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)

Journal 254-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Sunday–October 31, 2021
Trail Day–254
Trail Mile–10.3/2537.9
Remaining Miles–79.8
Location–River Road (1475.8) to West Cornwall Road (1486.1), then to home of Barbie and Dan Howland, South Kent

Another rainy night. So thankful to be out of it, warm and comfortable in Barbie and Dan’s lovely home!

Less time is needed to get to the trailhead this morning, so I sleep in till six. Barbie and Barry are both in the kitchen. Barry is frying my eggs and Barbie is fixing potatoes and fruit dishes. Ahh, and fresh-brewed coffee!

Kitchen Sink is suffering plantar fasciitis, both his feet. So, he’ll be staying back today. It’s Slim Jim and me; were back on trail before eight.

The climbing continues. We’ve another day in excess of 4,000 feet elevation change in the afternoon. First, a delightful walk along the Housatonic River. It’s unusual to have such smooth, level trail. I’m able to stride out without having to watch every step I take. Autumn is in full swing here, the bright yellows and reds are splashing their bright color all across the mountainside.

Excitement for today comes in the fording of Guinea Brook. It’s a swift-running mountain stream choked with boulders. I no more set foot in than the great volume of swift-running water starts pushing me around. Slow, methodical going. Seems a very long time, but we both cross safely and in good order.

Early evening, Barry awaits patiently at West Cornwall Road, and we’re soon back to Barbie and Dan’s.

Another grand evening. I’ve been so blessed this journey…

 

Gratitude lifts our eyes off the things we lac
so we might see the blessings we possess.
(Max Lucado)

Journal 253-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Saturday–October 30, 2021
Trail Day–253
Trail Mile–6.8/2527.6
Remaining Miles–90.1
Location–Dugway Road (1496.1) to Undermountain Road (1502.9), then to home of Barbie and Dan Howland, South Kent

What a grand home, that of Barbie and Dan Howland. They’ve opened their guest rooms to hikers. Barry, Slim Jim, Kitchen Sink and me, we’re the latest benefactors of their kindness and hospitality! To describe their place, the services they provide, I’d say they’re more closely aligned with a really classy B&B operation, certainty not a hiker hostel. Yet here they are and here we are–to be lavished and treated like family! I no sooner get settled in (my own private room and bath), than we’re called to supper in their lovely dining room, the finest of settings–to feast on out-of-this-world lasagna prepared by Dan!

Today comes in cold, windy, dark and rainy. These conditions have been forecast for days now. We were expecting it. So, plans, as far back as last Thursday, were to take a zero day today and just rest. Ahh, and what better way to spend my 83rd birthday!

But plans change. Radar shows a big gap in the storm; conditions are improving. For my remaining-days logistics plan to work, I need to try and get in a short six-plus mile day soon. Looking closely at the radar one more time, Kitchen Sink & I decide to go for it.

Slim Jim has invited his friend Milo and his two boys, Miles and Julian to hike a short distance with us this morning. A fun time climbing Mount Prospect together. Photo time, then Slim Jim hikes back down with them.

The rain comes and goes but remains gentle for the day. On the ridge we’re in the clouds. Here the trees collect moisture from the passing clouds and the wind shakes it loose to rain down on us. I don my poncho for a short time, but then the cloud-shroud moves on, providing us shutter-open, shutter-closed views down and across the Housatonic Valley. Continuing along the ridge past Mount Prospect, Raccoon Hill, and Wetauwanchu Mountain, here the tread is almost totally rock- and root-free, and Kitchen Sink and I are able to move out and make good time–just a couple of boulder fields, but the hike through them (one has a log ladder) is short and pleasant.

Descending to Salisbury, Barry hikes up to greet Kitchen Sink and me, then hikes back with us, a short roadwalk and a bit of open field–back to his van.

Evening, a wonderful birthday dinner provided and prepared for me by Barbie, Dan, Barry, Slim Jim & Kitchen Sink. A very special and amazing day with dear friends. Ahh, and many, many text and email messages wishing me a happy 83rd birthday…

 

Wise is the person who finds a reason
to make every day a special one.
(Leo Buscaglia)

 

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