AT Thru-Hike, Vermont 1997

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(151) Tuesday, August 19, 8:00PM

What a long day! I am really tired. I tried to make up for only going seven miles yesterday, but the day ended with the ascent up Glastenbury Mtn., about 3700 feet. I'm staying in the Goddard Shelter tonight just below the summit. The view south from the shelter is phenomenal, with Mt. Greylock clearly in sight. The clear high pressure skies certainly enhance the view.

I slept so well last night I couldn't believe it. It was so great to be back in my sleeping bag. I didn't want to get out of bed this morning. The weather today was perfect for hiking. It was actually so cool that I may not wear my tank top any more. I'm beginning to wonder when I should ak for my zero degree sleeping bag. The cool weather really came on quickly it seems. Here it is still August and I'm moving into cold weather mode already.

I may try to do another long day tomorrow, but for now I'm just going to get a good night's sleep.

21.6 Miles Today, 1596.6 MTD

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Glastenbury Mtn.--I stayed here at the Goddard Shelter near the summit.
I could still make out Mt. Greyloack 35 miles to the south.
This is looking north toward Stratton Mtn.


(152) Wednesday, August 20, 7:00PM

Here I am in a shelter again, at Stratton Pond. It's a beautiful shelter location looking right out over the pond. Some stormy weather was moving in ahead of schedule so I figured I'd use the shelter in case it was raining through the morning. At least I won't have to pack up my tent in the rain.

The weather remains perfect for hiking. Immediately after starting this morning I climbed the fire tower on Glastenbury Mtn. summit. The clear morning skies provided spectacular 360 degree views. Just fifteen miles later to the north I climbed the fire tower on Stratton Mtn. This time the darkening skies added a whole new element to the panorama. I'm well below the mountain now all alone in this shelter. I find that hard to believe because of how many other hikers are in the same vicinity. I think most of them are crowding into a hut atop the mountain.

I caught up with Purple Haze today. I hadn't seen her since Damascus. She's the only remaining hiker of the original Berkeley Five. She's only about 19 and I could see how she had really grown up quite a bit on this journey. We hiked together for a piece this afternoon and she shared with me what the Trail had done for her. I'm still amazed at how different everyone's experience is out here. Each person brings something different with them, so I guess that it should make sense thar they each take something different away.

I also caught up with the Midwestern contingent again; Lone Wolf, Flip, and Briar. I had last left them shortly after Ft. Montgomery, NY when they stopped at the Greymoor Monastery and I didn't. It was good to be reunited with them. I'll look forward to seeing more of them from here to the end.

Most people seem to be heading into Manchester Center tomorrow, including me. This wasn't a planned stop, but I'm out of stove fuel. I even had to bum some just to cook dinner tonight. The outfitter in Williamstown was out of fuel, otherwise I wouldn't have permitted myself to get so low. I'll enjoy the short eleven miles into town tomorrow and stay at the church hostel there. I'm only another day away from my mail drop in Danby, but this stop makes too much sense to pass by.

Wow, I passed the 1600 mile mark today. I can remember back to when I passed the 100 mile mark. Sometimes that doesn't seem so long ago, but other times it seems like years.

19.5 Miles Today, 1616.1 MTD

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Green Mtns--Beaver ponds and dams were a common sight in New England.
Looking down at Stratton Pond, far and close. A Nor'easter storm blew in this night and socked the area with wind and rain for a couple days.


(153) Thursday, August 21, 6:00PM

I was right to stay in a shelter last night, but I misread the storm. I was expecting the rain to blow in from the west as usual, but I actually got hit with a nor'easter. So choosing to sleep up against the western wall of the shelter did not protect me. I awoke a bit damp from the eastern wind-blown spray. It rained all night last night as well as all through the day.

I'm enjoying my stay here in Manchester Center. I rose quickly this morning and was hiking by 7:15, covering the 10.5 miles by 11:00. I was really cruising across the fairly level terrain. I had no choice. The sky was very dark blowing down a cold hard-driving rain. It was cold enough that I hiked all morning in my rain jacket, mostly with the hood up. I never rested the whole morning for fear of getting too cold and stiff. I just kept on pumping. It was very exhilarating to feel compelled to hike so steady and quickly.

I got a hitch into town directly to the Zion Episcopal Church Hiker Hostel. It was crowded from all of yesterday's hikers that didn't want to brave the harsh weather. I was glad to strip out of my cold wet clothes and soak in a long hot shower. After laundry, lunch, a few errands, and a pint of Ben & Jerry' ice cream, I could finally really unwind. It was great to commune with all the other hikers. I continue to catch up with other hikers from earlier encounters. I'm impressed with how many recognize me, that I dont recall.

I can tell that I'm doing better because of my attitude through today's hike. It helped considerably, knowing that a hot shower and clean dry clothes awaited me in town, but the weather conditions were severe enough that it would have been understandable to be discouraged by the hike. I also passed my 3/4 complete point; a significant milestone for me.

10.5 Miles Today, 1626.6 MTD

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Manchester Center--I spent the night out of the rain here in a church hostel. Lone Wolf (from Cincinnati), Flip & Briar (from Indiana) and I made for a strong midwestern showing as we enjoyed some Long Trail Ale.
Calvin, Hobbes (small stuffed tiger) and Sunrise were from Iowa. They were wearing some loaner town shoes while the cobbler worked on their boots.


(154) Friday, August 22, 11:00PM

I enjoyed a long tough hike into Danby today. There were four peaks to ascend today, and the first three were all shrouded in fog so I didn't get a view until the final peak later in the day. It was the lowest summit, but still a nice view as the skies cleared slightly.

The rocks and roots on the trail today were hazardous. All the rain from the previous day and the wet leaves had me slipping much more than usual. I managed to keep from falling, but there were some real close calls.

I'm really enjoying the cooler weather. It is so much more pleasant to hike when I don't have to worry about overheating. Water is not nearly as big a concern now that my sweat volume is down considerably. I just need to pay attention so that I don't let myself get too wet or too cold. I've felt the effect of the wind chill several times already.

17.3 Miles Today, 1643.9 MTD


(155) Saturday, August 23, 8:00PM

Back in my tent tonight, comfortable as usual. The rain this afternoon almost had me staying at the last shelter, but I didn't get to Vermont by letting a little rain stop me. It looks like it may clear tonight and finally bring some good weather in for the next few days.

I was foiled again by the damn UPS strike. I've never used UPS for my mail drops on this trip, but the stike has caused the US Postal Service to be overwhelmed, causing delays. Even though the UPS strike has ended, the residual delays will continue for quite some time. Here it is Saturday and my bounce box that I mailed ahead from Williamstown on Monday still hasn't arrived in Danby. There is nothing in Danby that would entice me to wait through the weekend there hoping for a Monday arrival of the package. I'll call the Danby postal clerk on Monday when I reach Sherburne Pass and make arrangements then.

My stay in the Quail's Nest B&B last night was fine. It was nice to watch and hear the thunderstorm from under roof. This really has been a stretch of wet days.

Today I had a happy reunion with One Life and Julie. Our last encounter was in Damascus, VA near the beginning of May. They looked good and still seem to enjoy hiking together. We were all glad to get reacquainted. They are still a very cheery pair.

Tomorrow I climb Mt. Killington; at 4235 ft. it really begins to portend the climbs ahead. I'll also reach the milestone of having less than 500 miles remaining. That milestone actually seems significant to me.

11.7 Miles Today, 1655.6 MTD

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Little Rock Pond--Taking a lunch break and reuniting with Julie and One Life. I had last seen them around the first week of May.


(156) Sunday, August 24, 8:00PM

I'm camped in my tent just below the Summit of Mt. Killington. The side trail to the summit went straight up for a quarter mile, but it was well worth it. I could see as far north as Canada. I even think I saw Mt. Washington of the White Mountains in NH. I spent some time just drinking in the view from all directions. The long climb today was as hard as I thought it would be, mostly because I just wasn't feeling very charged for a climb. I ate well last night and this morning, but I never got a rush of energy today. Some days are just like that.

If all goes well tomorrow I'll end up having a pretty short day. It all depends on whether my missing mail drop shows up at the Danby post office in the morning. If it does, then I'll make arrangements to get it and stay at the Long Trail Inn at Sherburne Pass.

This morning I enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the Whistle Stop Restaurant just three miles into my day. The diner was just recently converted from an old railroad station. It was a very warm and cheery place to enjoy the morning.

14.2 Miles Today, 1669.8 MTD

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Clarendon Gorge.


(157) Monday, August 25, 2:00PM

I'm at the Long Trail Inn at Sherburne Pass trying to track down my missing mail drop from Danby. Still no sign of it. It's really quite frustrating. I'm spending the night here since I have time to kill before my rendezvous in Hanover with Dave, and I won't have access to a phone again for a couple days. So between now and tomorrow morning I really hope to find my mail drop.

5.4 Miles Today, 1675.2 MTD

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Killington Peak--Killington is the largest ski are in New England. From the summit here I can see ski trails descending from Pico Peak to the north. Ski areas are so abundant in Vermont that the trail crossed or followed the ski runs on several occasions. That is Killington Resort at the base of the right picture.


(158) Tuesday, August 26, 8:00PM

As of this morning my mail drop was still missing. What more can I do? I think the Danby postal clerk now understands the importance of this box. I just hope it eventually turns up so that I can have it meet me somewhere convenient on the Trail. It's getting almost too late for it to catch me in Hanover. First things first; it has to arrive in Danby.

Meanwhile I left the Inn at the Long Trail and made the right turn east to New Hampshire. I am now just two days from being in that state. Little by little I close in on the finish line . . . with the emphasis on little.

I had a nice stay at the Inn last night. I experienced an extreme bout of hunger there that led me on a major eating binge. I really stuffed myself with fattening foods to appease my hunger. It was late in the evening before I finally felt full, but I continued eating well past that point. I was with a crowd of nearly a dozen hikers, most of which I new fairly well. We all enjoyed the comfortable surroundings of the old Inn. It was originally built for the very purpose of providing hikers a place to stay. Now it focuses most of its business on the winter ski crowds, but the summer hiker traffic is well-served. The Long Trail runs the length of Vermont for 272 miles along the crest of the Green Mountains from the Massachusetts state line north to the Canadian border. The AT coincides with the first 103 miles from the Massachusetts state line and then turns east at Sherburne Pass and crosses over to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

I had a good hike from the Inn today. All the food I ate must have somehow converted itself into actual energy. I hope there's plenty of energy left for the next two days. At this point I'm just covering ground between two mountain ranges. I descended from the Green Mountains this morning and am working my way east to the White Mountains. In between is just a whole bunch of hills; lots of ups and downs.

12.1 Miles Today, 1687.3 MTD


(159) Wednesday, August 27, 10:00PM

I'm treating myself to another easy night on the Trail. I'm staying at a B&B right on the Trail with the rain coming down steady. Stay includes dinner and breakfast. Tomorrow I'm left with a nearly 20-mile hike into Hanover, NH. The progress continues.

12.9 Miles Today, 1700.2 MTD

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South Pomfret--B&B's were often convenient to the trail and occasionally affordable. I spent the night here at the Rosewood Inn with several other hikers seen here having breakfast: Bones, Fire Marshall, Screaming Knee, and a south-bounder whose name I forgot. The proprietors were used to serving hikers.


(160) Thursday, August 28

The hike into Hanover went very well after a lovely stay at the Rosewood Inn. I arrived in town just before the sky let lose with a downpour. It was a great feeling to finally be in New Hampshire.

Hanover is a college town for Dartmouth, which had just finished their summer term. This meant that most of the normal accomodations for hikers were unavailable. I ended up cramming into the dark musty basement of a fraternity with too many other hikers.

The next two days will keep me busy preparing to hike with Dave. My close friend Dave Martin, whom I met in Charleston, SC agreed to fly from Hawaii to keep me company for five days on the Trail. He committed to this when I was despondent after having my camera stolen in Connecticut. Having him looming ahead on my schedule really helped me regain focus and stay on track. Dave is very adventure-minded, but it was a huge deal for me to have him come do this.

18.5 Miles Today, 1718.7 MTD

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