AT – Salisbury, CT to Sheffield, MA

On October 6-7th a few of my friends from Sikorsky and I went for a little backpacking weekend.  Steve Cappelle, Tim Demers, Ben Hein and myself set off early Saturday morning up to Salisbury, CT.  We dropped off one of the cars at the parking area in Sheffield, MA right on Rt. 41 then drove back to Salisbury to begin our hike which was also right off of Rt. 41.  
We began a little before 10am and the temperature was already in the mid-seventies with nearly 100% humidity due to the fog.  After a few hours the fog burned off and temperatures reach the mid-eighties.  Not exactly typical October weather. The hike was pretty steadily uphill at first then flattened out.  For 3-4 miles we hike fairly level while getting good shade from the trees.  We passed by a number of campsites along this section.  Riga, Brassie Brook just to name a couple.
After the flat section we started up Bear Mtn, which would be our biggest challenge of the day.  With the heat and humidity, not to mention the large packs, it proved to be quite tiring.  After reaching the summit we rested for a little at the large pile of rocks constructed back in 1885 which declared, incorrectly, that this was the highest point in Connecticut.  I guess there was no GPS in 1885.  
After getting out of the sun on the summit of Bear Mtn, we sat down for some lunch and to rest.  This turned out to be a great idea because the back side of Bear Mtn, is steep.   Going downhill may not seem that hard but it is.  We passed more than one dayhiker going the other direction and all of them were wheezing.
Thankfully we descended Bear Mtn. into the shade of Sages Ravine.  There is another campsite here as well as plenty of water.  There were a few deep pools where I’m sure more than one AT thru-hiker has taken a dip.  After following the stream for half a mile we came on the CT-MA state line, as one of the pictures shows.
From here we began our home stretch of the day.  Our plan was to make it at least to Sages Campsite in order to make the following day easier.  Since we made it there with plenty of daylight left we decided to make it all the way to the next campsite, Bear Rock Falls.  From the state line we started uphill again, though it was gradual.  A couple miles from Sages we ran into Laurel Ridge Campsite.  This site wasn’t in my book which was published in the mid to late 90’s.  We tried to decide if we would stay here or keep going to Bear Rock Falls.  We estimated that Bear Rock Falls would be another half mile away.  I noticed another sign a little farther up the trail.  I trotted up the trail and it said that Bear Rock Falls was closed to camping and that it was 500 feet up the trail.  I guess we were a little off in our estimate.
So we set up camp at Laurel Ridge.  The spring there was dry so we had to hike to Bear Rock Falls were the stream was barely running in order to find water for Sunday.  We used some tablets to sanitize the water.  Surprisingly the water didn’t taste that bad with the sanitizer in it.  Though Ben didn’t agree.
After setting up the tents we started making dinner.  Tim’s stove provided almost half an hour of entertainment.  He’d get it going with little sticks and leaves.  His dinner would just start to simmer then the fire would go out.  So he’d run around finding some more sticks.  After Tim was done I borrowed his pot and boiled some water in about 2 minutes on Ben’s stove. 
Given that the sun sets relatively early in October we didn’t stay up too long.  We were all tired and when a passing shower came through it was all the motivation we needed to crawl into our tents.  The rain came off an on through the night.  Unfortunately the rain didn’t cool things off much and my 20 degree sleeping bag was overkill.  I’m not sure anyone really slept well because of the humidity.
Sunday we woke up to mostly clear skies.  We found out why mostly clear.  On our way up to Race Mtn., the second major peak in our hike, we entered into the clouds because of the elevation.  It was a little eerie and reminded me of my trip to the White Mountains earlier in the summer.  We reached the summit of Race Mtn. without seeing any hikers.   
Coming down the back side of Race Mtn. was a little challenging.  It had rained enough to make everything wet and therefore slippery.  Getting down some of the steep sections was a little tricky with all the wet leaves as Steve figured out.  He slipped and scuffed his hand up.
After getting to the bottom of Race Mtn. we head for the home stretch on Race Mountain Trail which splits off east of the AT.  This started off as a flat wide trail. After a mile or two of going comfortably downhill we got to a section where we could see out.  We were still pretty high up and we figured out why.  The trail started to take a dive down the hill.  There wasn’t much left of the trail maybe 2.5 miles or so, but it was pretty steep for nearly all of it. 
At one point Tim and I broke ahead of Steve and Ben we got descent way in front of them and decided to stop.  We waited for maybe 10 minutes and couldn’t figure out why they hadn’t caught up to us.  Tim and I looked at the map again and figured out that we probably weren’t on the correct trail.  We hiked back and saw where we missed the turn.  We kept going and a couple minutes later we got to the car, where Ben and Steve were already sitting in the car.  They gave us a little honk of the horn to let us know they’d been there a while.
The trip turned out great I think.  The weather was not ideal but it could have been worse.  The tents were both dry after the showers we got, so that was good.  I had a good time out on my first overnighter.  I’ll definitely be going on more in the future.  This year might be running out of nice weather, but definitely in the spring next year.