I got started today around 7. A tenth of a mile after the campsite, I passed 700 miles remaining. After a nice, long, relatively flat section of trail (partially over roads), the trail began to climb Mt. Prospect. This provided a couple of nice views of a waterfall on the Housatonic River.
After about six miles, I stopped for a break at the side trail to the Limestone Spring Shelter. (The shelter was half a mile off-trail, so too far since I wouldn't be staying there.) The weather's a little bit cooler, and there was a very nice light cool breeze blowing since near the top of Mt. Prospect, so it the break was very relaxing. I should have gone a little further, though: only about a tenth of a mile ahead, the trail emerged briefly from the woods to overlook a field, which provided an amazing view.
The cool breeze that had followed me down the mountain had all but disappeared as I crossed a field approaching the road to Salisbury, and I took my second break at the parking area and trailhead just after Salisbury, before beginning a uphill climb to my shelter for the evening. While there, I also reserved space for tomorrow night at a hostel in Sheffield.
The hike up the mountain was long and somewhat steep. Shortly past the parking lot, I reached 1500 miles on the trail. Some not terribly difficult rock scrambles later (the "Lions Head"), I made it to the top. Shortly past the top, I met Steve and Erik, "SEGA", "Steve and Erik's Great Adventure". The two had been not too far ahead of me my entire hike, so I had seen them in the logs for months; it was nice to actually meet them.
Shortly afterwards, I saw a large bear on the trail, about 50 feet ahead. I stopped, and clicked my poles together a few times to try and scare the bear off. With SEGA right behind me, I wasn't terribly worried about the bear doing something aggressive, and we watched (and took video) it for less than a minute, before it ran off into the woods.
Since this was another "short" 14.8 mile day, I made it to my target for the day, the Brassie Brook Shelter, right around 2. I was initially somewhat dismayed to find the shelter filled with 12 identical packs and a bunch of kids playing cards. (The weather forecast was for rain, and I didn't want to have to tent.)
The kids, it turned out, were from YMCA Camp Jewell, and were out for a week-long hike on the AT. And fortunately, they were all staying in a few large tents they had brought, rather than the shelter.
Smiley showed up to tent, and shortly after, so did Lou and Julie, an older couple hiking the trail together, whom I hadn't seen since Shenandoah. (Later on, Big Bad Wolf also arrived; I don't think I've seen him since Virginia either.)
I extended my scheduled plan for the next few days, so I knew how much food I needed to buy tomorrow, and then chatted with one of the camp counselors, Caitlin. Caitlin, from South Africa, was taking time off from her masters program in poultry production to visit the US and do something outside her field, after having a rough time with her masters advisor. Coincidentally, Julie also had family that worked in the poultry industry.
The weather forecast for today called for rain in the afternoon; one hiker earlier had even warned that there could be hail. As it turned out, while it did get cooler, there was no rain at all. I probably could have hiked further to the next campsite, but it was nice to be finished the day early.