Saturday, April 25, 2020
Start: Rt 20, Pittsfield, MA, southern terminus of the trail
End: Rt 346, Petersburg, NY, northern terminus of the trail
After getting up a little before 4am, I was on the road by 4:15am, driving to drop off a water cache on my way to the northern terminus. I dropped my car off there around 6:45am and my partner picked me up and drove me to the southern terminus of the trail. I started running at 7:15am. I made it to Berry Pond by 9:15am, where I filtered 1 liter of water.
I made it to Rt 43 by 10:30am, after passing through a construction zone and jogging along a road with farms on each side. At the creek by Rt 43, I filtered another 1 liter of water. The sun was out and I felt warm, but with my sleeves rolled up, I could feel my skin burning even under the layer of sunscreen. I decided to leave my long sleeve shirt on, despite the heat, to protect my skin.
After crossing the road and hiking uphill on a paved road that slowly turned to dirt path, I reentered the woods into the 16 mile section before my water cache. Partway through this section, I realized that I had neglected to bring enough food, and that I only had 4 snacks left; I squirreled them away to eat a bit later, but that error made running harder and me a lot more tired.
At 1:30pm, I passed by a weak trickle of a spring, clearly only running in the spring and with recent rain. Since I’d run out of water more than half an hour before and I had many miles to go before my cache, I stopped and filtered a liter of water. I probably should have filtered more, but I felt the pull to keep moving. A little before this, I tripped and ate some dirt, sliding on my hands and knees for a bit before stopping. At least the ground was soft, so there was only mud and no blood.
I reached the summit of Berlin mountain by 3:40pm, took some pictures, dodged people, and kept moving towards the road crossing and my water. This section of trail around the road crossing were the busiest of the entire TCT. I saw at least two dozen people out hiking; comparatively, I saw 6 people on the rest of the trail combined.
I passed over Rt 2 and found my water cache exactly where I’d hidden it, untouched despite the dozens of people. I wandered up the trail, and found a nice private spot off to the side with a breeze and a bench. I was struggling with nausea and didn’t want to drink water, though I knew that meant I really needed water. I forced myself to sit down and rest for half an hour, cooling off and eating one of my last snacks. I made a bargain with myself that I could take my trekking poles out and quickly hike the remaining 7 miles. It would use different muscles than running and would be psychologically easier and less likely for me to fall and get hurt; I also figured that at that point, I’d hike just as fast as I would run.
I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and enjoyed my last snacks and fresh water through the last miles. They were easier miles and I made good time, arriving back at my car at 7:30pm. Then it was time to change into dry clothes and snack in the car for the 1.75 hr drive home.