments including pasture walks, big crossings, and forests.
The Upper Goose Pond Cabin was on my “must do” list long before I started my hike. The cabin, which sits near the shore of the lovely Upper Goose Pond, is maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) but is one of the few AMC spots, complete with a resident caretaker, that doesn’t charge you to camp there. In addition to bunk space for around 14 people, they have tent pads (my choice), jugs of unfiltered spring water on the porch, and a canoe you can check out for a spin around the pond.
One Gallon and Rabbit were already at the cabin and I met a new section hiker there named Groceries. Groceries and her husband had already thru-hiked the A.T. (on separate years) and had immersed themselves in the A.T. community lifestyle. She told me that at her hiker style wedding that they had cars there with license plates from all 14 A.T. states. Now she was just out hiking because that is what she does.
I also briefly met a thru-hiker named Captain Jack. I had heard about Captain Jack because he carries a 40 lb backpack, that includes a Martin trail guitar, and walks really low mileage to better enjoy the A.T. experience. He and another hiker have a pretty good video on YouTube performing an original song that they wrote about life in the trail.
After setting up my tent, I returned to the cabin area to make dinner and visit with some of the many hikers that were staying there. It was a very relaxing evening of good hiker fellowship and I very much enjoyed my time at the cabin. Now it is past hiker midnight and time for me to settle in for the evening following a really enjoyable day. Even my hiking boots are almost dry.