Journal 257-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Wednesday–November 3, 2021
Trail Day–257
Trail Mile–11.3/2571.7
Remaining Miles–46.0
Location–Mount Everett Road (1515.4) to Homes Road (1526.7), then to home of Mike & Carol Whalen and son, Chris, Otis, Massachusetts

What a wonderful benefit (say blessing) to be offered a place to stay by Chirs Mayor Whalen for the remainder of this journey. His parents, Mike and Carol, have a lovely log home on the mountain near Otis, Massachusetts. Mayor thru-hiked the AT this year and our paths crossed in both Gatlinburg and Hot Springs. He lives with his folks here in Otis, which is located near the trail–and in his kindness has offered me, Slim Jim, & Kitchen Sink lodging accommodations for the remainder of my hike. Mayor introduced us to his folks when we arrived here late yesterday evening and we were warmly welcomed. In anticipation of our arrival, Carol had prepared a big pot of beef stew for supper, and rooms were ready for us. I was able to shower first thing before sitting their dining room table and downing two bowls of stew. Being completely spent from the day’s hike I managed only a short visit before retiring to my room.

Today, hiking with me will be Slim Jim & Mayor. Kitchen Sink is taking the day off. Barry gets us to the trail early, where we’re greeted by a cold, clear morning–another perfect hiking day. Mid-day, JeanMarie Pooter Scooter Gossard comes hiking up the trail, completely surprising me. What a joy seeing her again! Pooter Scooter has hiked the AT, plus that segment of the Eastern Continental Trail  from Springer Mountain to Flagg Mountain, and I had the pleasure of meeting her when she reached Flagg Mountain–where I live (and caretake the mountain). She has come to join me and hike the remainder of this odyssey with me–the blessings continue (and continue).

Evening, we’re welcomed back to the Whalen home (Pooter Scooter too). Carol has prepared another delicious and nourishing meal–meatball subs. At the table, while stuffing myself, I soak my pitiful left foot in a tub of hot water and Epsom salts prepared by Barry (I continue suffering excruciating pain in my left foot).

Mayor is a happy, joyful person, a pleasure to be with (and he’s a strong hiker). We all had a great time hiking on the mountain today…

No road is long with good company.
(Turkish Proverb)

Journal 256-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Tuesday–November 2, 2021
Trail Day–256
Trail Mile–12.5/2560.4
Remaining Miles–57.3
Location–Undermountain Road (1502.9) to Mount Everett Road (1515.4), then to home of Mike & Carol Whalen and son, Chris, Otis, Massachusetts

If you’ve followed my adventures even the least you well know how difficult it is for me to say goodbye, especially when the parting is no doubt final. And so, this morning I bid farewell to Barbie & Dan–likely the last time I ever see either of them again. Photo ops, hugs, and a few tears and I’m down their driveway and gone.

Today will be the most challenging and difficult of the few days remaining to complete Odyssey 2021. Slim Jim, Kitchen Sink and I will be tackling Lions Head, Bear Mountain, Mount Race, and Mount Everett. In the process we’ll make ascents and descents totaling over a mile–3,600 feet of up, 2,000 down–through rock and boulder-strewn trail.

Another crisp autumn day, the chill of fall in the air. We start with a warmup on a gentle climb. My puffy and wind-break hoods up, my trekking poles dangling from my wrists, hands in pockets. But soon enough I’ve got to lean into it and dig my sticks in as the first ascent for the day begins–the steep climb to Lions Head. Fortunately, I’ve good energy and am of good spirit. This day is going to take plenty of both!

The day is practically haze-free, offering breathtaking vistas from every vantage, first from Lions Head, then Bear Mountain. Comes now the steep descent, down and down some more, to Sages Ravine–where we’re confronted with the fording of Sawmill Brook. Wet feet now and for the remainder of this day.

Of the 15 states through which my Bama to Baxter trek passes, I put #14 (Connecticut) behind me today–to cross into Massachusetts a little before two. It’s a great feeling to be standing by the “Welcome to Massachusetts” sign, with just a bit over 50 miles remaining to complete this Odyssey 2021!

Finally, down the steep descent off Mount Everett, we reach Mount Everett Road, our destination for today. It’s turning dark; I’m totally spent. What an incredible day…

 

What you get by achieving your goals
is not as important as what you become
by achieving your goals.
(Henry David Thoreau)

Journal 255-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Monday–November 1, 2021
Trail Day–255
Trail Mile–10.0/2547.9
Remaining Miles–69.8
Location–West Cornwall Road (1486.1) to Dugway Road (1496.1), then to home of Barbie and Dan Howland, South Kent

Another much needed night of rest; I slept well. And another nourishing breakfast prepared by Barbie & Barry.

No time is wasted getting Slim Jim and me loaded and back on trail. It’s definitely fall here in Connecticut; a chill in the air. But we’re able to warm up quickly, as we begin climbing right away. More rocks and  boulders. But as the day progresses, the trail becomes increasing more friendly to my tired feet. A bit of road walking, then more trail past the roaring falls of the Housatonic.

Evening, another memorable time, complete with a scrumptious supper prepared by Barbie and Dan.

Nobody was injured! (photo credit to Kevin Ryan II)

Oh, and I get to take a toboggan ride!

 

Of all the seasons, autumn offers the most to man
and requires the least of him.
(Hal Borland)

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