Day 144- 8.12.15
Fancy Pants: We slack packed 18.4 miles today (1592.6-1611.0). After a few miles of hiking, we crossed into Vermont! 11 states down, 3 more to go! And then we hit the 1600 mile mark. Bluto declared it a 5-star day- two stars for another 100 miles and three stars for hiking through another state.
We were in awe of the beautiful scenery. Some areas looked like something you would see in an oil painting. There were a lot of ponds along the trail and a lot of beaver activity. It felt great to tackle some of these climbs without our packs on. I decided that I need to get new shoes soon. My feet hurt more than normal and my shoes are showing signs of serious wear. The descent into Bennington, VT was steep and we went extra slow because it was slippery and camped along the stream.
Fuego: We hiked 22.6 miles today (1611.0-1633.6). We actually woke up at 4am for a meteor shower and so did everyone else. We only spent 20 minutes looking because of the clouds coming in. We only saw a few meteors fly by while watching and went back to bed.
When we woke up, Fancy Pants went into town for a resupply and got a package at the post office. The group that stayed, including me, packed up and waiting at the parking lot. We spent awhile throwing this Nerf football I picked up in Williamstown at a giveaway pile.
We started hiking at 11, which was way past our schedule. We had a few climbs, but nothing brutal. The best was climbing up Glastenbury Mountain. There was a lookout tower there and we had a spectacular view! There were so many evergreens and mountains everywhere. Once we had our snack break, we realized it was 5pm and we had 8 miles to go! That is not something a thru hiker wants to hear ever. We got into high gear and boosted our way to the end. I remember the last mile I was really close to grabbing my headlamp because it was getting dark quick. I was hiking fast and I was looking at the ground really hard trying not to kill myself. At the parking lot we ran into Miss Janet! She had some trail magic chili for us. She wasn’t feeling well so she asked if we could help prepare it for her and we went right at it. We opened several cans, cooked up the meat, and soon enough it got Miss Janet excited and she was helping out and chatting with us. It was a phenomenal dinner! I was drowning the chili with tortilla chips, sour cream and cheese. I had me about three Dr. Peppers (saying it like Forrest Gump). The sky was clear and we saw the meteor shower again, except it was much better this time. We didn’t go to bed until 11pm, but it was worth it. Full bellies and musical tents all night!
Fuego: We slackpacked 17.5 miles today (1633.6-1651.1). This was a really cold morning. Glad we just got our sleeping bags back in the mail! Started the trail at a much better time this morning. We started with a steady ascent climb up Stratton Mountain. There was another lookout tower with 360 degree views. This peak is famous because when Benton Mackaye climbed it, he was inspired to propose the creation of the Appalachian Trail.
We had lunch at Stratton Pond. This scenery was like something you would see in a movie, with a picnic setting. The pond reflected all the trees and mountains. The weather was perfect. You couldn’t hear a thing, not even a car in the distance. It was great to be out of civilization again. Most of the few pervious states you could hear cars and nearby towns for a long period of time while hiking. This hike today couldn’t be much better. I would only request less mud on the trail. We started giving Vermont its nickname, “Vermud.”
At Spruce Peak, the group decided to stop at the Manchester Center road crossing, saving Bromley Mountain for tomorrow. I’m glad we did so, because we felt like we were already killing ourselves. Also, we found out Lorax had a big fall and had knee issues going on. Wind was so glad to see we decided to cut it short. We set up and went into town in shifts for resupply. I wasn’t happy the Price Chopper didn’t have the awesome deli the last one had. I ended up getting a pack of hot dogs and buns and ran over to the McDonalds across the street to steal some condiments. Fancy Pants got lunch meat and cheese.
Day 147- 8.15.15
We ended up taking a zero today. We were all tired and got lazy after shuttling into town for various errands. We weren’t hurting too bad, but starting a hike around lunch time is not very motivational. Fancy Pants came to me and said, “Fuuueegooo, can we take a zeroooo?” In her whiny voice. I didn’t even think twice and said, “Okay!”
We walked around Manchester Center which was a very cute town. Kush and I joked that we should go into Armani and try on some suits. We charged our phones at a coffee shop and went into McDonalds to use the Wifi. We ran into Miss Janet there as well and talked for awhile. We talked mostly about the few bad egg hikers that are out there. Mostly the ones who are leaving trash, being drunk all the time, and being loud and disrespectful in town, giving us hikers a bad reputation. She said the hikers sense of entitlement is noticeably worse this year, which is sad. Some of the free tenting areas have been shut down because it got so bad. I truly hope that the trend doesn’t worsen next year. She gave us a ride back to the gap before it rained. Spaghetti and El Mundo set up our tent thankfully to keep our gear dry. Luckily we only had light rain. Apparently there was bad storms nearby with 60mph winds and hail. No need for that nonsense!
Day 148- 8.16.15
Fuego: We hiked 17.9 miles today (1651.1-1669.0). Today was the WORST!!! Nah, just kidding, it was pretty cool. We climbed up Bromley Mountain first thing in the morning. The last half mile was up a ski slope, which was new and different. Views from the top were spectacular! There were clouds that rolled in from one side and you could only see the tops of the mountains.
We stopped for lunch at a beautiful lake view. Kush and Fancy Pants got in the water to wash off. I sat and chilled in the sun. Rainbow and Young Gun took off on the trail and the rest of us stayed at a more leisurely pace. Since we calculated the mileage to Katahdin as 14 miles/day, we weren’t interested in doing 20 miles today. Everyone else agreed with that. We decided to camp just after the gap for Danby, Vermont. We made a nice fire and cooked on it. We had a fun night camping with Mundo, Sketty, Kush, and Lamb Chop.
Fancy Pants: Meeting Lamb Chop and talking to her was really fun. She set out to hike all of the AT in Vermont. I’d never really thought much about opera before and assumed it was something that I wouldn’t really be interested in, but hearing her talk about it made it sound pretty cool.
Day 149- 8.17.15
Fuego: We hiked 14.5 miles today (1669.0-1683.5). We took our time today and it was quite relaxing. We took a nice break at Little Rock Pond Shelters. Kush and Lamb Chop adventured in the canoe while we all snacked. We lolly gagged for awhile and it was nice. We stopped at all the views and pretty water sources. At one of the views someone left a plastic white chair and we all took turns sitting in it. Our friend Cray Nip from Virginia had signed it which was pretty cool to see. Everyone decided we wanted to camp at Clarendon Gorge since it has a swimming hole and we could go out for breakfast in the morning.
On the way down the mountain there was a lot of steep, slippery rocks. I was behind Fancy Pants and her feet slipped out from under her and she landed on her back instead of her pack. I’ve seen this fall quite a few times and assumed this wouldn’t be too serious, but Fancy wasn’t laughing on this one. Fancy unclipped her pack and laid on her back for a minute. I could tell she was in a lot of pain. Once I tried to help her up she got really nauseous and turned pale white to the face. I made her lay back down for awhile. I was scared for her, but kept calm. This was definitely a moment where I thought, “Could this be the end of her trip?” After about 20 minutes she was able to get up, but barely and I could tell she was in a lot of pain. We helped her down the rest of the mountain, which took about an hour for only a couple tenths of a mile. Apparently, many others took a fall where Fancy fell. It was not a safe part of the trail. Fancy was walking like a 90 year old. I wanted her to have a real bed that night so I called Miss Janet for help. She had a friend who was a former thru hiker named Plans Too Much pick us up and get us into town. Fancy Pants was moving around a bit better by the time we got the ride.
We stayed at a cheap motel. There we had Sketti, Mundo, Kush, and Lamb Chop with us. Everyone seemed very excited for this hotel room. Kush went out to grab beer and I ordered pizzas. We completely devoured the pizzas leaving nothing but a sniff. Everyone was content being showered up with full bellies, having a beer and watching TV. We couldn’t have been happier. In fact, some were thanking Fancy Pants for injuring herself, otherwise we wouldn’t have had this moment.
Fancy Pants: The fall was really scary. I thought I could shake it off like I normally would after a fall, but when Fuego helped up I felt intense pain and my vision blanked. I said I needed to lay back down for awhile. I was pretty sure I really messed myself up by trying to stand and that my hike was probably over. I’m not even sure how long I laid down on the ground before I got back up and started the long walk down. It hurt so bad that I cried for the first half of the walk down the mountain.