(By Steve) I was excited to learn that the the Appalachian Trail was only a few miles from where we planned to stay in Lee, Massachusetts. After researching, I found a section of trail that was the length I wanted to hike that also crossed the road, for easy access. I started on Rt 23 just east of the town of Great Barrington. The local trail club had left free water that was labeled for thru-hikers. I had only brought two water bottles because I thought there would be places to refill my bottles, just like my first hike. In hindsight, I wished I had picked up one of those bottles, or listened to Linda's advice and brought more water with me! I guess she is a pretty smart woman; she chose me, after all! ;).[She is also an excellent editor]
It was a peaceful morning for a hike. I started the trail at 8:30, heading North towards the hamlet of Tyringham 12.3 miles away. The trail immediately went uphill. Unlike my first experience with the trail, I pretty much had the whole thing to myself. I thought that I might see more people on a Saturday, but I only saw one other hiker on the trail over the course of the whole day! I did see a group camping at the one of the shelters that I checked out, however. The thru hiker I met was a 39 yr old who was hiking while between jobs. He said he left Georgia in April and will complete the whole thing in 4.5 months. He said he often hikes 25 miles a day. I was very impressed!
|Great to hit the trail again.|
|I loved the way the early morning sun shone through the trees.|
The trail crossed the road a few times, but then headed deep into a state forest. Unlike the first time, I didn't see hardly any wildlife besides one snake and plenty of birds. There was one large hill that I climbed, but after I started heading downhill, it was clear that the downhill was much longer and steeper. The entire stretch was clearly a negative elevation hike.
|Much of the trail was protected by boards|
|This lake clearly was much bigger at one point in time.|
For lunch, I took a break along a small natural lake that ran along the trail. I passed the time listening to sermons from my Texas church, in addition to educational podcasts relating to my career. After lunch, I started getting thirsty and finished all of my water with about 4 miles to go. I had hoped to find water at campsites, but the only sources I found required a water filter, which I hadn't brought with me.
|I ate my lunch on this rock.|
|This is the only view that could be had from the top of the highest point.|
It was about 3PM when I reached the end in the pretty little village of Tyringham. Linda and the kids were waiting for me at the playground. I was so thirsty that I drank a whole Nalgene bottle of water straight away! It was a great hike, even prettier than the section I hiked in Shenandoah National Park.
|The trail broke through the forest into open fields which was a nice change.|
|The countryside here in the Berkshires of Massachusetts reminds me of when we visited Slovenia in Europe.|
|Just 1.1 miles to go. The post and board are used for hikers to step over the barbed wire fence.|