Summary: hike 14.5 mi (2.1 mph) to Silver Hill Campsite along Housatonic River
I had a good sound sleep. I woke up only once at 03:23 and put on Patagonia fleece, but the night was warm and pleasant.
05:43 wake up in my hammock. Mosquitoes are just beginning to wake up as well. Breakfast with Grape Nuts, dried fruits, and cold water.
08:01 all is ready, packed and I am ready to start hiking. It took a long time this morning to break the camp. Sun is hazy today and rain forecasted to start at 7AM tomorrow.
08:32 Take a break on a high perch with a view. Time for Duolingo and other morning routines. The gorgeous first morning in the woods feels like the very beginning of the trip. It is hard to believe that it will last only a day.
09:56 I am startled by a large, long (over a yard or one meter long) black snake. It slowly moved away from the path, and I had plenty of time to take pictures, examine its habitat and even take some rest.
|There is plenty of fresh air, and there is plenty of space to observe the surroundings
|Connecticut black snake – or Eastern Rat Snake. They do not want to interact with humans.
10:27 Mt. Algo Shelter. I am beginning to skip the trail deviations to focus on making progress toward the end goal of the day.
10:42 – 11:06 – 3.7 mi – I am at the bench on route 341 where I’ve stopped yesterday at about noon on my bike. All the empty bottles are gone, so someone tries not only to bring food and drinks for free, but also to remove the garbage. Thank you, you kind people angels.
|It is hot in the forest. So, no hat, no gloves – only bug spray and endless trail ahead.
|Flat surfaces are at a premium in the woods. We appreciate all the efforts of good kind people.
12:29 -12:43 6.6 mi – I completed another 2.9 mi of the trail with a record average speed of 2.6 mph. On this stretch, I was closely following a tennis player who hiked as a workout without the load, and we talked about Ukraine, and energy, and politics. I was making a conscious effort to keep up with him and it worked. My tennis player departs on Skiff Mountain Rd going down back to civilization, and I am getting ready to continue mildly up on the trail.
13:12 At Calebs Peak I’ve met a trail ranger who is sitting in the shade under a tree. He was also bitten by a tick a few weeks back, and now takes antibiotics to cure it. He eats chocolate and gives me a sliver.
13:35 – 14:00 – sharp descent from the hills to the river. This section is called St. Johns Ledges. In the span of 0.5 mi the trail descends by 600 feet. One must jump from boulder to boulder. I have no pictures and no notes. I guess, this descent was overshadowed by exiting the hilly forest and getting to the flat river section. At the bottom of the ledges there is a perfect natural climbing wall reaching high into the sky. And there is someone there already with a rope doing the climbing.
14:02 The trail reached a flat section along the river. These next 4.5 mi are nice and easy.
14:11 – 15:18 – swim in the river. The Housatonic River here is fast but calm, without rapids. Take a good extended break. I even washed my glasses and thoroughly wiped the lenses. Nice!
15:58 – I’ve reached Stuart Hollow Shelter. I am flying past it.
16:10 Stony Brook Camp
The trail deviates slightly away from the river and then continues right on the edge of some agricultural field. Then it returns to the river one last time.
17:05 – 13.8 mi – trail is ready to veer off up into the forested hills. I am collecting 3 liters of water here as instructed by a sign – last water before the camp. The water here is nice, clean, and cold from a spring. I need to hike another 0.8 mi. with a heavier load.
17:36 – that is it. The hike of the day completed at Silver Hill Camp. This camp has a swing set, observation platform overlooking overgrown patch of woods and the main feature is covered kitchen pavilion with two picnic tables under the roof with raised countertops for cooking around the perimeter. There is one more person who is already here – he is from Germany, from Bavaria. He also was bitten by a tick and needed to return to Germany to extend his visa.
17:58 water is boiling on the stove. More people are begging to arrive from the trail. All are North bounded (NOBOs), and all are through hikers.
18:40 I am eating my black bean soup. I am contemplating possibilities to sleep right here in the kitchen pavilion under the roof to be saved from impending rain.
20:23 I am horizontal in my hammock. My legs are resting. It is very warm in the forest. The young couple in a tent conversing loudly, they are playing some complicated card game and he is losing every time.
We – all the hikers – are on a large central field seeing each other’s tents. The hiking day was long, but a large chunk of it – 4.5 mi – was along the river on a wide straight path or even on the road. The signal here is too weak to connect. I just want to stay still and fall asleep quietly.
Navigate through the List
- 00 AT 2023 07 Preparation for the trip (2023/06/29)
- 01 AT 2023-06-30 FR - from NY/CT border to Schaghticoke Mt. Camp (2023/06/30)
- 02 AT 2023-07-01 SA - dry day along the Housatonic River (2023/07/01)
- 03 AT 2023-07-02 SU - Rain begins to tell its forest story (2023/07/02)
- 04 AT 2023-07-03 MO - rain and ticks drove me out of the wild (2023/07/03)