Images from
this date

What You

Progress Map

Other Images

Contact Gonzo!


Aug 8 , 1983 Monday (605.9 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Awoke naturally this morning at about 6:15 am. Ate, packed and left - I had the routine down now. From Dalton the trail continued through non-descript areas for the next seven miles with the exception of "The Cobbles," a series of rocky outcrops that provided a view into the Housatonic River Valley on the left, and Cheshire below to the north. I strolled into Cheshire and headed straight for the post office. This was a business day, not a stopover for the day. My business was much more than I had expected. I received more packages than I had ever received in one town today. Seemed as though everyone decided to send something to me at this Massachusetts trail town. Jim had sent me his radio, but I had just bought one yesterday so I sent his back. Dave Szabo went to the outdoor store in Carbondale and bought me a new set of shoulder straps after I told him about my repairs back in Connecticut, so he had enclosed them in a package along with a pair of new wool socks. I discovered $5.00 tucked inside one of the socks - what a guy. Mom was able to get my boots there in time, I packaged up my old ones, along with some of the extra food that I had been sent, and forwarded it all to West Hartford, Vermont just in case the new boots did not work out. A list of some of the many items that I received in just one of the packages can be seen here. Two of the most important items were the guidebook for Vermont, and the first part of New Hampshire.

I must have called Mom to let her know everything had arrived as planned. Her record shows a call from Adams, Massachusetts, just up the road a few miles. I suppose Cheshire was, at that time, in their calling area according to the phone company. I informed her that I would be climbing Mount Greylock today, the highest peak in Massachusetts. We also did logistic planning on future mail drops at Glencliff, NH in particular, where I asked her to send six packs of some sort of supper, 12 packs of oatmeal, candy bars, and two rolls of film. Since I was forewarding extra food, etc. to West Hartford, Vt, there was no need to have anything sent to Norwich, Vt, or Hanover, NH even though they were close, or actually on the trail. She also told me that some of the Agfa slides came in Saturday, two days ago (I believe these may have been slides that were sent, by me, straight to the developer, and then after processing, sent to my home address). We talked for 27 minutes (cost $8.63) which was a long time considering I was intent on getting in and out of the town in a short time. (notes from mom) On the back of her page of notes for the day, she wrote that I liked the Pecan cookies, probably some of those Keebler Pecan Sandies that she had sent. Another part of the note mentions 15 snacks for 5 days, so I guess I was eating three snacks per day at this time. (see note back)

With all my business concluded, I slipped on my "new" hiking boots and set out for Greylock. As I walked out of town the boots seemed to be working out just fine except for the spot on the back of my Achilles tendon where I had a swollen spot from what appeared to be some kind of bite - spider or insect. It happened to be right where the collar of the boot hit my leg and irritated the bitten area somewhat.

I made Greylock before four o'clock after seven miles of substantial uphill climbing. Real mountain terrain was almost upon us once again. There was an elevation change of 2500 feet from Cheshire to Greylock summit. At this elevation the smell of Christmas returned with the Balsam trees near the summit. There are so many side trails and mountain road crossings in this area that hikers wanting to stay on the A.T. have to keep an eye out for white blazes more than normal in order to stay on the correct trail.

At the summit stands the Massachusetts War Memorial, a large stone tower that resembles a lighthouse. I believe the structure was intended to be used as a lighthouse, but then someone decided that the memorial should be located on the state's tallest mountain, Greylock. Bascomb Lodge is also on the summit, where hikers can pay a fee and have supper and a spot in the bunkhouse for the night. I had only traveled nine miles to get to the summit, but when I learned that I could help out in the kitchen in return for food and lodging, I decided to stay. This is the first of a series of Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) mountain huts that I would encounter between now and Maine, and I was off to a good start at securing free lodging and food in exchange for labor. Usually they have you picking up trash outside, and then helping with the dishes after the meal. Generally not too strenuous, and worth the effort involved to get a good hearty meal. I remember the rolled oats oatmeal breakfast with the brown sugar added. The best oatmeal on the trail. Sure beats that instant stuff.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

Next From the Beginning