Friday, September 18, 2015


We were 15 miles into Massachusetts when I was bit by some insect on my right calf sometime Wednesday 9 Sept or Thursday 10 Sept.  As we made our way to the Great Barrington, MA road crossing on Thursday 10 Sept, I was feeling worse and worse.  We had planned to go into Great Barrington to resupply but decided to get a room at the Days Inn and stay the night.  I wasn't feeling better on Friday so we decided to take a zero and stay another night at the Days Inn.  Saturday morning I was feeling worse, so after consulting with some fellow veterans I decided to go get checked out at the Fairview Hospital ER in Great Barrington.  I was hesitant to go as I do not have any health insurance, I just receive all of my medical treatment at the VA.  But after speaking with the VA tele-nurse and fellow veterans I learned I could go to a civilian hospital and file the bill with the VA.  The staff at Fairview hospital was awesome.  They took 6 viles of blood to be sent off for testing and the doctor started me on Doxycycline as my symptoms were inline with several tick and mosquito borne illnesses common in this area.  I got in touch with my CVMA brother, Lunchbox, and he was able to find a CVMA brother and sister/husband & wife in Agawam, MA, to take mom and me in for the past 7 days so I could rest and recuperate.  My CVMA brother and sister, Al and Laura, have been amazing and I feel much better and ready to hit the trail again.  On Friday evening, Sept. 18 Al and Laura took us to opening night of the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass.  This is a regional six state yearly fair for Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  Each state has a building in which they display products and places within their state.  We purchased a variety of foods and drinks as we wandered around.  The evening ended royally with a free concert from the Charlie Daniels Band!  Wow!  Van Gogh last week, Charlie Daniels this week, we have found all sorts of culture along the AT.  Laura dropped us off at the AT trailhead near Great Barrington, Mass on Sat., Sept 19 so we can continue northward.

I have checked with the hospital, but the results of the blood test are not in yet, As soon as I hear something I will let everyone know.  Another setback, but we are rolling with the punches and trudging onward.  Here are all of our pictures and stories for Connecticut.  Thanks again to everyone's help and support!!!

We were quite excited to get into Connecticut and began with a zero day at the home of Craig and Jennifer.  Craig is a trail maintainer with the CT Chapter of the AMC and he and his fellow maintainers efforts were much appreciated.  Connecticut had a few challenging parts, but for the most part was enjoyable hiking with some great views. After a refreshing zero at Craig's we got back on trail on Saturday 29 August and headed northward.

Saturday 29 August 2015
CT 55 to Mt Algo Shelter, 1856.8 miles
We got a nice early start today and enjoyed the cool morning temps.  As it is with most of the AT, one is always hiking up.  We started this morning hiking up and over Ten Mile Hill and enjoyed a break at Ten Mile River Shelter where we saw a group of Merganser ducks floating down the Ten Mile River.  We enjoyed lunch and a nap up on the ridge above Bulls Bridge Rd.
Mom napping after lunch

Sunday 30 August 2015
Mt Algo Shelter to Kent, CT, 1857.1 miles
We hiked 1/2 mile along CT Hwy 341 to a restaurant in Kent, CT for lunch. Everyone stared at us carrying our packs on our backs. Kent is known for being anti-hiker friendly, but they did accept our money.  Many fancy motorcyclists were in town for Sunday lunch. This area is known for its "hoity-toity" rich residents. The two of us are hiker/bikers so we thought we fit right in.  Rain began falling and Mom was not feeling well so we called our hiker friend, Plantman, who we had met on the trail last year in the 100-mile wilderness,  Plantman had stated he lived near Kent, CT and would be happy to help us out if we needed anything while in the area. He picked us up in Kent and we stayed two nights while Mom drank Pepto-Bismol.  Plantman and his wife Pat were amazing trail angels taking us in for a zero day while mom recuperated from a stomach bug of some sort.

Monday 31 August
Zero at Plantman and Pat's house

Tuesday 1 Sept 2015
CT341/Kent, CT to Stewart Hollow Brook Shelter, 1864.1 miles
Plantman dropped us back off on the trail today and we continued north.

Hendo hiking down St Johns Ledges

Hendo's Mom making her way down St Johns Ledges

Wednesday 2 Sept 2015
Stewart Hollow Brook Shelter to Ceasar Brook Campsite, 1870.8 miles

Thursday 3 Sept 2015
Ceasar Brook Campsite to Sharon Mountain Campsite, 1876.5 miles
Our trail friend Forty-four, who we met last year while he was hiking a section of the AT, had accepted some mail drops for us and met us at CT 4, bringing us our mail drop of new shoes and awesome deli sandwiches...whoohoo!!!  We also made plans for Forty-four to pick us up in Salisbury, CT in a few days for shower, laundry and zero.

Hendo's old and new Brooks Cascadias

Hendo's Mom's old and new Brooks Cascadias

Hendo's Mom squeezing her way on up the trail

Friday 4 Sept 2015
Sharon Mtn Campsite to Mt Prospect stealth site, 1884.8
The weather had been insanely hot the last few days, so we were quite excited to find trail magic at the US 7 road crossing.  We were even lucky enough to meet the amazing trail angel responsible for the magic, Christine. She was out day-hiking a section of the AT.  Christine graciously gave us a ride to a restaurant outside Falls Village, so we were rolling in the trail magic today!!

Due to the Iron Mountain Bridge being closed for repairs there is currently a detour around Falls Village.  The detour was very nicely marked and signed.

Special temporary white blazes have been erected all along the detour route.

Hendo standing by a detour blaze.

Massive waterfall north or Falls Village, CT

Hendo's Mom making her way up Mt Prospect, with the last of the day's rays of sun glowing through the woods.

Saturday 5 Sept 2015
Mt Prospect Stealth Site to Cobble Rd/Salisbury, CT, 1889.2 miles
A huge hornet nest along the trail just north of Limestone Shelter side trail.

Close-up of the hornet nest.

Rands View, Beautiful Connecticut countryside on our way into Salisbury, CT

It was pretty steep going down into Salisbury.  Hendo's Mom making her way down into town.

We appreciate the log stairs!!

Thanks to fellow hiker, Bob Snell, we had some delicious chocolates waiting for us in Salisbury. He had put out a facebook message saying that the first hiker to respond with an address along the trail would get a box of chocolates from him.  Hendo responded with the address to the post office in Salisbury, CT.  I guess we won!  He contacted Hendo by phone and said we would be getting the delivery. The chocolates were delicious.  Trail Magic at its best!

Sunday 6 September 2015
Zero at Forty-four and Betsy's house
Our trail friend Forty-four picked us up in Salisbury on Saturday, took us home for a zero on Sunday and dropped us back off on the trail on Monday.  On Sunday Forty-four took us to a local outfitter so I could get a new backpack as my GoLite had fallen apart beyond repair, I ended up getting a Granite Gear Leopard AC 58.  I really love it so far.  After getting my new pack, Forty-four treated us to a visit to The Clark Art Museum.  We were lucky enough to get to view the Van Gogh and Nature exhibit, which was absolutely breathtaking.  We had a great time with Forty-four and Betsy!!
Hendo, Betsy, Forty-four and Hendo's Mom

Hendo and Hendo's Mom with Winslow Homer's "The Bridle Path", a painting of the Bridle Path on Mt Lafayette in the White Moutnains, NH. We hiked the Bridle Path when we had to come down off of Mt. Lafayette due to a storm last fall.

Monday 7 September 2015
Cobble Rd to Riga Shelter, 1892.4 miles
Forty-four dropped us back off on the trail Monday afternoon and we made our way just a few miles up the trail to the Riga Shelter for the night.  Hendo helped out SOBO hiker Opportunistic Dreamer by sewing the soles of his boots back onto the uppers using the guts of paracord as thread. We carry a heavy duty curved needle just in case such repairs are needed.  The soles of Opportunistic Dreamer's boots were halfway off and he still had to make it to Kent, CT, another 40 miles south of Riga Shelter to pick up his new boots in a mail drop.  He was quite appreciative and I didn't mind helping him out, I told him, it's what we do!!!

We also had our first unfortunate encounter with the Princeton University, Outdoor Adventure Freshman Orientation Club.  Needless to say, they were loud and inconsiderate and we spent the next two days being warned about other Princeton groups and purposely hiking on past shelters and campsites so that we would not have to camp with any of their groups again.  We will be notifying Princeton University of their poor behavior.

Tuesday 8 Sept 2015
Riga Shelter to CT-MA border, 1896.2 miles
Today at the base of Bear Mountain, CT we finished Connecticut and entered Massachusetts...Whoohoo!!!!

Hendo's Mom and Hendo on the summit of Bear Mountain, CT, the highest point in CT.

The plaque on Bear Mountain, CT

The south side of Bear Mountain was nice and graded, but the north side was not nearly as nice.  The steep and rocky trail down the north side of Bear Mountain.

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