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Appalachian Trail: North Adams to Great Barrington Massachusetts

Date: July 14-21

Trip length: Four days of hiking along with three days of travel on a Greyhound Bus.

Conditions: 70-90 degrees during the day accompanied by slight breezes and plenty of shade. Rain storms during one day and two nights. Temperatures at night ranged from low 40s to mid 60s depending on elevation.

Distance: 63.6 miles.

Distance from Cincinnati: North Adams is an eleven and a half hour drive.mtgrey-summit

Directions: I71 N – I271 N – I90 E – NY 7 E – NY 2 E – Phelps Ave in North Adams Mass.
The trail head is on the left side of Phelps Ave. up the hill past the elementary school.

Water: Sources are plentiful along this stretch. I was able to fill up multiple times a day while only carrying one liter at a time. All sources must be filtered but water from town was often available. The AWOL AT Guide provides all specific locations for water sources.

Highlights: Mt. Greylock, The Cobbles, St. Mary of the Assumption Church Hostel, Upper Goose Pond Cabin, Great Barrington, Tom Levardi’s house in Dalton, and the North Bound Hikers.

Levardi House

 

 

 

 

 

Description: Lying in the heart of New England, the Massachusetts section of the Appalachian Trail is highly developed. Every day you cross multiple roads and walk through towns such as North Adams, Cheshire, and Dalton. Opportunities to hitch into towns just a few miles off trail are plentiful. The terrain varies from steep climbs to astonishingly flat.

Day One: (14.7 miles) Hiking this section south bound (SOBO) means your first day will spent climbing over Massachusetts highest peak, Mt. Greylock, which stands at 3,491 ft. The climb is about 6 miles to the peak from the trail head in North Adams. Over those 6 miles you ascend 2800 feet with the bulk of that elevation gain achieved in the first stmarythree miles. Once you summit the climb down leads you into the town of Cheshire. St. Mary of the Assumption church allows hikers to stay in two rooms at the rear of the building. AC is provided in the building as well as restrooms and water. The church accepts donations for the generous service they provide.

Day Two: (15.2 miles) Leaving Cheshire you face some pretty casual terrain. Although the elevation profile shows rolling hills and flat terrain, beware that the trail is full of rocks and roots to dodge as you plod along. The A.T. winds it’s ways straight through the town of Dalton where Tom Levardi lives. Tom has been allowing hikers to grab water and even camp at his house for years. Levardi House.jpg2Many hikers congregate at his house to relax and enjoy good conversation. Ask him about borrowing a bike so you can ride to Angelina’s Sub Shop for their Steak Bomb Overload. But watch out you might not want to move for the rest of the day if you eat the whole thing! If you can muster the energy though, Kay Wood shelter is three miles up hill outside of town. There are small stealth camp sites by the streams seven and a half miles south of Dalton.

Day Three: (14.7 miles) All the way to Upper Goose Pond Cabin the trail is incredibly flat. This is a very relaxed day that ends at one of the best shelters along the A.T. The Cabin is half of a mile off the trail but well worth the trek. The caretakers at Upper Goose serve pancakes and coffee for breakfast every morning. Canoes are also provided at the cabin to explore Upper Goose Pond which has a cool little island out in the middle of the pond. The cabin is a big attraction for hikers so if you choose to stay, the likelihood of you running into thru hikers is very high. The goosecabin provides another great place for conversation and a taste of thru hiking culture.

Day Four: (19.0 miles) Between Upper Goose Pond and MA 23 (the road you take to hitch into Great Barrington) the trail picks up in elevation gain. You climb over a few hills including Mt. Wilcox which has three shelter options. Views are sparse and the sounds of the woods will be your entertainment for the day. Apart from the beauty of the woods there isn’t much to see but Great Barrington is a fantastic town! Restaurants such as the Neighborhood Diner, Siam Square, and the Gypsy Joint are great places to have a meal while celebrating the end of your section.  Great Barrington has shuttle services that can take you to The Cookie Lady on Washington Mtn Rd. From there The Cookie Lady can shuttle you back to North Adams to grab your car and head home. Massachusetts

 

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Southbound: episode 8

October 30th 2006
Written by: Bryan Wolf and Joe White

I know its only been 3 days since you heard from us last, but we made another pit stop. We are staying with a family that we had met coming down Mt. Washington 3 weeks ago. They have been absolutely wonderful, very hospitable. We had a great dinner and we got to watch some football too. Two days ago, we crossed over into Massachusetts , our 4th state. We had to hitch into North Adams to pick up our mail-drop at the post office. We didn’t think anyone would pick us up because it had been raining so hard and we were soaked, but we were wrong. While we were in the post office sorting our packages, two different people had come up to us offering rides back to the trail. We hit the trail and hiked another 7 miles to a shelter and called it a day.Appalachian Trail View

It had been raining for the past 24 hrs and wasn’t letting up. A lot of our gear got soaked and to top it off, the shelter leaked really bad. The wind was also blowing rain into the shelter, so it was impossible to stay completely dry. There was some uno cards left in the shelter, so Ice Man taught me how to play gin with a deck of UNO cards. The following day, yesterday, we climbed Mt. Greylock , our last peak above 3000 ft until we get down into Virginia . There was snow, ice, and the winds were blowing around 80 mile and hour on top of Greylock.Kilington Memorial

It was definitely an adrenaline rush. We ended up doing 20 miles into Dalton that day. We are hoping to be in Salisbury , CT by Friday I think. The weather is suppose to be dry, but the nights are suppose to dip below freezing, gotta love it.  Happy Halloween everyone.

This exert was originally published on atwishhikers.com. It’s content has not been edited from the original post.

Epilogue:
by: Bryan Wolf

Coming down from Mt. Washington is when we met the Matty family. At first it was our high spirits and large packs that caught their eye I’m sure. I suppose they could of just caught our stench coming down the mountain. When we stopped to chat however they were most intrigued about our work with the Make A Wish Foundation, since they themselves had worked with that group before. In just minutes they were giving us a business card with phone numbers for when we got to the Massachusetts and Connecticut area. Amazing that in minutes it all transpired, and weeks later the offer still stood.

The wind on Greylock was pretty amazing. 80 miles can be hard to imagine, but when we were up there it was tough to stand. The monument and area around it completely exposed us for a little while.  You can drive to the top and I believe there is even a lodge during the warmer months. There was one man that braved the elements and drove to the top that day, and I would say it was very ill advised.  He had a little girl with him, maybe 5 or 6 years old. She got out of the car and hit the ice around the monument, it a quick second she was being blown across the monument with her slippery feet still below her. Her dad chased her down as she began to cry and scream. We would of helped but Joe was bush chasing his pack cover into the brush. (Osprey puts a button tab there for a reason)

I feel like this was the most spoiled, and lazy part of the trail for us. You’ll see why in future posts, but this was the beginning of even more hot meals, bedrooms, and hospitality.

No complaints.