The Bascom Lodge bunk room had one of the most uncomfortable beds I've ever slept on, and I didn't really sleep well last night. This almost made it easier to get up early, since it meant getting out of an uncomfortable bed, so I got up around 5:40, and we were gone about 20 minutes later.
On the way to the trailhead, we stopped at Renee's Diner. There, I ordered the "super hungry man" breakfast platter, which turned out to be more food than I could eat. (It was all delicious, though.) We then went to the MA 2 trailhead, skipping ahead 6.3 miles we'll fill in tomorrow, and dropped Rainbow off, so he could hike north. Papa Monkey and I then proceeded to the VT 9 trailhead, and started our southbound hike around 8:45.
It was a bit odd, starting a new state before finishing the previous one. Going south from the trailhead, Vermont greeted us with a long, steep, rock staircase, almost as if to express its displeasure. With our packs emptied of almost everything but snacks and water for the day, though, the staircase was easier to climb (or descend, had we been going north) than it otherwise would have been.
Papa Monkey and I took our first break at the Congdon Shelter, after about 4.5 miles, and then continued on.
Papa Monkey took his name from the Chinese zodiac: he is a monkey; his daughter is a monkey; and it is currently the year of the monkey.
Vermont has a reputation for being muddy — almost as much as Pennsylvania has a reputation for being rocky. And there was a bit more mud today than in previous sections of the trail, but nothing too extreme. It made things a little more interesting. Rather than just rocks or roots, it was more like rocks and mud.
After a few more miles, we took a standing break when we got to where Rainbow was stopped, talking with members of the Vermont Conservation Corps, who were looking for an area to set up a camp and kitchen for their group.
A little while later, we reached a dirt road crossing where the rest of the corps were, and we stopped and took a break while we chatted with them. One of them had a camp guitar and another a kazoo, and we coaxed them into putting on a little performance.
Here, I noticed that I seemed to have lost my trowel. It probably fell out at some point today since there was less stuff in my pack that could hold it in place. Not really a big deal right now, but I'll have to get it replaced.
At some point today, we passed 1600 miles (and less than 600 left to go), though not actually at the actual location for that since we're missing a section of trail.
The afternoon brought the Massachusetts - Vermont border, and the southern terminus of the Long Trail, an approximately 275 mile long trail through Vermont, from the Massachusetts border to Canada. The AT follows the LT for about 105 miles through the Green Mountains, before heading east toward New Hampshire and the Whites.
I took a third break a bit further ahead, before the trail went downhill through a rock scramble. (I ran into Moxie and Sunshine just before reaching the rocks, and they let me know that the Papa John's in Williamstown, about a mile from the trailhead at MA 2, gave hikers 50% off.)
I made my way down the mountain, to the trailhead, overshooting MA 2 since I wasn't really paying attention, and then doubled back, heading to the parking lot where we dropped Rainbow off at, before Papa Monkey texted to let me know he was at the Papa Johns.
Since I apparently hadn't hiked enough today, I walked to the Pap John's and got a pizza and 2 liter bottle of soda at half off. (I only ate half the pizza, but unlike the last pizza I got, I knew it'd not turn into unappetizing mush overnight.)
Yesterday, on my way up to Greylock, I made a reservation at the Williamstown Motel, since they offered a shuttle from the trailhead and were very close to a grocery store for resupply. I called them up while we were waiting on our pizza, and was able to get my room upgraded to a double, and the three of us split the bill, making it far cheaper than it otherwise would have been.
At the motel, we decided not to do laundry ($8, too expensive), but the showers were quite nice. With only two beds, one of us (Rainbow) had to sleep on the floor, an unfortunate side effect of three people and two beds.
Tomorrow: fill in our hole from Mount Greylock to MA 2, and drive to Connecticut so Papa Monkey can attend to some personal business.