Day 128 – 20.1 miles to Wilbur Clearing Shelter at 1589.2

A day of ups (4000′) and downs (3000′) and lost pyjamas.

There was a big peak, Mt Greylock, 16 miles in with no camping allowed before, during or after so I got up at 5:30am and was hiking by 6:15 in order to have sufficient time.

After a couple of hours I took a break by scenic Gore Pond where bullfrogs were chatting away.
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Just a couple of miles later an overlook called The Cobbles gives a good view down to the town of Cheshire that we walk through next and up and across to Mt Greylock which comes after. It’s the biggest peak at the top, centre right.
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9.1 miles in, just after Cheshire, the trail crosses a road with a Shell gas station convenience store and Dunkin Donuts just 0.2 miles along the road. I reached it at 10:15 and ate a sausage egg croissant, hash browns and an apple donut washed down an iced coffee. I was pleased to be there by 10:15 and on my way by 11, already about halfway through the day’s miles. It was very hot when I left which didn’t bode well for the net 2500′ climb ahead over 8 miles.

Fortunately the heat fizzled out somewhat and humidity wasn’t a problem either. Even the bugs had taken a day off! Around 1pm I reached a shelter 3 miles from the top and stopped in for a rest. Sawdog was there, relaxing. He’s the local ridge runner and we chatted for a while about European politics. I thought I might eat the sandwich I had brought from the Shell but I wasn’t too hungry so pushed on to the top.

Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts at a smidge under 3500′ and has a war memorial on top which was under scaffolding today. I relaxed and took in the view, knowing my worst case camping spot now was only 3 downhill miles further on and it was only 3pm now. The summit was busy as it can be driven to and it’s a Saturday.
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After a 40 minute break I pushed on, about to give up half the gains I had worked so hard for with the rest gone within an hour tomorrow.
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I reached the next shelter, Wilbur Clearing, about 5:15 and found a flat spot to set up. When getting ready for bed I found I had left both my sleeping top and longjohns at the hotel in Dalton. Sigh. Other than that it has been a most productive and satisfying day. It was a longer day than usual but my feet held up well in the new shoes. They are more protected in these and hurt much less, at least until the final miles.

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