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MLK Hike - 2023

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    • So I had some thought to head to Bigelow Hollow SP tonight, but it is still snowing a bit here so I'll play it safe and head out in the morning.

      I'm looking at the temperature map and this may be rain (or at least drizzle) at the park. A little coating of white to make things pretty would be nice, but I'm not expecting it. I will put the micro spikes in my trunk just in case I need them, but Saturday looks nice enough. A little cooler than they said earlier in the week with a low of 23 at night.

      Laz & Lou. What time do you think you will get there? Shall we meet at the shelter?

      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”

      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • So I think I will get to the parking spot around noon.
      I think I might hike the ridge trail around the lake and get to the shelter later in the afternoon?
      I will call it when I get there.

      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”

      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • Took a walk this weekend...

      I pulled into the Bigelow Hollow State Park road just before noon. Laz arrived at exactly the same time. Laz elected to hike a bit of a loop to get to 'East Shelter,' I took the direct trail since I was carrying some weight (a bundle of logs for a fire).

      This State Park is very pretty!

      Breakneck Pond

      There was just enough snow the night before to glaze the area with a layer of white. On the way in I met many local dog walkers enjoying the trails. They seemed surprised to see me outfitted for the night and asked, "You can camp here?" "Yup, if you get a permit." There was one group of four guys with backpacks I met who planned on camping at the other shelter.

      When I got to East Shelter, Coach Lou was already there. I had planned on dropping my weight and going for a hike, but the conversation with Lou was good, so I stayed. Eventually Laz finished his loop and joined us. We talked some more and set up camp.

      My hang. Some hangs seem more conferrable than others. This was a really good one.

      Eventually I did get a bit of a hike in. I couldn't find my hat! Normally I would not fuss to much about it, but this was a special hat to me, my 'hand knit' merino wool beanie by MountainGoat. MountainGoat no longer knits hats (she is doing trail-cam photography of Big Cats), so this hat is the last of its kind. I hiked back to my car to look for it. It was not there, but it turns out it was right where I left it, home on the kitchen counter.

      I visited with the other group that was staying at 'South Shelter.' They were frying up some bacon on a cast iron skillet and having a good time for themselves. By the time I got back it was getting dark. We spent the evening enjoying the company and had a campfire. I had hoped I could impress my friends with a traditional 'Sharing of the Cheese' ceremony. I had made a Brie wrapped in phyllo dough with raspberry jam and wrapped it in Aluminum foil. I had hoped ten minutes on the hot coals of the campfire would make it soft and melty like it should be, but instead I charred it and the rest of it stayed stiff in the freezing cold. I need to come up with a better cheese plan next time.

      I slept very soundly that night. It was perhaps in the mid-twenties, one of the warmest MLK get-togethers I have experienced. I will tell you about day two in the next post.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”

      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • MLK Hike Day 2:

      The next morning we chatted, did out packing, and some group photos. Since there was no-one there to take a picture of the three of us, Laz photoshopped us together...

      Laz, Scotty & Lou: Photo by Laz

      Eventually, Laz and I said our goodbyes to Lou, and headed north along the pond.

      The trails here are really pretty. Lots of Mountain Laurel and Hemlock forest.

      I was surprised that the trail took me back to Massachusetts. I am not sure if the State Park extends into Mass., but the northern end of Breakneck Pond does.

      Laz crossing the treacherous icy log over Breakneck Stream. "They don't call it Breakneck Stream for nuthin!"

      I survived the crossing too! (Photo by Laz).
      Here I have to confess, there was a wire going across that you could hold onto to make things easier :)

      Laz and I hiked the West Ridge Trail on the other side of the pond looking for something called 'Cat Rocks.' We wanted to see those legendary Connecticut Catamounts! We did not think we could find them, but if you are reading this Laz, I leave that whole boulder strewn ridge we climbed was that they call Cat Rocks.

      At the top of the ridge, Laz and I parted ways. I wish I had taken more photos to share, because again the forest was very pretty.

      This trip did not have many of miles, but there were plenty of smiles. I probably did five on the first day and six on the second. One more stop at BT's BBQ in Sturbridge, MA on the ride home and another fine (not quite) MLK weekend was in the wraps.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”

      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • CoachLou wrote:

      I've also got my eye on a new winter Pad. Thermarest has 2 thick warm ones that I've got my eye on. My neo was pretty flat on Sunday morning. They have have a 4" thick that is 3.7 rated and a 3" rated to 7.9.....both can come 25" wide!
      I've got the Neo Air XTherm and I never feel the cold from the ground. I don't remember the R value but it's high enough, for me at least.
    • Great report Scotty! And beautiful pics. Thanks for those of us midwesterners and southerners who are too far away to come winter backpacking/camping with you hardy yanks (or should I say New Englanders).

      A little laugh at the hat incident. I've done similar with other objects, normally my phone.

      The Sharing of the Cheese sounds like it would be delicious.
    • Hey Scotty! I just realized that I never got back to that final invite for the trip and wanted to apologize.

      That was the week that my youngest (3 y/o) had her tonsils removed and got ear plugs, so I had a bit too much chaos on my hands to even think about the trip. Fortunately she's back to her normal smiley self and is already breathing much easier thanks to the surgery. :)
      Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.