June 29th
S of S Mt Wilcox Shelter(1527.9)-Wash Mtn Rd/Cookie Lady House(1555.7) Massachusetts

Elevation chart courtesy of Guthook’s AT Hiker app. He has apps for many trails including the PCT and CDT.

So the goal for today was to slow down a bit…um, that didn’t quite happen. I was awake at 5:10am…wide awake. I tried to lay there and did some emailing and was hiking by 6:40am. I just really like morning hiking and I figured I’d get a good start and then relax at camp early if the miles are easier. I plan to meet a friend (it’s a surprise for readers) the day after tomorrow so I’m on a somewhat relaxed schedule to hit town at the right time. The plan was to do about 25mi. I realize this isn’t low for most, but 25mi tends to be relaxing for me depending on the terrain. I set out hiking leisurely, and it was pretty good terrain today with good trail to cruise a lot of the day. It was also cloudy all day and in the low 70s, so really good hiking weather. The early morning was in some nice pine forests.

There were many frogs, toads, and newts to step around in the morning too. I couldn’t get a good toad picture as they won’t stay still long enough. This is the best I got. They were all sizes too.

The trail then descended to more buggy and marshy trail for the rest of the day. The mosquitoes weren’t horrible and I was able to hike without deet today, but I couldn’t stand still for long if I wanted to keep them off me.

It was a very monotonous day in forest with few views and some ponds. At least it was good trail. I saw almost no one all day. Just some day hikers and then a couple thrus as I passed a shelter at the end of the day so maybe 2mins total of seeing other people. I like having the trail to myself, but on a boring day like today some distraction would have been nice. I listened to music much of the day and some of the audiobook of Night Circus, which is okay so far.

By the time I hit lunch, I realized I’d gone much faster than I expected. I got lucky and found a spot without bugs for lunch, so I took a nice long break and was able to get some phone calls and emails done. It was so nice out with a breeze that I actually had goosebumps at times. I was so comfortable, I was temped to take a nap, which I never do.

I ended up hiking on and realized around 3pm that I was going to get to my planned campsite really early. I had gotten a message from ChinMusic, who hiked the trail last year, that I should go by the Cookie Lady’s house and that they gave out cookies and water and had snacks to buy. Plus, they allowed camping at their blueberry farm. I saw that it was less than two miles further north and decided to camp there instead. I was pumped after that decision and was in the zone the last three hours of the day. I just really needed something to break the monotony and was excited to get out of the woods and actually see the sky for a night. The last couple hours of hiking had a lot more marsh with squishy mud, wet roots, rocks, and wobbly planks. It slowed me a bit, but was something to do at least.

I made it to the Cookie Lady’s house and three other thrus were there camping for the night. Others do exist! This is Shortcut, Pelzer, and Hiker Monkey.

It is a great spot! Cookie man came out and brought us a basket of homemade cookies. I didn’t get to meet Cookie Lady.

Then I bought a lemonade, two eggs, and a Klondike bar. Totally hit the spot! It was nice to sit in lounge chairs when I made dinner too. I was so glad I made the choice to come here as there were also hardly any mosquitoes and it was far more relaxing.

In talking with the other hikers lately, this seems to be the lull before the more challenging final 500mi. We really hope it improves scenically as it makes the days seem longer when it’s just woods and mosquitoes all day. We agreed that it’s not good when the best things lately are the towns and the highlight of the day is cookies and a Klondike bar. It really was the best part of the whole day. Well, it’s nice and cool again tonight so I’m excited for another good night of sleep.

The only drawback is the dew as everything is already wet. My strategy is to put all my stuff sacks in my backpack to keep some things dry. Looks like I’ll have a wet tent and possibly sleeping bag to dry out at lunch tomorrow. Oh yay, something to do!

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