North Adams, Massachusetts
I never really knew how hard Massachusetts is to spell. Those Massachusetts spelling bee kids—they must be tough!
So here I am. The highlight of the day was a visit from the amazing Javelin! Javelin is a ’13er who got off the trail early for medical reasons, but he’s been a trail angel throughout my hike. He sent me his phone charger when I started to use the phone for everything. He sent me Aqua Mira when I was drinking brown water in the Hundred. You’ve been a great friend, Javelin. Thank you! I hope you make it back to the trail!
So I got up before dark. Ironically, last night I slept fairly well; it must have been warmer last night. At about dawn I hit the trail, and I was booking. I wanted that package of delicious, delicious warmth.
At 8:34, I crossed the state line. Goodbye, Vermont! Hello, Massachusetts!
At first the terrain was similiar. If anything, Mass was prettier because of the brook that rambled next to the trail. And almost immediately there was less mud.
The weather was overcast and cool… gray as Paul Revere’s silver. Eventually the ground took a turn for the rougher. I came to a long descent of rock that reminded me of Pennsylvania.
Remember how I joked once that I’d seen every critter except a porcupine? Well, don’t you know, halfway down that boulder scramble I saw something flicker out to the right.
It was a porcupine.
I kid you not. An actual, living, breathing porcupine! The thing is… we don’t have wild porcupines in Philadelphia. Moose, bear… I’d done a little research and had some prior experience. But I knew nothing about porcupines. Let me share my ignorance!
I thought porcupines were the size of… well, squirrels. Ha! Turns out they’re huge! Bigger than fat cats! They have black faces and they look a little like baboons. And lest you think I stumbled onto an escaped baboon, I used the camera’s fake zoom to get a pic (I’ll insert the fake zoom and also the Where’s Waldo version below). I wasn’t sure how close I could get or even whether they shoot from the front or the back; I declined to take any chances.
After the porcupinage, I went another couple of miles and met Javelin, who hiked up to meet me. He drove me into town where I picked up my raging box of warmth (thanks, Javelin; and thank you, my brother!). Javelin and I had a fantastic lunch, then I found a place to hole up and charge up, and here I am.
No laundry, alas, so I’ll be hitting the trail stinky in the morning. But that’s OK. My priority is to move my feet!
I’m on a deadline. Can you hear the clock ticking? When push comes to shove, I may be the last ’13er standing.