Day 130 – July 15 – 16.5 miles – Mark Noepel Shelter to Seth Warner Shelter
Zeus and Flashfire left camp a short time before I did. When I was getting ready to hit the trail, Stoat mentioned that he would meet me at the top of Mt. Greylock. So I hiked the 3.3 miles to the top of Greylock by myself. It was kind of nice to start the day alone for a change. The entire way I walked in the fog. The lack of visibility made me feel like I was the only person around.
When I got to the top of Greylock I saw a large dark shape in the distance. When I got close to it, I could tell that it was the monument that the guidebook had mentioned.
I went around the back of the monument and suddenly I had a beautifully clear view into the valley below.
Ok… no I didn’t That was a picture I took of a picture on one of the several information plaques.
My view looked like this:
Skunked on another view. Oh well.
I had to console myself with the fact that there was a lodge nearby that made breakfast.
When I got to the dinning area, I found that Zeus and Flashfire were already halfway done with their breakfast. Sitting with them was Mr. Tom. I don’t think I had seen Mr. Tom, a retired postal worker, since somewhere in northern Virginia.
We talked for a while before the three of them decided they better get moving. I poured myself some more coffee and waited for Stoat. After a few minutes I got a text message from Stoat. “Where are you?”, it read. When I said I was in the lodge he responded, “What lodge?” The fog had rolled in so thick that he couldn’t see anything.
He eventually found the place, and came in for a cup of coffee. While we were inside, the sky began to clear up slightly.
When we emerged from the lodge we had a nice view of the monument.
When we went around the other side of the monument, we really did have a view.
A few minutes after leaving the top of Greylock, I came to a small warming hut.
Intrigued, I went over and checked to see if it was unlocked.
It was, so I took a look inside. The warming hut was used in the 30’s and 40’s when skiing was popular on Mt. Greylock.
When I saw the plaque, my jaw dropped.
One of our Grandfathers had been in the 10th Mountain Division during world war two. He had earned a bronze and silver star during his tour in… northern Italy.
The idea that Rudolph Konieczny and our Grandfather could have known each other, blew my mind. The confluence of events, good and bad, that led to me standing in that very spot, flooded my mind.
These two men had fought in the same area during WW2. One was killed, and a monument was placed in a slightly obscure small building near the top of a mountain. The other man was lucky enough to get out of the war alive,and have children, and eventually (after his death) grandchildren.
Two of those grandchildren had hiked 1586.3 miles through the Appalachian mountains until one of them, on a whim, decided to look in a small hut. In that small hut was a memorial dedicated to someone their Grandfather could have known.
What are the chances? I couldn’t get that thought out of my head for a good while.
Unnecessary, Yet Topical, Historical Tangent
I did some research into Konieczny and our Grandfather. There is a chance that they could have, at least, knew of each other.
- Both were in the 87th Regiment of the 10th Mountain division.
- All of The 87th Regiment shipped out to go to Europe on the same day.
- The 87th Regiment was broken into smaller Companies. Konieczny was in Company F while Grandfather was in Company I
- Campanys I and F both operated near each other in Northern Italy
- Company F and Company I – had several operations where there were directly or indirectly involved with each other .
- Konieczny was a hot shot enlisted man who was known for things like emptying enemy machine gun nests and eliminating snipers single handedly. He was described as one the oldest and most colorful members of the 87th
- Grandfather was the Captain of Company I.
I assume that any of the Captains names would be either known or overheard by the enlisted men of any Companies involved with each other.
I assume any extraordinary exploits by the enlisted men would be known to the leaders of the Companies working with each other.
If both those assumptions are true, then they may have at least heard about each other.
Sorry for the WW2 tangent, but here is one final thought.
On the day Konieczny died, Companies I and F were involved in a very large scale flanking maneuver. Company I and Company F were positioned on opposite sides of the battle field.
Konieczny died taking out a machine gun nest. Could the final actions of Konieczny have indirectly saved my grandfathers life? Enabling us to, one day, wind up at his memorial on top of a mountain? Maybe… but probably not.
It would make a good story though.
When Stoat came by and it seemed that, he too, was struck by the strange coincidence.
On the way down from Greylock we had several nice views
Stoat and I stopped to eat lunch at Mt Williams, which was basically a shoulder of Mt Greylock. Two trail maintainers were there enjoying the view as well. We talked to them while we ate.
When we left that view, we left the last view in Massachusetts.
As we made our final decent into Williamstown we got some trail magic!
The trail went through a residential part of Williamstown. There were several places to eat not far off the trail, but Stoat and I decided to skip it.
One thing Stoat couldn’t resist, was the centipede in the school playground that we passed by.
After passing through the residential area the trail seemed to vanish. We saw an AT sign in someones driveway but we thought that was a mistake. The AT wouldn’t go up someones driveway. After a minute or two we realized that, yes, the AT would go up someones driveway.
After the driveway, we began the 1357 foot climb out of Williamstown. The trail followed a brook for a while before branching off to go through a nice pine forest.
Near the top of the climb we came to a bad weather bypass trail. “Why is there a bypass trail”, we wondered aloud.
Then we came to a steep boulder field that we hand to climb up. “Oh, that’s why”
When we got to the top of the boulder field we saw this:
We made it to Vermont. 11 states down, 3 to go.
The first 105 miles of the AT in Vermont is shared with the Long Trail. Then the AT takes a right turn while the Long Trail keeps going north. All the way to Canada.
A few miles later we were at the Seth Warner Shelter. It was a weekend, so the place was packed. We found some spots to setup our hammocks. Thankfully we got them up before the rain started. We ate dinner in our rain gear, talked to the other hikers, and went to bed.
We looked forward to experiencing our first full day in Vermont.