After a warm breakfast cooked by agent d and a talent show by sally, his daughter, nomad and friend jason took witch doctor and I back to a soggy trail. We had to say goodbyes that might really be goodbye. Afraid we might actually not see nomad again… on trail! Road trip Austin Texas 2014? Anyone?! I know Cassandra will be on board!
I simply can’t get over how magical the pine forests in Vermont are. Just picture fairies dancing in a forest, frolicking in a mountain stream.. this is that scene.
We are officially under 500 miles. Huge mental step. Passed a lot of trail maintenance (damage from Irene), saw the sun set from a peak, and last but not least we battled a porcupine.
Arrived to an “empty” shelter right at dark to find a giant porcupine occupying the back corner. During the panic it scurried up a wood post to the ceiling. I had no idea how well porcupines could climb. All efforts to get it down resulted in the porcupine climbing higher. There was no hope. Had to walk out on the dark to get water and set up tent. Porcupine won the battle and as I type I can hear it chewing on the shelter. It’s rather noisy… they are a huge nuisance out here. Porcupines are naturally sodium deficient so they love to chew anywhere salty sweaty hikers sit, and steal your shoes to nibble on.
Exhausted, pulled 24 despite the late start. Not sure how well I’ll sleep knowing there is a sharp animal running around. But, everyone should take a minute and look up baby porcupines on the Google machine. It’s worth it.
Moose and human!
Every night I fall asleep without seeing a moose makes me very sad.
Not our average day… even better!
Woke up at 5 and was hiking by 6. Rocked out 16 miles by 1pm to get picked up by Nomad. We were booking it knowing we had a comforting hug awaiting us. Lots of memorable spots on our hike. Vermont loves Karens. There were karens all over the place, and huge areas of trail devoted to them. A Karen museum if you will. We hiked down to the white cliffs, which were well worth the hike. Beautiful views and waterfalls all day worthy of inspiration posters.
Nomad rescued us just in time from the midday rain and hail storm. We hung out at a coffee shop in a quiet off season ski resort town. Spent several hours chatting and eating. Near by was a friend of Nomad from the early days on trail, so we thought we would pay him a visit. Nomad had his address, so after eating ice cream at a farmers market, we simply drove to his house despite not getting a hold of him.
Turns out I knew him as well! Agent D was on trail with ember and I before I had to get off for 6 days in march. We recognized each other and slowly pieced together our experience with each other. March feels like forever ago, but it all came back like it was yesterday. Agent D and his family offered us a place to sleep, food, laundry, and group trail story time. Agent d was on for three weeks and helped us recall the bitter cold days that marked our unusually cold winter.
It was a wonderful reunion, and I’m happy to say I have yet another friend in the north east. It is a comfort to have his number.
Clean clothes, twice in one week! I’m all about clean socks with all this mud
After a steep 11 mile climb down to VT 9, witch doctor and I were greeted by a smiling face and warm car. Lori, from VT, contacted a friend who offered to host a couple of smelly hikers for a night. Where to begin… their company, house, and cooking could not have come at a better time. They swept us up during a torrential rain pour and didn’t return us to the trail until our clothes, packs, tents, and shoes were dry, our bellies were full of burritos, cornbread, veggies from the garden, and ice cream, and we got our full share of napping on the couch in front of wood stove. I don’t think either of us moved an inch from their couch for a good two hours after getting there. Mary and Melvin knew exactly what we needed and sent us out the door back in high spirits once the storm had cleared and the sky was blue. Plus, they had two amazing dogs, Phil and Melvin (yes, the dog is also Melvin).
Thank you for everything.
Currently at 1637.1 miles. stratton pond VT. 5 ish miles short of the 75% mark!!! Vermont is just lovely now that the weather has cleared up. Barrington was like a mini Asheville. Great town full of fun people. Our hike today had two towers and we could see greylock in Massachusetts all the way to New Hampshire.
Melvin gave me whittling projects for the trail, so now I’ve got some crafting to keep me busy!
Witch doc, bright side, me, Larry boy
Today goes down as one of my favorite days on trail. Still soggy, but I wasn’t actually being rained on. Today we hit Mt. Greylock. It’s not just an ordinary mountain. It marks the beginning of climbs again. Everything since Harper’s ferry has been a sort of blur. I was too far from the beginning to be super excited about the ins and outs of backpacking, and too far from katahdin to feel close to the end. We have been hiking difficult hikes, but we have been in the “low lands”. I personally thrive on the big climbs. I like climbing for hours. It energizes me and I feel.. productive, for lack of a better word. I enjoyed many parts of this section of trail, but for me it has all been a build up to Vermont, which is really a build up to the white mountains in New Hampshire. Climbing Mt. Greylock and entering into VT was like starting my journey all over. I’m excited again. I’ve seen a lot of new england, gone through cool towns, met a lot of wonderful people, but now I’m back to the mountains. I’m ready for my legs to burn as I hike 6 miles to a peak. (I might retract this statement later!)
Mt. Greylock was magical. Let me set the scene.
The weather was eerie. Dark grey clouds were closing in and enveloping the mountain, pushed by wild and howling wind gusts. It wasn’t raining, but the ground was wet, the trees were wet, I was wet, and the air was moist. I hiked alone with Jarryd somewhere nearby, so it felt like I had the mountain to myself. I could barely hear my own thoughts over the wind in the trees. The only other sounds were my shoes sloshing in the water and mud, and the tap of my trekking pole on rocks. All the trees, wood, and dirt were their darkest shade of brown from the water, and everything else was alive with vibrant with lime greens. Every shade of green appeared greener. That’s the best part about the rain, the plants never look more alive. The colors were just so beautiful contrasted with the dark clouds behind them. And, seeing as it was a pine tree forest, it smelled like Christmas the whole way up. While this describes hikes I’ve had before, something made this walk special. I was mentally 100% in tune with that forest, and I knew as I was walking that I would remember that particular moment forever. These moments on trail creep up on you when you least expect it. I have a handful of the really special hikes and moments that represent why it is that I’m out here. Thought I should share at least one with the blog. I’ll keep the rest for me.
After grabbing food at the top of greylock (there is a restaurant – if I had read my guide I would have known this, but the surprise was nice) we descended into a quaint little town. As we walked down the sidewalk someone offered us popsicles. We accepted and played with there adorable miniature dachshund PUPPY. I was a happy
girl. We ate popsicles as we crossed the line into Vermont.
Pulled twenty miles today. First we hiked 12 into Dalton and got lunch at Jacobs- good pub food. Then walked the wettest 9 miles of my life into Cheshire. When I say we walked the whole way in ankle deep water and forded several “streams” …. I literally mean we walked in it the whole way. 20+ miles without seeing my feet. I didn’t really understand the whole trench foot thing, but now I understand. You aren’t just getting rained on. You are walking in a river bed. Glad to be in a church hostel for the night. Everything is wet but I’m at least on the floor in a warm building. There is a big group of teenagers here from a school in Rhode island that are actually really cool. Witch doctor, bright side, Larry boy, and myself (yay we caught friends!!!) all lined up together for a Q&A. It lasted about an hour but they were fun kids and had intelligent, interesting, and entertaining questions. I liked them a lot. A couple girls were in the bathroom with me too, and they quizzed me about the trail. They were really sweet and it was fun to kind of chill with them for a while. Also, the four of us went to a little pub and got some grub and beers. It was a long day, but there were a lot of highlights and fun.
Awesome to be back with those boys. We are having a little slumber party in the church.
Big day tomorrow, but then looking forward to taking a day with Mary in VT, Lori’s friend.
Greylock here we come!
Witch doctor woke up when I went to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, and realized he didn’t take his Lyme medication. He has to stay awake 30 minutes after taking it, so I kept him entertained with art projects. We always pretend salamanders have the Arnold Schwarzenegger voice, if that helps explain my masterpiece!
Hiked 25.6 today into a sweet campsite with a handful of nice folks. Gave us food, packing out our trash, etc. Yay! Thanks !
Today flew by. Lots of miles, but it was wonderful weather (again!) and I was feeling good. Started out with wet feet from yesterday and quickly went into water again, but able to dry out at the 2 o’clock lunch break and stay dry for the rest of the night.
In my tent tonight, safe from the bugs. I hope I sleep as well as last night, because I was out cold! Makes all the difference in the world to get a full night of sleep.
I don’t think I’ll ever be poison ivy free. I’ve been rocking the ivy since aqua blaze over a month ago. I’ve mastered the skill of ignoring it though! It’s here, it’s there, it’s everywhere.
Smokey made us trail pizzas for dinner. He’s finishing his thru hike from last year. Cool dude. Yummy pizza.
Hiking today in honor of Milo, my friend Lori’s sweet kitty.
Love to Milo who will be missed dearly.
Hard to say goodbye to Maria McCabe. She rode a motorcycle last week in the rain. I had to show you just so you understand how awesome this woman is.
Hiked 14 out of town after resupply. Beautiful beautiful day. Words can’t explain. Climbed bear, race, and everet mtns. Crossed 1500 miles. And crossed CT off the list. Welcome to MA!
I lost my spoon. But don’t worry. I packed out chips.
Walked in a river all day. Embrace the on trail aqua blazing!