July 4: Day 1. North Adams, MA, to Seth Warner Shelter, 7.2 miles

Big Cranky at the Vermont border and the southern terminus of the Long Trail.

DF: Today’s word of the day: rain. All day. Steady. Sometimes lighter, sometimes very heavy, never stopping. And rain on the trail means mud. Trail-wide, ankle-deep puddles, with mud that can pull the shoes off of your feet.

The forecast was for rain in the morning, ending early afternoon, so we decided that a late start would be a good idea. We slept in and had breakfast at the hotel. (We had hoped to go to a local coffee shop, but they were closed for the holiday.) Ken asked at the front desk about getting a ride to the trail, and the hotel maintenance guy took us to the trail on his way to the hardware store. Gotta love serendipity.

The trail started along the sidewalk, then we crossed the road at a light and arrived at a footbridge over the Hoosic River. Once over the bridge, we turned down another residential street, then up someone’s driveway and into the woods. And uphill. Steeply. Did I mention that it was raining?

The trail is beautiful–lots of beech and maple trees, with some birch and some conifers, and a carpet of ferns below. Other than the mud, the trail surface is about the same as we’ve found in other areas on the Appalachian Trail. One notable exception was a scramble up the face of a rockfall. That was fun. We hit two small summits, but they were both socked in with clouds, so we had no views.

All in all, we walked just over seven miles in four and a half hours today, including short breaks. We didn’t stop for long because…it was raining, and we got cold quickly when we stopped moving. We set up our tent near the shelter–there were several long distance hikers holed up in the shelter, so we decided we needed our own space. We’re heading up there shortly, to try to make dinner under a roof.

We’re fine with a short day starting out. We’re here for the long haul, so it’s good to take it easy at the beginning. It’s supposed to clear up tomorrow (but the forecast hasn’t been real accurate do far). I do hope it dries out tomorrow, though, since pretty much everything is soaking wet.

BC: Raining all night so we got a late start and did a short day. Rained heavily all morning, and everything is pretty well soaked. Steep climb to the state line (about 1700 feet.) Set up our tent behind the shelter after the rain ended.

BC at the big mud puddle in front of the terminus sign.
DF and BC at the start of the hike in North Adams, MA.


Dragonfly on the trail on Day 1.