From Springer Mountain Georgia to Mt. Katahdin Maine

Monday, September 10, 2012

Vermont Part Three

Gribley in Sally's Beauty Supply
Once we hit the road to Rutland, we stuck out our thumbs and got a ride from a postal service worker. He dropped us downtown at the grocery store. We picked up the next few days' worth of food. There was a Sally's Beauty Supply in the same shopping plaza, and Gribley picked up a tube of mustache wax. The boys have a tradition of not shaving their beards or trimming their mustaches. His has gotten longer than he's ever dealt with, haha, so with the wax he can curl the sides up, keeping it out of the way.
French Toast at the Inn at Long Trail

We had burgers at a local pub. Tater & Pants were staying in town at a hostel down the street and joined us for a beer. They headed off to see a movie, and Gribley and I hitched back to the Inn at the Long Trail ( The Inn has a great Irish pub, and let's hikers camp across the street. We set up our tents and went to the pub for a few Black & Tans, except made with Long Trail Ale + Guinness ( The Olympics were on, and it was nice to kick back and root for America! We got up the next morning and had a fabulous breakfast before hitting the trail.
The Inn at Long Tail

We were off to a late start and then had a long lunch by a lake. Right by the lake there was a sign pointing the way to Katahdin, so of course we followed!

We were headed to "The Lookout" which supposedly had an abandoned cabin with great views. It was getting dark though, and we came by a grassy patch by a dirt road and decided to call it an early night.

We got up early and decided to have breakfast up at the cabin - we felt better about checking it out in the daylight than at night. Hillbilly Berry was there - an older guy we'd met back in NC. We had a leisurely breakfast and went up on the roof deck despite the misty rain.

View from Lookout
After Lookout we headed out for Hanover, NH. We were talking about how hungry we were, and how much we missed "real food" (food that doesn't come in powder packets that you add water to), when we came to a road. Just as we were approaching to pass, SOS and Trail Mama happened to drive by on their way to Woodstock. They invited us to come to town and join them for lunch. Without a second of thought, we yelled, "Yes, please!!" and hopped in the car. We found a little sandwich shop, picked up lunch to go, and discovered a picnic table by a stream in town. Trail Mama was headed to the library, and SOS dropped us back to the trail. After a good lunch, we were craving ice cream, and there was a small farm store by the trail. We each bought a pint and sat by the trail enjoying our indulgence. About five more hikers joined us and also bought pints. After all that eating, it took us a good while to get up and going. That ended up being a bad decision - a bad rainstorm was on the way, and we had a ways to go before the next shelter. Gribley wrote an email to his aunt describing our wet trek, and he agreed to let me share it here:

        "Finding water is no longer an issue, in fact, it has been increasingly difficult to avoid it! For the last 140 miles or so, I have been hiking through Vermont's Green Mountains and, if I had any doubt as to how they acquired that name, they have long since been erased. The mountains are unbelievably lush and dense with a thick, vibrant undergrowth. They are magical. However, I believe the ability of a forest to support this amount of plant life is directly correlated to the amount of rain it receives. And here, when it rains, it pours.
        Two nights ago, my friend Daystar and I got a bit of a late start to the second half of my hiking day. The trail emerged at road crossing where a farm was selling delicious Vermont ice cream. I ate an entire pint, so the decision to immediately resume hiking fell to my stomach (not my most reason-oriented decision maker.) Eight miles still remained on our agenda to a shelter which was the planned destination for the evening. I heard thunder in the distance as the sun was beginning to set and put my legs into overdrive hoping that we would make it there before the skies split -- we didn't. Our questionably water-resistant headlamps were the only source of light and the rain fell so torrentially that the reflection of the light off the falling droplets completely obscured any vision. I slipped and slid down the path-turned-stream by feel and the light of lighting strikes for about a mile and a half before reaching the shelter. What an experience that was!
        Luckily, our fellow hikers who had already arrived at the shelter and avoided the rain sprang into action in character compassion and scooted together to fit a couple more wet, cold hikers into the shelter. I was able to change my clothes and cook a hot meal and by the time I crawled into my sleeping bag, I was snug and comfortable with yet another amazing, yet trying, Appalachian Trail experience under my belt. The experiences that I encounter out here run the spectrum from uncomfortable, amazing, exhilarating, compassionate, terrifying and everything in between, but the stories I will have to tell and the strength of character it builds will last until my last breath. It is such an amazing adventure."

The group in the shelter that Gribley mentioned above was a group of four hiking the Vermont section of the AT. Two of them hiked the AT last fall but had to skip VT due to Irene and were back to finish the last bit of trail. Their uncle lives in NH and offered to slack-pack them to Hanover. They graciously invited us along, which was a great treat! We got poured on again headed into Hanover but were so happy to cross the NH border!!

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