Mark Noepel Shelter(1583.0) to Williamstown, MA(192.6) 9.6 Miles
Well, my ambitious plan was not to be. I was going to hike up to the summit of Mt. Greylock to watch the sunrise. In order for that to happen, I had to wake up at 2:30 and hike 3.3 miles in the dark. The only problem was that when I woke up and got out of my hammock it was much darker than I had expected. It was pitch black! I couldn't even find my shoes without my headlamp because there was no moon. I quickly reassesed my plan and decided it wasn't smart to hike up a steep mountain with no moonlight to help guide the way. I crawled back into my sleeping bag and tried to go back to sleep, but I was very disappointed that it didn't work out. I dozed off and on until 5:15, when I decided it was time to get up. I was out of camp at 5:55, a personal record for me, and a very Airlock-type start to my day. On the way out of the shelter I checked my emails. HVAC and Lorax had emailed me last night to say that they were camped near the summit! They are behind me in trail mileage, but by coincidence were in the area visiting family. We made arraignments to meet at the Bascom Lodge on top of Mt. Greylock for breakfast. If my sunrise plan had come to fruition, I would have missed the opportunity to see them. I practically flew up the mountain I was so excited. All disappointment from missing the sunrise had disappeared.
I made it to the summit by 7:30, so I had thirty minutes to enjoy the view before they showed up at the lodge. Oh boy, what a view it was. I could see all the way into Vermont and New Hampshire. The Veterans War Memorial tower at the top of the summit was closed for renovations, but it was still cool to look at.
After taking in the view I walked back to the lodge to meet, HVAC and Lorax. The lodge was built in the 30's by the CCC.
HVAC, Lorax, and I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with, Flask, No One, and Chizzlin Cheswick(they had previously met early on in their hike). It was great to catch up and reminence about old times.
After a few hours it was time to say goodbye. They had more family to visit and I had more miles to go. I was sad to see them go, but I know our paths will cross again someday.
A short time later I came upon some random trail magic at the summit of Mt. Williams. A shopping bag full of honeybuns and pop tarts was propped up against a tree. I snagged the last honeybun, took a quick look at the view and hiked on.
I had one more steep, but short climb up to Mt. Prospect. I was happy to get another spectacular view from the ledges there.
To make it to my end destination, Williamstown, I had a long three mile descent. Some parts were extremely steep and by the end my knees and feet were screaming.
Very long and steep descent
I made it down the mountain with no issues. I came out of the woods and was greeted with more trail magic, Weedeaters family had left a cooler full of sodas and snacks. Thanks, the Dr. Pepper really hit the spot. Then I had a half mile road walk down a residential street. The home owners here have an amazing view of Mt. Greylock. I wonder if they realize how lucky they are to have this gem in their backyard?
I had made a reservation at the Williamstown Motel. I chose to stay there because not only would they do my laundry for me, but they picked me up at the trailhead. Ever since Airlock's creepy hitchhiking experience, I'm very weary of hitching. The owner picked me up within minutes of me calling. Before I knew it was checking into my room. I had a fantastic shower before dropping off my stinky clothes for him to wash. The seven days without doing laundry tied my previous record. While I waited for my laundry to be done I caught up on emails and took care of cleaning some of my gear. Once my laundry was finished I walked across the street to, Despardos, the local Mexican restaurant.
I have heard that they are extremely hiker friendly and I wasn't disappointed. The bartender was very friendly and made me an excellent margarita. My dinner was equally as amazing and the owner comped half off from my tab because I'm a thru-hiker. I used a gift card from Dan and Arlene Williams to pay for the other half.
Tomorrow I'll enjoy a zero day in town to celebrate my birthday! It will be my first zero day since Harpers Ferry, over 500 miles ago and I can't wait.
"I learned there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead, others come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see. Now my troubles are going to have trouble with me.”
– Dr. Seuss