We made it out of Dalton and were on our way to Mt. Greylock. We had a good group and were making good miles. Mt. Greylock was a large climb leading up to a very populated mountain top. There was a massive look tower/monument, a lodge, and all kinds of vehicles driving around. It was a beautiful sight. You could get a good look at the Green Mountains that were about to enter. We took some pictures and kept rolling.
The next day, we entered the nice state of Vermont. It immediately became muddy and boggy, which is basically the northern, cooler version of a swamp. But the weather was cooling off and we were feeling some real progress. Not to mention, the first 3 miles hiking into VT, Reverie came within 10 feet of a female moose. None of the other hikers saw it. Lucky her! I got the story on film.
New England is great. The history is so rich. All these towns have been around for centuries. The houses are tall with basements and creaky floors. The hostels are far more endearing and beautiful. The people are equally as awesome. I think I feel more love for the Trail here than in the south.
After a long hiking day that ended with rain and steep rocky descents, Belch, Reverie, and I found ourselves near dark onside of a highway that led to Bennington, VT. We had no set plan. Just hoped to manage a place stay and get out of our wet clothing and take a shower. Fortunately, despite a wet dog, a doctor pulled over, gave us a ride and dropped us off at a no longer advertised or operating hostel. However, Arla, who ran it felt that if you found your way there, you were meant to be there and she'd put you up in a barn(which was converted to a funroom/hiker bunkhouse) and let you get a shower and shelter. Awesome. We were so lucky. Our other friends stopped short of town and missed out which stunk for them. Either way, after a free night on a mattress, we checked out Bennington and got some laundry done. Our other hiking friends, Red Bull, Gandolf, Red Fury, and High Life arrived in town and wanted to check hostel out too. Arla was kind enough to let us all stay that night too and play pool, darts, and Apples to Apples. Good times. But the next day, it was time to get it going again.
We decided to hike to this firetower that allowed camping and could not be happier we did. We saw the most epic sunrise AND sunset on the Trail yet from an amazing spot. We were all thrilled to witness it. Because we got up so early we decided to crank out a 22 mile day with Stratton right in the middle of it. It was successful, but like all 20s, it was painful. More so the next day. We knew we had a mail drop to get in Manchester Center so back to town we went.
There is a great hostel, Green Mountains Hostel, in Manchester Center that charged reasonable prices so we decided stay. Once again, great decision. Jumanji was staying there that night and it was his birthday annndd he was getting off the Trail the next day. So, he purchased a massive feast of steaks and veggies for everyone staying that night. Holy cow. Needless to say, it was awesome. Another "best night of the Trail" sort of thing. Thank you, Jumanji, and you will be missed.
We all hiked out the next day after destroying the McDonalds value menu. We stopped short because it was a late start and they would charge us to tent where we wanted to. The following day we set up camp at a massive gorge. Clarendon Gorge, to be exact. It was gorgeous. Apparently it was also one of the hardest hit spots by Hurricane Irene last year. You could tell. Dead trees piled everywhere around the gorge. It was still pretty and camp spot under pine trees. Soft and cozy.
Then it was time for Mt. Killington. The weather was supposed to be good for it. However, it wasn't. Most of the way up the 4+ miles of uphill it start raining pretty hard. Sucked. Anyway, we decided to stay at the top because it was so late and we wanted to take the gondola down the next day. It was extremely windy. I thought we had learned our lesson about camping near 4000 foot elevation. Guess not. It was wet and not a view in site. Same for the next morning but we knew we were going into Rutland, VT. Of course, the free gondola was under construction the time we were there so we hiked it down.
We made it to the road, caught a hitch into Rutland and got a cheap hotel. We dried out our gear, did some laundry and got some grub. Turned out Voodoo was in the same hotel. He fractured his foot pretty bad and was headed home to Kansas City. Bummer. In the mean time, we are watch Hurricane Isaac nailing our home state of Louisiana and realized we've never been gone for a hurricane. We wished we were with everyone. The next day we went to small resupply at Walmart and find Caveman is in town. What Whaaa! Sweet. We also found out there is a big pig roast going down in the middle of town in honor of Irene's one year anniversary. The irony. So, with no set place to stay, we stuck around.
The pig roast was okay. Not much food, but Reverie did manage to find a place for us to stay with some great locals who offered us a place. Thank god cause it was getting late and were becoming more worried about shelter. The Trail was 10 miles off. So, we got to hang with excellent folks at a pretty wild place. Not enough time to go all the way into that. But we appreciate them very much.
After that, on our way out of town we got word of some Trail Magic going down from a previous hiker in Gifford State Park. Alright, let's go check it out. The timing and placement couldn't have been better. SOOO many hikers showed up. They just happened to be there. We all had some friendly games of ultimate frisbee. It was a sight to see all of our worn out, run down bodies jumping and running. But we had so much fun. We stayed. We all did.
We managed a slack pack for the next day. 20 more miles. That's the best way to do 20 miles and the best way to slack. Make it worth your time. It was fun. 13 people running through the mountains cause we got a late start. We stayed on someone's pasture that night outside of a barn that has been standing for 200 years. Red Fury, highlife, and others stayed in there. Cool, unexpected place, indeed.
Then onto New Hamphire. Hanover, to be exact. This place is awesome. amazing Trail town, and rightfully so. The Trail runs right through it. Also the home of Dartmouth, so very collegy. We were fortunate enough to stay with Greg Cook. He had a large hand in getting Hanover to start appreciating hikers. Hanover's library has a sheet for hikers of free places to stay, shower, and do laundry. Do you believe that? I barely could. Hanover also has a massive list of places that give you FREE food. Slice of pizza, bagel, donut, sandwiches. So cool. We love it here. However, we must get a move on no matter how difficult that is. We have the amazing Whites coming up and we can't wait to get that. Annnnddd we have a deadline to finish this thing. It's time.
It's Sept 4th today. The plan is to summit Katahdin Oct 4. We'll see if that stays firm. 400 miles left.
Thanks to everyone who is helping us along the way. This adventure wouldn't be nearly as much of an adventure without you.
No time for spell check. sorry
Rocks outta nowhere.
He loves peanut butter
Never seen one but I want it.
Bennington, VT loves moose
Hanging at secret hostel.
Reverie and Red Bull
The best fire tower yet.
Poor Red Bull. May've broken her ankle.
Belch. Always with fork in hand.
The loose set up. Sunset. Sunrise.
Cold weather box. Yikes.
The crew at Green Mountain Hostel in Manchester Center. Jumanji's goodbye/birthday dinner.
Reverie not happy about cold weather gear weight.
The Dawg House. Where we stayed.
Our rock statues
My trusty poles
The amazing gorge
The hike down from Killington
Rutland, VT has these all over the place.
The race to Pizza Hut!
A strange statue in the front of Walmart
Bar allowing dog
At Irene pig roast. Belch can't wait.
The good people who put us up the night
The raddest place
Impromptu trail magic by Puma who had left the trail days before. It was excellent.
I stupidity grabbed a yellow jacket out the front of Caveman's face. That sucked for about 3 days.
Our tent city for the night.
Obstacle on slackpack day
Mountain top cabin
The infamous Baltimore Jack, Fluttering Whisper Dick, and Slash
The awesome Greg Cook
Finally. A center for me.