The rain kept me and Tiger in Bennington, VT longer than planned. The downpour flooded the roads and there were flash flood warnings for our exact location. It would seem that Vermont does not divert its water well.
We waited out the worst of the rain. Even so, it was raining when we got back on the trail. The first thing I heard was a loud rumbling of an overfull creek. Luckily there was a bridge. The actual rain died down as the day went on. The mud situation was out of control though. It was giving me flashbacks of that traumatizing childhood movie The Neverending Story.
There was no going around the mud. You try to bushwack to get around it but there is so much, it eventually becomes a pointless endeavor to stay dry. You get mud in shoes, on your legs, in your hair, and in your soul. You become one with the mud. This is my home now.
The water up here is tinted brown. I hear that’s because of tannins caused by peat and other decaying organic matter. It makes the creeks look like flowing beer. Or maybe that’s just me.
The water at one creek was so high I had to wade through it. It was a little nerve racking. I put on my sandals and got to stepping through the beer river.
The first night out of Bennington we stayed at a shelter where two nitwits woke up 6am and started yakking at each other loudly about their water bottles and other related hiking issues. I was, of course, still asleep but that didn’t deter our intrepid explorers from yelling their very important business for everyone to hear. Tiger got a hilarious picture of me rising from my slumber.
There was a lovely fire tower after that on top of Glastenbury mountain to assauge my nerves though. 360° views of somewhat not rainy Vermont. The breeze was cool and the sun was bright…for awhile.
The next night we were at an unofficial AT cabin with an actual wood burning stove. The water source was a refreshing brook with cold clear water. It made my feet go numb after two minutes which was a blessing.
Another group of nitwits came up dithering about whether or not to sleep in the cabin. Are there mice or not? I don’t know, I don’t want to sleep in here if there are mice. Where is that other person going to sleep? Who’s sleeping where? Are there mice? What are we eating for dinner? Did you put your stuff down? Are there mice in here?
This went on for 20 minutes, which is 19 minutes too long. I was already laying down and rolled my eyes so hard I might have pulled a muscle.
Yes they stayed in the cabin.
No there were no mice.
There was a pub in Manchester Center that boasted the portrait below as their original founder. The cheeseburger was good.
The best sleep in a shelter I’ve had so far was in Peru Peak. There was a rushing creek right in front and it masked all the normal nighttime noises one gets in a shelter. All the snoring, farting, and squeaky sleep pads disappeared as I listened to real time nature sounds.
It started raining off and on. We made it by Lost Pond in a freak break from the never ending precipitation. It would have been a nice spot to camp if the hordes of boy scouts hadn’t already claimed it.
There are these stone walls all over the place. I’m sure they marked boundaries of old farms and whatnot, but I still don’t like them. The Blair Witch Project, while hilariously not scary, left me with a distrust of old stone walls in the middle of nowhere. Especially when they have rusty implements sitting around them.
Going up over White Rocks was spooky. There were two rock gardens where people started a stacking trend. The light was a humid gray that sharpened the edges. The tall pines creaked and moaned like an old house. As pretty as it was, I didn’t dally too long.
There is apparently a porcupine problem up in this area. I guess they’re like possums down south.
And then it was off to Killington peak. Which I didn’t go all the way up. It was a 0.2 steep climb up some rocks and it was a cloudy day. On the way down I saw this puppy in a basket. I lost my shit.
At the end of a blue blaze you come upon this vision.
Dry beds! Showers! Best of all an Irish pub! The Inn at Long Trail! Tiger and I zeroed here and went to the next town over to resupply.
Incidentally Rutland also boasts the Yellow Deli and Hiker hostel run by the 12 Tribes. It’s known on the trail as “that cult deli”. They serve good food and Tiger remarked that whoever is running their marketing knows their stuff. I didn’t drink the kool-aid, but their Chai latte was delicious.
A random selfie picture Inception moment:
The stretch after Killington was super hilly and seemed to go up and down for no reason. I learned a new term: PUDS, or pointless ups and downs. At some point we had to climb down a ladder.
We stayed at a privately owned cabin that had a deck on top. Unfortunately the clouds obscured the views, but they made for some interesting pictures.
Tiger wanted to go into Woodstock which wasn’t anywhere near the trail. I said alright “but only because I don’t want a pouty and sulky Tiger, and if this shit goes sideways you’re gonna hear about it!” We managed to get a hitch from a nice lady named Victoria and ate at the Mountain Creamery. I had the best Brownie a la mode! So I guess it didn’t go sideways.
In West Hartford a trail angel named Linda gave us cold sodas and let us sleep in her barn.
West Hartford also had the most interesting signs.
Then it was a nice walk into Hanover, New Hampshire! Vermont is done!