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Map and Guide Book: New Hampshire-Vermont Appalachian Trail Guide
Parking: We got a shuttle to Stratton Arlington Road and left our car at Route 9.
Directions: Goddard Shelter south to Route 9
I slept a little cold last night. The low temp in Bennington was supposed to be 55, but our shelter was on top of a mountain, so I assume it was cooler. I wasn't so cold that I didn't sleep though. My sleeping bag is rated for 20 degrees I think, but I'm still trying to figure out how to regulate my temperature better when sleeping.
I also had problems in that we were sleeping on the slightest of inclines. My sleeping pad slide to the bottom of the tent and my feet were pressing up against the tent wall. This was the flattest tent site we found though. I'm sure others had it much worse. I was very happy that all of our neighbors were quiet last night! My new silicone earplugs were not working well, but it was pretty quiet out there.
Glen was very eager to get started early this morning to try to beat the rain as much as possible. I never thought I'd see the day when he was urging me awake at 5:20 AM (sunrise) to go hiking! I was concerned about making noise that early packing up, but it turns out we weren't even the first ones awake. Others were starting to pack up at the same time. I had a really hard time getting out of my cozy sleeping bag. I didn't want to put on my damp hiking clothes (mostly my shoes & socks). Then I realized that today was our last hiking day, so I could hike out in my dry sleep clothes!
We don't have a morning "routine" down. I was hoping that I would be woken up to a cup of already made steaming hot coffee. That didn't happen, LOL. So we packed up and then made breakfast. I also wasn't sure what was proper etiquette for cooking at a shelter that early in the morning. It wasn't raining, but if it was, it might have been nice to actually cook with a roof over you. We thought about skipping breakfast and just eating energy bars, but I decided having warm food to start of the day would be more motivating. So I had my coffee and we split some muesli mixed with hot water. We figured out it took us 1 hour and 25 minutes to get going. Wow that is slow.
We headed out, and it was nice once the caffeine kicked in and my motion warmed me up. It was a cool, windy day and the bugs weren't out when we started out at 6:45. The trail also seemed a little less muddy than yesterday. We had a nice hike, and then the rain eventually started. I got chilled again. I had brought a lightweight pair of gloves (no rain mitts), but my gloves were buried in my clothing bag in my backpack, and I didn't feel like pulling them out. So my hands were freezing. We crossed paths with thru hikers most of who were wearing shorts! I would be miserable in shorts! I was hiking with winter weight running tights + rain pants.
The trail heading down to Route 9 was steep and rocky, with several rock steps. I had to slow way down, trying not to fall on the wet rocks and mud. I did manage to fall a couple of times, but no damage done. We got back to our car much earlier than expected, so had to rearrange our dog pickup time.
We stopped in Great Barrington for a late lunch. First we tried the Food Coop, which was closed for the holiday. Then we tried locating a newer vegetarian restaurant called Elixir but couldn't find it. Then we tried Marten's, but Martens is gone! We are so sad, as we have been visiting this diner for many years on our trips to the Berkshires. It was our standard vegan friendly place to go for breakfast, and we both really liked it. We read that they had been in business for 27 years and gave up after an insurance battle over a kitchen fire. We will really miss this place! The next place we tried was the vegan friendly Riverbend Café. They had a sign that they are closed forever! We were striking out. So we went next door and got falafel at Nadja's, a place we've also eaten at a few times. I'm hoping that Great Barrington is not going downhill economically, because this is a town with some great eating options.
After this trip, we are again refining our hiking gear based on our experience. One particular challenge I have is reducing volume. I could barely rollover the top of my trash compactor liner. I am way under the max load limit for my pack, but fitting everything in is a challenge. If we work our way up to longer trips, that means more food than we were carrying.
Not many photos today, because of the rain.