18 June 2021. Day 71. 10.8 Miles + 867.2 Miles = 878.0 Miles. Kay Wood Shelter to Father Tom Campsite in Cheshire, Massachusetts. The Prep for Greylock

13:58. Tomorrow Will be Greylock

The goal for this day was going to be Cheshire, Massachusetts. The documentation for the Trail related that that was a good city run camping area within the town that would provide us a good place to organize our gear prior to tackling the long climb up Mount Greylock.

Where have all the White Birch Gone?

In yesterday story I mentioned the white birch trees. As a youth this was the way I remember seeing most of the white birch near my home. Now on this trip 60 years later they look exactly the same. Most of them lying dead on the ground. I have found that the higher elevation I get the healthier they seem to be. I was always told that Indians used to use their bark to make canoes with. They must have had a secret formula because for the life of me I can’t figure out how they managed to do that without the boat sinking within the first 15 seconds.

07:23. Mullet

We were on the trail by 6:05 AM and it was only about 3 miles before we reach the town of Dalton. The plan was to find breakfast there in town. Long before we can see the town I could hear church bells ringing in the nearby churches. They promised another few moments of a hiking reprieve while we grabbed a breakfast sandwich as one packed away for lunch.

07:24. Fire Museum

As soon as we hit the city limits of Dalton we came upon this fire museum sitting on the railroad tracks which boarded the city limits. I forwarded a picture of it to my brother Scott and he immediately responded saying that this caboose had once been situated in another place relating to the history of the volunteer fire department.

07:25. The Town of Dalton

Dalton proved to be a well manicured town with a short section of original buildings on main street shown in the second picture. As in other towns that have have lost their old Main Street these buildings were filled with small shops such as nail salons. We turned to the left, crossed a river and then found a coffee shop that also made sandwiches. We were set for the day. 

09:00. A Trail Runs Through It

He’s a T markers have been used in towns like Hot Springs, North Carolina and Damascus, Virginia. We once again found them place in the sidewalk of the street leading out of the town of Dalton.

09:13. The Fitch-Hoose House

I guess this house is placed on the national register of historic places simply because it’s old.

12:05. Gore Pond

I am finding that sitting on the edge of these small ponds seem to be the most relaxing way to have my lunch. Luckily the last few days 12 o’clock seems to find me at one of these ponds. It was no different today. I sat down and ate the sandwich that I had purchased that morning in Dalton.

12:41. Ecological Mess or Beautiful Nature?

Sometimes these ecological beauties are not beautiful at all. As I walked by these areas they appear to be stagnant water, downed trees, beaver dams, and a wide collection of mud. They do provide, however, a wonderful environment for wildlife and there is seldom a place like this that isn’t teamed with birds, frogs and turtles.

13:56. Cheshire Cobble Overlook

Another cobble allowed me to get a good view of Cheshire from above.. It would be our home for the evening.

19:12. Father Tom Campsite

This campsite was created in the memory of the local priest who was an avid hiker and who worked for years helping hikers if they came through his town. They were always allowed to camp on church property and he did everything within his power to provide for them. After his death several in the church worked to create this campsite on what has been a municipal lot that basically was a construction site. They have created thick green grass, picnic tables, power supply, bicycles for transport, and bathroom facilities. That doesn’t mean that the site is free from detractors from within the community. Hopefully the area will remain open but I can tell you that even on the night we were there several came in late drinking and making noise well after quiet time. In the morning Hawkeye found beer cans on the lot and he spent some time picking up their leftover trash. Unfortunately we will not be there in the future to clean up after these inconsiderate hikers.

19:30. SAS: (Slow and Steady). Emergency Room Nurse from SC

This is SAS who is a travel nurse and is presently working in Charleston, South Carolina as a hospice nurse. She has had extensive work as an emergency room nurse in Charleston, New Orleans, and in Florida. She has been intent on completing the Appalachian Trail which she began in 2019. Besides working and hiking the AT she is in school working to become certified as a nurse practitioner.

Hawkeye, Landslide, SAS and I ate at the Bass Grill that night so all of us retired to our tents or hammock well fed and ready to tackle the climb up Mt Greylock.

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